South West Charter for Member Development

What is the Charter?


The Charter for Member Development has been developed by the nine Regional Employers Organisations in partnership with the Local Government Association. 

The Charter supports Councils to adopt a structured approach to councillor development and support, and to building elected Member capacity, which is essential for any council dedicated to meeting the needs of its community.

 Charter Logo

What is Charter Plus?

Charter Plus was introduced in 2009 as an optional, further level that builds on the main Charter requirements. It is intended for councils that have already been awarded the Charter and want an additional challenge to further improve their Councillor development and support arrangements.

Charter Plus reflects the growing interest in the wider Councillor development debate. It challenges councils to make further achievements in terms of Councillor support, promoting local democracy as well as in their approach to Councillor training.

Charter standards

The nine regions together with the Local Government Association have worked together to agree what is good practice, and have produced minimum standards to meet Charter requirements.  Influenced by the Investors in People standard, the South West Charter for Member Development has four key principles:

1.  Commitment to Councillor development and support

2.  Strategic approach to Councillor development

3.  Learning and development is effective in building skills and knowledge

Why sign up to the Charter?

Any local authority dedicated to meeting the needs of its community must be committed to developing its elected Members. By signing up to the Charter, your Council will be demonstrating its commitment to supporting and developing its elected Members, in line with what is recognised as good practice.

What do Councils have to do?

    • Gain political and managerial leadership commitment to the Charter principles
    • Self –assess against the standards and grade performance
    • Identify areas of strength and areas for improvement
    • Produce an Action Plan to meet the improvement areas
    • Arrange a ½ day, on-site visit for assessment and verification

What support is available?

South West Councils can offer up to one day consultancy support prior to assessment to help you to prepare both the self-assessment document and the ½ day assessment visit.

Can other organisations sign up?

Yes, increasingly other organisations such as the Fire & Rescue Service and National Park Authorities are signing up to the Charter principles.  Although the terminology used in the documentation might focus on political and council references, the standards and the assessment process remain the same for these organisations.

Authorities in the South West that have achieved and signed up to the Charter

Achieved Charter Plus Status
Exeter City Council (November 2014)
East Devon District Council (April 2015)
Devon County Council (April 2016)
Mendip District Council (September 2017)

Achieved Charter Status
Mid Devon District Council


Assessment Process

Charter and Charter Plus Standards (updated version for use from April 2020 onwards)

Commitment Declaration Form

Self-Assessment for Charter

Self-Assessment for Charter Plus

On-site Assessment Timetable

Charter Achievers - Case Studies and Contacts

Devon County Council 

Torridge District Council 

South Somerset 

Torbay Council 

West Dorset District Council 

Bristol City Council 

For further information on the Charter and any funding opportunities that may be available, please contact Fay Edwards on 01823 270101 or email fay.edwards@swcouncils.gov.uk