Cllr Bryony Rudkin, Suffolk County Council

“What constantly surprises me is how little elected members value their own development. This is partly because the nature of politics can make objective decisions about member development a subject of local press debate. In many instances we can be our worst enemies both in terms of supporting our own personal development and in attracting a new generation to be councillors.

“That is why the establishment of the Political Skills Forum is such welcome news. We need a wider recognition that good local politicians can be a tremendous asset both to local councils and to the wider community. We have reached the limits of what centralised control of public services can achieve. However if we are to make the case for local government rather than local administration we need a supply of capable and confident local politicians who understand their local communities. Paul Wheeler has already achieved a tremendous amount in profiling the role and potential of local councillors and I wish him every success.”

 

Denise July, Hounslow

“Your workshop session received excellent feedback and you were a very effective member of the panel – you came across as very knowledgeable, honest and challenging and your thought provoking answers helped to make this an interesting and well received part of the day.

“We think its the most successful conference we’ve ever organised.”

 

Chan Bandrinath, Waltham Forest

“The Member Development programme you devised has proved popular with our members and is highly innovative.”

 

Cllr Paul Bettison, Bracknell Forest

“Paul Wheeler understands local politics and its importance to local government. It is precisely because he has established a unique reputation with all political parties that he can provide the critical advice we all occasionally need to change our behaviour and respond to new challenges.

“I have worked with him over the last five years and have come to appreciate his hard work and commitment to local democracy as well as his excellent understanding of local government modernisation and development. He is a first rate trainer and motivator to both councillors and senior managers alike.

“Over the next few years we face many new challenges in local government. We need to work with the best to ensure we realise the potential that exists in all councillors to be effective community leaders. The Political Skills Forum is just what is needed both to provide first rate development opportunities for all members but also act as an advocate for local democracy to a much wider public audience.”

 

Mark Gilks, Chief Executive, Hounslow

“A helpful mixture of enthusiasm and discipline ensured a highly successful team day for our Cabinet and Senior Management Team.”