Weekly message from John Austin, Chair

It’s that time of year when I hope many of you are either having (or about to have) some well-earned holidays. Whatever you are doing, have a good break and feel very proud of what you have achieved over the last 15 months or so. Through your amazing efforts the democratic services role and the importance of good governance have never been so prominent.

I know I have said this before at regional meetings but Susan Biddle, Kirsty Lowe (East Midlands Councils) and our pool of trainers have done an amazing job in the transition from face to face training to remote delivery. My thanks to all of them. A number of very successful courses have already taken place and please see below for further events after the summer break.  In keeping with the ADSO philosophy, we continue to deliver high quality training at affordable cost.

ADSO Autumn Courses
ADSO is delighted to share details of the five new virtual courses that will be available autumn/winter 2021.

Bookings can be made online and we recommend booking early to secure your place.

Don’t forget our new introductory course – this 3 hour workshop has been designed for new DSOs, who have recently started in role, ideally for those between 1 week and 3 months in role.  Delegates will only need to attend one of the sessions and the cost is as low as £55 plus VAT for an ADSO member.

ADSO Awards
With no apology, I mention the ADSO awards once again. Those of you who have attended regional meetings over the last few weeks will have heard me say that this year is crucial to the future of the awards. If we want them to continue, we need you to support them and submit nominations. At the time of writing, the 2021 awards and those of future years are seriously at risk. So please, make the effort to nominate and we can all celebrate the fantastic work that has gone on within our sector as we did so well in November last year. It gave so many of us a tremendous uplift – it would be a real shame if they didn’t happen this year.

Virtual meetings research survey
One of our valued partners, Dave Mckenna, runs very good sessions for scrutiny colleagues which are sponsored by ADSO. Dave is carrying out some research into virtual meetings and has asked for our help. Please see below and spare a few minutes to complete the survey. Dave has promised to share his findings so the more who participate the better information we will get back.

Virtual committee meetings: Can you help with our research?
Hello, along with my academic colleagues, Dr Catherine Farrell and Dr Matthew Wall, I’m doing some research into whether virtual meetings have improved the governance quality of local government committees and looking for your help.

So, if you are familiar with a committee, before and during the pandemic (I’m guessing you are!), we are hoping you can spend 10-15 minutes completing a survey. This survey will ask you what differences you have noticed between the virtual and in-person versions of the committee’s meetings. We will of course share the findings when the research is complete.

If you would like to go straight to it, the survey is here: https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/VU0MQF/

If you would like to find out more about the survey first, click here:  https://www.publicgov.co.uk/2021/07/21/virtual-committee-meetings-can-help-local-government-research/

Best wishes all.

John Austin, ADSO Chair

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