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.
In NI, nine councils have achieved the Charter to date, of which four have successfully achieved the advanced Charter Plus standard.
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.
For Charter Plus, an award is presented.
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:
Derry City & Strabane Distict Council - Charter Plus Awarded in April 2018 – First Council in Northern Ireland to attain status - Case Study