Weekly message from Susan Biddle, Director of Training

Hi everyone and greetings from sunny south London.  This last few weeks I’ve been completely immersed in the London Mayor’s rapid review of the aims in his Health Inequalities Strategy.  I ran an event on social prescribing last week and one on supporting homeless people after hospital stays this week.  Obviously fascinating topics but also a real reminder of the vast and complex partnerships that have to come together to tackle these challenging issues – and of local government’s place in those partnerships.

Speaking of complex partnerships, this week I wanted to flag that we have a date and venue for our new course on the Company Secretary – this will take place in Tower Hamlets on 6th September and has been developed and will be led by Mark Towers, Director of Governance and Partnerships at Blackpool Council.  Mark is  a long time qualified CoSec and fulfills the role for the 9 companies Blackpool currently has.   We know from you that this is an emerging and growing role, Mark says it is about  40% of his job now.

We don’t have a date for the second course yet but Kate will be looking to schedule it in the Autumn/Winter.  Bookings are not yet open on the website but will be in the ‘nearish’ future.  Our outline information for the course below,

Local authorities are increasingly establishing new forms of service delivery to respond to budget pressures, increase efficiency and provide value for money with ever diminishing resources. Democratic Services Officers are being asked to support these new bodies, many of which operate at arms length to the Council and outside of the more traditional governance processes. Different relationships, partnerships, responsibilities and lines of accountability are being formed. This requires new skills and knowledge on the part of DSOs the same as the company secretarial role in the corporate sector. This has extended the boundaries of our role. We should see it as an opportunity. ADSO’s new course will cover the following areas:


*  the types of new service delivery models currently operating

*  the legal framework relating to these bodies

*  their relationship with the local authority including accountability, reporting lines, conflicts of interest and the role and status of those that serve as Directors on those bodies (i.e. independents, councillors and senior management of the company).

*  the role of DSOs as Company Secretaries or company secretarial support and the new skills and knowledge required.”

Some important announcements:

  • Both Just a Minute courses are now fully booked (July 10th and 19th).  I am looking at setting up a further course on a regional basis in response to a request from London.
  • Law in Practice (13th and 19th September) – we have made a decision to include this course in the free place offer to those studying for our qualifications.  This is a one off to make up for a bit of a confusing year with me at the helm (settling in you know!).
  • I am taking a series of suggestions to the Board this week regarding training costs.  We have not increased our prices for many years and need to reflect increasing costs and changing circumstances  I will communicate the changes the Board agrees to, and when they come into effect,  via a future newsletter.

A reminder to check out John’s epic cycling tour of Slovenia – do they know what’s in store for them I ask myself?  Will they ever recover?  Does he have as many sunglasses with different coloured frames as he does reading glasses.  All these questions and his progress and exploits can be tracked via his bloghttps://johnscycling.home.blog/

There are still places left on the Centre for Public Scrutiny Health Conference, more details can be found here https://mailchi.mp/4b6e2c700dba/new-events-from-cfps-in-1154177

Finally a quick notes about my availability.  I will be away and unavailable between 20th July and 17th August when I make my annual migration to Cornwall to take a break from the manic world of freelancing.  You won’t be able to get hold of me during that period as I make it a rule to completely close down for the duration.

Have good summers all

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