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close this bookTrainer's Guide for Training of Elected Officials (HABITAT)
close this folderPart I - Planning for elected leadership training
View the documentElected officials training: a changing mandate
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View the documentClient - centred training
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Elected officials training: a changing mandate

Training local elected officials may be the most important thing you, as a trainer, do in the next few years. Local governments have been "discovered." Central government officials in many countries around the world are recognizing that they can no longer "manage" human settlement development and service delivery from several hundred kilometres away. External support agencies are also recognizing the key role that local governments can play in the development of human settlements and the delivery of programmes and services to their constituents.

The role of local governments is changing, and will continue to change, as the economic, social, and environmental problems they face continue to grow. Most local governments do not have the funds or resources to solve these problems in any effective way, and different strategies must be found. Increasingly, local governments will be called upon to perform enabling, facilitating, and empowering roles if their constituents are to have access to the kinds of programmes and services they want and need. This means that other stakeholders, such as the private sector and non-governmental organizations, will be called upon to work in service delivery arenas that have traditionally been the purview of government. This doesn't deny local-government involvement in these service areas. It does, nevertheless, change the roles that local governments perform, from direct provider to those of stimulator, enabler, and perhaps regulator to assure that the products and services meet pre-determined standards.

The increasing emphasis on local government as the focal point for locality development, and the changing roles of these governments in fulfilling that growing mandate, puts a heavy burden on their elected officials and staff. Not only do local elected officials and staff need to be knowledgeable about an increasingly complex set of interrelated issues, they must also develop new skills and attitudes in response to the changing nature of their role. Consequently, the need to provide training and development opportunities for local-government elected and appointed officials has never been greater.

Training institutions, if they are to help local elected officials make the transition to a new level of competence and altered view of public service, will also need to change. This Trainers Guide and the accompanying 12 handbooks are designed to help trainers meet the elected official's training challenge.