Headlines: September 10th, 2007

London’s South Bank University has launched a qualification in local governance. The new course has been developed in conjunction with South East Employers and London Councils and is designed to help meet the career development needs of elected members in the region.

The first students will enrol for the Certificate in Local Governance for Councillors in January 2008 but the university is keen to hear expressions of interest now. The course has three units, Community Leadership, Representation and Change, Governance, Policy and Regulation, and Service Improvement. It aims to help councillors to better meet demands for efficiency, champion organisational change and improve awareness of the legal and political contexts in which they work.

The study timetable has been organised to fit round the schedules of elected members. It will comprise a series of six Friday-Saturday workshops, distance learning and a week-long summer school. The pilot programme is being supported by the regional local government capacity building programme.

Andrew Summers, the Course Director said the Certificate would be largely taught by academic staff with local government experience and would build on South Bank’s existing programmes. “Its aim is to enable councillors to improve in their roles and provide a framework for continuing professional development, increasingly important for those looking to pursue a career in local representation and politics. It will also provide a credible qualification and transferable skills to support career development beyond the ballot box,” he added.

Mark Palmer, Head of Improvement and Governance at South East Employers said the launch of the course was a major step in their provision of tailored support and advice for councillors at all stages in their careers.

Earlier this year Sunderland University, working with the National Association of Councillors, began its own one-year certificate course for elected councillors. Councillors with a year’s service or more in a South East authority or London borough who are interested in the South bank course should contact South East Employers to register their interest.