ENews Issue - 28 April 2006

ENews - April 2006

TRA ENews is the monthly newsletter of Trevor Roberts Associates. It provides information about TRA generally, its staff and Associates, current and forthcoming events, new training courses and consultancy services etc.

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TRA is currently developing a brand new series of management training and development workshops for local government officers. The workshops are specifically aimed at senior and middle managers (below Director/Chief officer level) working in any department. Whatever your professional area of expertise, the workshops in this series are designed to help you with your parallel managerial responsibilites.

TRA has extensive experience of providing management training and development over the past twenty years. Although in recent years this has focused on training for those in the planning/development field, it originally began as an inter-disciplinary series for anyone in local government wanting to extend their management skills.

Across our full range of management training, TRA's aim is to take the mystique out of management.

Topics we are intending to cover in thi s new series include:

- Professionals becoming managers

- Supervision and leadership skills

- Understanding and managing the officer/political interface

- Getting to grips with performance management

- The customer interface: building it into the organisation

- Business and service planning

- Finding and exploiting external resource opportunities

- Introduction to local government finance

- Project management

- Risk management.

The programme will begin running on an inter-authority basis in 2007 at a variety of easily accessible venues. Details will be publicised during Summer 2006 but in the meantime, if you would like to receive advance information on the series as it is developed you can subscribe to an emailing list by going to Emailing lists and choosing the appropriate list (only occasional emails will be sent).

Since this series is aimed at managers in any department, we are keen to reach people beyond our existing planning/development contacts, so please feel free to forward these details to any colleagues you think might be interested or to your personnel/HR deparment.


Places are still available on two NATO workshops running in the next couple of months but prompt booking is recommended at this stage.

Disease and Decay in Trees is running in Manchester on 16 May. The main objective of this popular workshop is to provide participants with a good understanding of the processes of disease and decay and their significance for the tree. Although it is aimed principally at arboriculturalists, it will also be of interest to anyone charged with managing trees in the town or countryside.

Highways and Trees: hazard management for highway tree officers and local authority tree managers is running in London on 22 June. The aim of the workshop is to help participants consider how they can assess the extent of the safety issue and put in place a system that can be cost effective. It is especial ly useful for those with little experience of the insurance sector and the use of statistical sampling in this issue and who wish to develop a simple system for the management of this very important resource - "the Highway Tree".

For a leaflet/booking form for either of these workshops or to reserve a place provisionally please contact Shelagh Pooley.

Details of the NATO programme as a whole can be found on our website.


As part of our 2006 programme of workshops in England and Wales, we have included a brand new workshop on EIA. Environmental Impact Assessment: a practical guide to interpreting the Regulations is suitable for DC officers and support staff at all levels who come into contact with the EIA Regulations.

The workshop is presented by TRA's Planning Manager, Stewart Glassar, and will cover the following aspects:

- what is meant by Schedule 1 and Schedule 2 development

- what needs to be considered for screening and scoping opinions and the associated procedural requirements

- the local authority's requirements before and after a formal decision

- committee reports and the role of Councillors in making formal decisions

- important case law and appeal decisions relating to EIA.

There will be an opportunity to conside r participants' own problems and experiences and to compare them with those of others on the workshop.

The workshop is running in London on 1 November and there are still some places available. For a leaflet/booking form or to reserve a place provisionally please contact Shelagh Pooley.


A brand new series of workshops for Councillors is being developed by TRA and will begin running in venues throughout the country in 2007. Workshops in the series will fall into two groups:

- The Councillors' Toolkit Programme is aimed at equipping all Councillors with the knowledge and skills to handle their roles competently, correctly and effectively. Topics are likely to include:

- Making the most of scrutiny

- Handling the media

- Probity and propriety

- Working with constituents

- Local authority finance.

- Executive Briefings are aimed at key portfolio holders, to assist them handle their role and functions in an informed manner, so that they can contribute fully and effectively in their Cabinet/Executive. We are initially intending to focus on four high profile portfolios where members can make a real difference:

- Commu nity leadership/services

- Sustainability and sustainable development

- Regeneration

- Culture and the arts.

TRA is already the UK's leading provider of practioner-presented training for Councillors involved in planning, with an excellent track record.(A list of our clients can be found on our website). By extending our current team of presenters to include experts in a range of other fields we will be able to offer our well-established Councillor training services to an even wider audience.

Details of this unique new series will be publicised in Summer 2006. If you would like to receive advance information as the series is being developed you can sign up to an Emailing list (only occasional emails will be sent) by going to Emailing lists and choosing the appropriate list.


