The annual conference is not far now, and we are looking forward to welcoming you to our new conference venue in Bristol. If you have not yet booked your accommodation please contact the hotel by telephoning the hotel reservations team and provide the block code AMN. This will access the bedrooms agreed price of £99 on Thursday 21st which includes breakfast. The reservations direct number is 0117 910 4268.


All arrangements are in place for what will be another fabulous event, all of the workshops have now been confirmed and we would like to know which workshops you would like to attend.  Have a look at the descriptions and complete the form at the bottom of the page. We are also providing taxis back to Bristol Parkway from the conference venue, let us know via the form if you would like us to arrange one for you.



Day One (Thursday 21st November)

Workshop 1: Ethical Standards

Kirsty Cole, Consultant, Wilkin Chapman

This session will focus on the conclusions and recommendations of the Committee on Standards in Public Life review into ethical standards and will examine how this might impact on the current standards regime. Best practice recommendations will be explored and consideration given to which of these could be implemented with immediate effect. The session will also include a case law update.


Workshop 2: Moving from Executive/Scrutiny to Committee System

Peter Sass, Head of Governance & Priya Patel, Democratic Services Manager, Wandsworth and Richmond Councils

A change of Administration in Richmond-upon-Thames Council in London from Conservative to Liberal Democrat in May 2018 kick-started a review of governance arrangements and the Council agreed in the autumn of 2018 to use the powers in the Localism Act 2011 to move from the Leader and Cabinet model to the Committee System. This workshop will explore the main drivers behind the change; the internal review process including the role of Members; the impact of the change on the Democratic Services team and the wider officer group; and the learning arising from the project following the first three cycles of committee meetings.


Workshop 3: Designing the perfect seating for a public council meeting using Lego

Dr Dave McKenna, PublicGov

What’s the best way to arrange the seating for public council meetings (cabinet, scrutiny, planning etc) to ensure the best possible experience for the public and for councillors? How do the size and shape of the meeting, along with the proximity of different actors, impact on the quality of governance? Building on recent research, and drawing on the practice of theatrical stage design, this workshop will challenge you to come up with the ideal seating layout. And yes, there will be Lego.


Workshop 4: The Growing Role of Combined Authorities

Jill Coule, Chief Legal Officer & Monitoring Officer, Liverpool City RCA & Shahzia Daya, Director of Legal Services, West of England CA

What do they do? What are the differences?  Are they all the same? Combined Authorities are popping up all over the country and are another layer of government within a region.   Each of them is unique with respect to the devolution agreement they hold with government.  This session aims to give you an insight into the world of combined authorities with a particular focus on their governance.


Day Two (Friday 22nd November)

Workshop 5: New Models of Governance – what members need to know about accountability and transparency

Bethan Evans, Governance Training and Consultancy

This workshop will look at issues for officers and members arising from the setting up and operation of new models in local government.  Shared services are increasingly the norm and many authorities operate more complex arrangements involving corporate structures, joint ventures and trusts. But the report of the Committee of Standards in Public Life has identified concerns that complex corporate arrangements raise the potential for ethical risk including blurred accountability, conflicts of interest and reduced transparency in decision making.


This workshop will explore the challenges which arise for members and officers when new models are developed, particularly in relation to accountability and transparency. We will cover issues relating to:-

  • Governance and decision-making in setting up new arrangements;
  • How to address conflicts of interest;
  • The impact on council constitutions;
  • How new models can operate most effectively;
  • The member and officer development needed to embed new skills and approaches.

We will use lots of examples and scenarios to explore practical situations and solutions!

Workshop 6: You be the judge

Philip McCourt, Director of Governance and Assurance, Wirral Council

This session will be an interactive review of recent cases affecting local authorities, particularly those relating to administration and decision making.  You can put yourself in the position of the judge; what decision would you have made and will it be the same as the decision made by the real judge(s). There will be an opportunity to discuss the cases and the implications for local authority decision making processes.


Workshop 7: New Scrutiny Guidance, New World?

Jacqui McKinlay, Chief Executive CfPS
This session will provide an opportunity for delegates to consider and share the impact of the Government’s scrutiny guidance six months after publication.  You will have the chance to share your experiences and, if needed, join a collective re-energising and action planning to consider how best to take advantage of the guidance to boost and focus your scrutiny activity.


Workshop 8: Resilience and Grit

The Method

The Method are an altogether different kind of training company, leading experts in ACCELERATED and LASTING behaviour change, we have 10 years proven success working at all levels across multiple industries including some of the world’s largest and most innovative businesses. Using powerful skills and techniques drawn from the world of theatre, we help professionals consciously adapt their behaviours so they can communicate and present themselves in the best way possible to succeed at work and in life.

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