Councillor Development Charter

Councillor Development


Making the most of Councillor Development

Any council that is serious about improving the social, economic and environmental wellbeing of their communities must be committed to developing its councillors. 

The Charter provides a robust, structured framework designed to help councils enhance and embed councillor development in councils.  Charter is available for councils in Northern Ireland provided by the NILGA.

Councils already committed

In NI, nine councils have achieved the Charter to date, of which four have successfully achieved the advanced Charter Plus standard. 

How much does it cost?

The investment is £2,500 per councils (plus vat and expenses).  This includes the cost of assessment, as well as ongoing support and contact.  Your council has up to three years, from the time of committing to be assessed.


Councils who have successfully achieved Charter status will be presented with a certificate marking their accomplishment. 


Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, Charter Award, October 2021

Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, Charter Award, March 2023

For Charter Plus, an award is presented.

Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council, Charter Plus, March 2022

Ards and North Down Borough Council, Charter Plus


Derry City and Strabane District Council, Charter Plus

Charter Assessment

Stage 1: Commitment to the Charter and an action plan

The council will undertake a self-assessment against the criteria and, based on self-assessment, will develop an action plan supported and approved by NILGA.

Stage 2: Improving the development of councillors

The council works towards achieving the Charter and meeting the requirements of the action plan.

Stage 3: Assessment

When a council considers it has everything in place to demonstrate it has achieved the Charter, they will inform NILGA who will make a judgement whether the council is ready for assessment. An on-site assessment will be carried out by a trained team of an officer, a member and Fiona Douglas from NILGA. A comprehensive report will then be sent to the council following the assessment visit, outlining good practice, areas for improvement and whether is has achieved Charter status.

Stage 4: Awarding the Charter

When the council has been assessed and awarded Charter status, a certificate from NILGA will be presented.

Stage 5: Reassessment

Once awarded, the Charter has a ‘lifespan’ of three years, after which a council will be required to submit details of how it has sustained the standard. The council is then reassessed against the Charter. An informal review after 18 months is also carried out to check progress and identify any needs.

Councillor Charter and Charter Plus accreditation guidelines

The items below are key indicators against which the Charter will be assessed:

  1. There is a clear commitment to elected member development and support
  2. The council has a strategic approach to elected member development
  3. Learning and development is effective in building skills and knowledge

Councillor Development Charter and Charter Plus NI Document


Derry City & Strabane Distict Council - Charter Plus Awarded in April 2018 – First Council in Northern Ireland to attain status - Case Study

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