Member & Democratic Services Manager at Staffordshire County Council
Rules and procedures, strong organisational skills, making sure things are done properly; just some of the things that you need to get excited about for this role at the heart of the organisation.
I’m Chris. It’s my job to make sure we make decisions correctly. Councillors, the local politicians, who have been elected on a mandate and manifesto for their communities make the big decisions, in council meetings and committees. These meetings must be run following laid out rules and procedures.
If our governance, our decision making, is running smoothly then people shouldn’t notice us, because it’s all working well, behind the scenes. It’s when procedures are not being followed that councils can find themselves in trouble and making headlines for all the wrong reasons.
Our decisions make a big difference; what we do and how we spend our money matters to local people. Our councillors agree the annual budget and set the level of council tax. This includes how much money is going to be spent on roads and highways, schools and services for children, young people and adult social care. What other business or organisation has this variety of functions that make such a difference to local life?
We operate a Cabinet decision making model that includes a Leader and nine portfolio holders responsible for issues such as highways and education. We also support the overview and scrutiny function which can challenge decisions. A current review has involved councillors talking to young carers who are looking after parents or other family members, to find out what extra support we need to put in place.
We support councillors to deliver their role effectively through knowledge and training. We are promoting cybersecurity to protect our organisation from cyber threats. We also offer training on topics such as equalities and our role as the ‘corporate parent’ for looked after children in our care.
I really enjoy the variety of my role. Procedures needn’t be all grey and dull, I try to inject some colour. I’ve been running a governance quiz with tips for managers to bring the rules to life in a more engaging way.
It’s a great employer too. Learning, development and internal progression is very much valued. The pension scheme is still one of the best on the market. There are discounts for high street and online shops, free fitness and mental health programmes and cost of living advice. It’s very much an organisation that cares for its staff.
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