"…such education is absolutely vital for incoming councillors and indeed as a necessary refresher for those longer in post…"

Leicestershire and RutlandAssociation of Local Councils has the lead on the "Active, inclusive and empowered Parish Councils" theme for the LRP.

LRALC sees a key element in delivering this outcome as being the delivery of a programme of relevant and specialist training to parish councillors and clerks.

In 2012/13 LRALC filled 481 places on such training, which covered not only the core skills for councillors, clerks, and chairman of Parish Councils, but also covered specialist topics such as Neighbourhood Plans, Social Enterprise, and Grant Funding, all designed to make Parish Councils more effective in shaping and improving their communities.

"…a most comprehensive day …"

Two specific areas of training work stand out. Firstly, in summer 2012 LRALC commissioned a full day training event on the Localism Act and Parish Councils, led by a national expert in the field from the University of Gloucester, with the aim of empowering and enabling councils and their communities to use new powers available to them to shape and influence their areas. The first event sold out immediately and a repeat event was scheduled, again selling out (a total of 84 delegates). We aim to build on this area of work with future events focussed on specific areas such as the "community rights" and devolution of services.

The second area of training was the Equality and Inclusion workshop, project funded by the LRP, which provided a free 1 day workshop commissioned and developed by LRALC specifically for local councils, and included a toolkit for use by delegates and also any council who did not attend the original event. Both the event and toolkit were very well received and delegates went away with specific actions to address at their own councils to improve inclusion and accessibility for all their parishioners.

"…an excellent course – when is the next one?..."