|Trainer's Guide for Training of Elected Officials (HABITAT)|
|Part I - Planning for elected leadership training|
The training of elected councillors will be successful to the extent it meets their needs and takes into consideration their time and other resource constraints. In the current-day jargon of the discipline, we're talking about client-centred, demand driven, and performance-based training. Let's spend just a few moments discussing these terms.
First, it could be argued that these training materials are not client-centred because they are based on certain assumptions that may not hold true from one country to another or from one councillor to another. While this is true, the materials are based on numerous discussions with councillors from many countries and a review of dozens of documents that describe the kinds of concerns local-government officials have about their ability to be effective in responding to their constituents' needs.
Elected leadership requires skills and competence in putting those skills to use in highly complex, politicized environments. It is no longer sufficient merely to adhere to the laws that circumscribe the official position of the councillor. The councillor must be able to achieve results, in the vernacular of "be able to get things done." When we started to ask ourselves and others what councillors should be able to do to be successful in their positions, we kept hearing terms like "communicate," "make decisions," "enable others to share the responsibility," "use their power more responsibly," and more.
This guide and the accompanying handbooks are based on the assumption that elected leadership requires skills and competences in a number of roles. In your efforts to be more client-centred and demand-driven, we suggest that you meet with a representative group of your local, elected-councillor constituents before you decide to launch a programme using these materials. Among other things, what you would be exploring with this group is whether they believe these training materials, which are role- and skill-development oriented, will meet some of their training needs. This is also an opportunity to discuss delivery alternatives to determine how the training might be implemented with best results. For example, where would they like to see the training workshops held, in what time configurations, and when?
If the training is to be performance-based, you will need to determine what kind of performance improvements the council is hoping to achieve. While this may sound like a daunting task, it can be simplified by focusing on specific roles (such as policy maker) and determining how performance improvements in this role might be measured over time.