News

Belfast success in elected member development

Belfast City Councillors have proved they are among the best - helping the council win a prestigious award for Elected Member Development.

The achievement is being marked by the Lord Mayor, Councillor Deirdre Hargey, hosting an event in her parlour for members, staff and community representatives, where the Chief Executive of the NI Local Government Association, Derek McCallan will officially present the award.

After becoming the first local council to win the Charter for Elected Member Development in 2011 we have now achieved Charter Level 2 by demonstrating how the investment in member development has benefited communities across the city.

The Elected Member Development Charter is a framework that sets out best practice in Elected Member Development. Achieving Level 2 involved interviews and an evidence-based assessment, by an accrediting body, with councillors, officers and community representatives.

During the assessment those councilors, officers and community representatives involved in two key Belfast Investment Fund (BIF) and Local Investment Fund (LIF) projects were interviewed to demonstrate how the community has directly benefited from the council’s investment in elected member development.
The chosen projects were:
• Willowfield Parish Church Halls (East Belfast)
• Clonard Amateur Boxing Club (West Belfast)

Councillor Peter Johnston, Chair of the Strategic Policy and Resources Committee, said: “Training for members means developing in such a way that we are able to work strategically with partners and stakeholders, engage and lead local communities and deliver tangible, sustainable and beneficial outcomes for the citizens of the city.

“Councillors like everyone else often learn on the job and providing opportunities for them to develop necessary skills and interact better with the communities they represent is a real benefit to everyone.

“The Belfast Agenda, the city’s long-term development plan needs well-trained and effective councillors able to work with the community and range of other strategic partners so we deliver better economic prosperity, improve health, environment and wellbeing, boost tourism and generally make life better for those who live, work in or visit Belfast,” he added.

Alderman Stephen Martin, Chair of NILGA’s Elected Member Development Working Group
“NILGA has firmly embedded the Charter Programme as a dynamic corporate development and improvement programme for our councils, with elected member development now a vital part of democratic accountability. The recognition and participation of the community as evidenced in Belfast City Council’s success is truly innovative and inspirational - not just for councils here in Northern Ireland, but as a benchmark for our counterparts in Manchester, Dublin and elsewhere. This is an exceptional achievement and will be a cornerstone for strong local democracy and great public services in the capital city.”

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