TRA is running two workshops in Glasgow on 8 June as part of the 2006 Scotland programme.

Service Planning and Performance is a participatory workshop aimed at all those involved in service planning. The development of effective linkages between corporate aims, service plans and performance indicators is essential in public services, particularly in light of the introduction of the Best Value requirements in the Local Government in Scotland Act 2003. This workshop looks at setting objectives, indicators and targets and at establishing mechanisms for monitoring performance. Participants gain practical hands-on experience of a variety of techniques. The workshop is presented by David Leslie.

The Basics of Plan ning is a brand new workshop presented by Vivien Green, one of TRA's Senior Associates. It is designed as an introduction to the planning process for new/less experienced enforcement, administrative and technical staff in local authorities and for support staff working in private practices. It will also be of benefit to more experienced staff who want to set their own job in the wider context of the overall planning process. The workshop will cover development control, enforcement and development planning. It offers a valuable opportunity to meet and share experience with colleagues from other organisations and other parts of the planning process.

Places are available on both workshops but prompt booking is recommended at this stage. For more details or to reserve a place please contact Shelagh Pooley. Provisional bookings can also be made using our provisional booking facility.


Due to the continuing popularity of the Forum on Enforcement held each year in Warrington in October, we recently organised an additional Forum to provide another opportunity to attend, particularly for those who missed out on the last event. The Forum took place at the end of March, again in Warrington, and was attended by more than 70 people. A good day was had by all and we hope that this spring-time Forum will become as well-established as the autumn event in years to come.

Some examples of feedback from participants at last month's event:

The Forum is a great opportunity to reassess your performance plans, aims and goals for enforcing planning control. Paul Clements, Malvern Hills DC

Another essential and well managed Forum. Enforcement officers can never stop learning, nor can authorities afford to stop enforcement officers being allowed to forward their knowledge. Kevin Walton, Kirklees MBC

This was my f irst TRA event and I was not disappointed! Peter Riddell, Sedgefield BC

A very good day. Anthony Russell, Exmoor National Park Authority

Very high standard as usual. Useful and interesting presentations. Julie Birkett, Lake District National Park Authority.

The next Forum is planned for 12 October 2006 in Warrington. Specific programme details will be publicised and circulated nearer to the time but bookings can be made now and a number of places have already been reserved. Early booking is recommended to avoid disappointment (the event has been fully booked for the last few years). To reserve a place, please contact Shelagh Pooley.


Many of you have already been in touch to arrange training for your Councillors in the period following the elections. For those still considering this, TRA would be very pleased to help but you will need to get in touch pretty quickly.

Details of the workshops available for Councillors can be found on our website, along with a list of our clients and feedback from previous participants.

Our two most popular workshops, especially for new Councillors, are A Briefing on Planning for Councillors, which covers planning policy and procedures, principally in relation to development control and The Role of Councillors in Planning: probity and propriety issues, which tackles tricky issues such as conflicts and declarations of interest, material considerations, lobbying, and decisions contrary to officer advice.

If your authority doesn't have elections this year or if you are looking for more focused training for Councillors with some experience, we also offer a range of Briefings on specific topics.

If you are in Scotland and considering training for your Councillors, details of the options available can also be found on our website.

For further details and a no-commitment discussion please contact Penny O'Shea.


This section of ENews is a way for people who have taken part in the TRA/Cambridge University certificated courses to keep in contact with us and each other. We are keen to keep in touch so please let Shelagh at TRA know if you have any news.

Peter Biggs is leaving East Hertfordshire DC this month to join David Wilson Homes as Planning Manager for their eastern region. Peter successfully completed his fourth module on the Management programme at Madingley earlier this year and will be awarded the Certificate in due course. He says that the training has given him much more confidence as a manager.

Nick Morley from Gedling BC has been promoted to Development Control Manager. Like Peter, Nick recently completed his fourth management m odule and is awaiting award of the Certificate. Letting us know about his appointment, Nick said: "All the hard work at Madingley has paid off!...the course has been of great assistance to me - not least by giving me the confidence to take on this new challenge. I look forward to putting my managerial training into practice!"

We wish them both the best of luck in their new jobs.

Please click here for details of the TRA/Cambridge University certificated courses.


Trevor Roberts Associates

1 Atlas House, St. Georges Square,

Bolton, BL1 2HB,

United Kingdom Tel: (01204) 385678 Fax: (01204) 386376 Email: mail@tra-ltd.co.uk Website: http://www.tra-ltd.co.uk/


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