Australia, England & Wales, Global, Ireland, Scotland, South Africa Democracy, devolution and governance, Personal and organisational development

Online Training: Being an effective Councillor: Making a difference and doing it your way


Three evenings sessions (21 June, 13 September and 6 December 2022)

As a new councillor finding your feet, how do you plan to make your mark? What are the different ‘roles’ that you as a councillor might focus on, to do the most for your community?

These three evening online sessions will help you consider your role and priorities.

This will include considering the importance of facilitating community development; fixing resident issues; watching over council decision-making; acting in your party group to promote your manifesto – to help you maximise your impact.

Participants will develop their understanding of:

  • different roles councillors can prioritise to ‘make a difference’
  • different styles councillors can develop and adopt
  • personal targets –maintaining voter interest, embedding achievements, passing on the baton.

This event will seek to involve participants throughout the session in discussing and developing their views and helping them to ensure they get off to a flying start as councillors.



Session 1: Welcome and Introduction

Tuesday, 21 June 2022: 18:30-19:45

  • You have been elected! Now what?
  • What to watch out for in your first few weeks
  • Your questions answered
  • Things to think about for next time.


Session 2: Newly or recently elected – what next?

Tuesday, 13 September 2022: 18:30-20:30

6.30  Introductions

  • Being an effective councillor, your roles and responsibilities making an impact.
  • Poll on roles – (see briefing) – what is the biggest challenge for them.
  • Trainer led – what are the different roles and what they might involve.

6.45 Break out session and Your own experiences so far

  • how’s it going – have you found your feet?
  • how are you focusing, prioritising?
  • what does your community need?
  • are you making a difference?

7.20 Feedback

7:30 Nolan Principles

7.35 Comfort Break

7.50 Breakout 2

  • what does your community need?
  • what difference do you want to make?

8.05 Feedback and discussion

8.15 Where to get help/what might be some of the issues you face (DE/RE)

  • Personal Safety
  • Safeguarding
  • GDPR – data controller registration and Declarations of Interest (check with your Council)
  • Social Media

8.20 Questions and discussion

8.30 Close.


Session 3: How’s it going?

Tuesday, 6 December 2022: 18:30-20:30

6.30  Introductions

  • How it’s gone over the summer, settling in?
  • mini-presentation – sharing summaries

6.45 Break out session your priorities now

Breakout 1

  • What does your ward want from you?
  • What do you want for your ward?

7.20 Feedback

7.30 Comfort  Break

7.40 Intro to Breakout 2

7.45 Breakout 2

  • What contribution do you want to make across the country?
  • What part are you/do want to make in Covid recovery (consider wording)

8.00 Feedback

8.10 The different roles and styles of councillors

Formal roles you may take on versus Styles you may adopt

  • ‘Resident fixer’
  • ‘Community facilitator’
  • ‘Scrutiny and guardianship’
  • ‘Activist’
  • ‘Executive and Leadership’

8.20 Questions and discussion

8.30 Close.


Who should attend?

For councillors in their first year or so since elections and/or wanting to review their impact – and for member services staff supporting them – to develop councillors’ thinking/plans for how to make a difference.


Rachel Eden (Cllr) is an experienced trainer and has been an elected member of a Unitary Authority since 2010, having served in a range of roles including the opposition, cabinet member, committee chair and is currently the Deputy Mayor. As a trainer, she specialises in finance, management and social media and is a qualified management accountant. Rachel delivers training to individuals and groups ranging from employees of multinational corporations to volunteers at small charities.

Duncan Enright (Cllr) is an opposition leader in a District Council in the South East, and former mayor of his home town. With over 35 years in the publishing industry, including as a director and head of several organisations, he has experience in governance issues and management in several sectors. For ten years he served as a non-executive director of an NHS Trust, most of that time as Vice-Chair and Chair of Audit.
As a director of a leadership development company, Duncan has coached and trained people all over the world in emotionally intelligent and ethical leadership. He is the author of white papers on the subject including “Politics Beyond the Ego” from Routledge.