Training for elected members

We regularly receive glowing testimonials from Councillors who have received our training, for the no-nonsense way our trainers interact with them, and the understanding and insight into complex issues that this gives.

All our elected member courses include practical exercises as an integral part of the training, stimulating lively debate and questioning.

The training can be delivered in-house on a daytime or evening basis, at a venue of your choice and at a time to best suit your members. Or perhaps it could be shared with a neighbouring authority to make it even more economical? 

Councillors new to planning

We offer an introductory course which will be tailored to your local circumstances. It will cover -

  • What is planning?
  • The role of the Councillor in the Planning Committee
  • Committee meetings, officer reports and site visits
  • Making decisions - the development plan and material considerations
  • Use of conditions and refusal of applications 

We can also offer a full day course, which covers the same ground as the basic introductory course, but also fully explores probity issues, including pre-disposition and pre-determination, member discussions with applicants and objectors, and enforcement/monitoring issues. This can be delivered as two half days if preferred.

“Really excellent day – much food for thought” (Cllr Kath Sutton, Bassetlaw DC ) 

Local plan preparation: issues for elected members

The purpose of this course is to give elected members the opportunity to explore the challenges and issues they will face as part of the preparation of the new local plan for their area.  It will cover:

  • the reasons the plan is important for the future of the area
  • the importance of evidence and national policy
  • the plan preparation process, including collaboration with neighbouring authorities
  • the role of elected members during the preparation of the plan
  • some key issues - including fully meeting development needs and tackling climate change

A refresher course for Planning Committee members

However well Councillors are trained when they first join the Planning Committee, over time practices can develop which may hinder sound decision making, or present unhelpful signals to members of the public. 

This half-day course takes Committee members back to the fundamentals of the decision-making process, and provides advice on good practice in probity and the monitoring and enforcement of conditions imposed at the decision stage.  It can also help elected members to reflect on how the public may perceive meetings.  It includes an example application for consideration, to bring out the issues which can arise. 

Probity and engagement in pre-applications discussions

This course is suitable where the authority wishes to support members to manage their probity responsibilities.  It outlines the roles of members in the decision-making process, offers advice on good practice on probity issues, and explores ways in which elected members might be engaged in pre-application discussions without the risk of predetermination.  This is a half day course, and can be provided in either the daytime or the evening. 

Understanding viability

This is a half day course which looks at viability as a material consideration in the decision-making process, as well as the various types of developer contribution and the negotiation of S106 agreements.  It also works through a costed case study example and considers the members’ role in CIL to provide the right level of growth and infrastructure for the local area.

Planning Enforcement

This course reviews the principles of enforcement, explains the weighting of discretion versus expedience and the powers currently available in the enforcement armoury.  It explores some of the most common issues faced by authorities which take enforcement action, and provides good practice examples for situations when elected members get involved in with enforcement matters within their communities. 


For further information on training opportunities please contact Linda Durtnal, our Training and Development Manager at or call 01296 422161.