Training & Development Policy – Staff

Training & Development Policy – Staff

(A pdf version of this policy is available for download here)


St Stephen in Brannel Parish Council is an organisation in which learning is valued. Members and staff will be supported to undertake the training and development which they need to help them achieve and maintain a high standard of performance and all will be given encouragement and support to achieve their full potential. This will allow the organisation as a whole to provide a proper level of service to the residents of the parish.

The council is committed to ensuring employees’ identified priority learning needs are met, within budget constraints and service requirements, and that the council’s workforce development needs analysis is aligned with strategic plan and budget planning procedures/timeframe.

Time for training and development, in whatever format it takes, will be allocated and protected to ensure that the individual meets their learning. This is essential to ensure the Council is competent in delivery of services in the best way possible, and in accordance with statutory and regulatory requirements.

Learning and development opportunities are open to all employees in line with the Council’s relevant equality policies.

Roles and responsibilities

The Council expects its staff to undertake a programme of continuing professional development (CPD) in line with their role and the requirements of their professional bodies. Therefore, the Parish Council will subscribe to the Society of Local Council Clerks (SLCC) and Cornwall County Association of Local Councils (CALC) each municipal year.

To support this, funds will be allocated to a training budget each year to enable Staff and Councillors to attend training events and conferences relevant to their duties and the needs of the Parish Council.

Line managers are responsible for:

  • identifying learning and development needs
  • ensuring the provision of continued personal development (CPD) within the appraisalprocess or separately, if required
  • evaluating learning outcomes in relation to the original identified needs

All training will be considered according to priority, budget availability and operational capacity to release individuals for training.

Line managers should ensure that all employees have fair and equal access to learning and development activity, and must allow ‘protected’ learning time.

Line managers must ensure their team complete all corporate mandatory training.

Line managers and employees will assess the most appropriate way of meeting identified learning outcomes, ensuring that a variety of activities are considered in addition to traditional training courses.

Employees are responsible for:

  • identifying their own learning and development needs
  • having regular discussions with their line manager, applying their learning to improve performance/productivity
  • committing to undertaking and completing any allocated training to the best of their ability within the agreed timescale

Identifying, meeting and evaluating learning needs

Individual learning needs may come from:

  • changes to job requirements
  • SMART objectives (appraisal)
  • under performance
  • career development
  • professional requirements

Learning needs may be about developing knowledge, skills, improving behavioural competency, or achieving a required qualification for the role – It’s essential to identify the need before seeking potential solutions.

The Council, through the HR committee, is willing to consider CPD opportunities which may not necessarily be directly linked to an employee’s role, if a discernible benefit to the council can be identified and appropriate budgetary resources are available.

There are various methods of development including courses, on the job learning, coaching, mentoring, research, project work, E-learning, distance learning, reading books or journals such as sector-specific publications, attending conferences and events.

Before engaging external providers, always fully consider solutions which are already available, including those in the above paragraph, or which may be developed.

Line managers are expected to review all learning activities with employees following development events and plan how learning will be transferred into the employee’s day to day work or practice – consider whether or not the learning objectives were met and evaluate the overall quality and cost effectiveness of the learning solution.

Learning fees and expenses

Learning fees are the financial costs paid by the council for the course or training. For most training courses which meet identified learning needs, the Council will meet the costs in full.

In accordance with Financial Regulations and procedures, employees may be required to seek up to 3 quotations for appropriate training to ensure best value. Exceptions will apply to very specific training for which there may be limited providers or where the council has entered into a preferential agreement with a specific provider.

Learning expenses are intended to compensate employees for costs they actually incur by attending learning activities – they are covered by the Councils adopted expenses policy and cover (this list is not exhaustive)

  • travelling to training
  • hotels/accommodation and overnight expenses
  • “out of pocket expenses”
  • equipment and stationery books

Training records

Completion of training events, e-learning modules, qualification modules or awards, informal development activities such as shadowing and secondments and attendance at external conferences or seminars should all be recorded as part of your CPD. Copies of any relevant documents such as proof of attendance and certificates of completion will be kept on the employees personnel file.

Note: Remaining sections of this policy apply to learning and development which exceeds £1,000.

Funded courses

A funding agreement may be required to be completed and signed when the council is being asked to contribute funds towards fees for any learning activities. The decision as to whether to apply a funding agreement is that of the HR Committee.

Line managers should ensure that the funding agreement is completed before an employee starts the training or qualification.

Support may be financial, or time, or a combination of both – provision of one type of support is not a guarantee of the other. Line managers must ensure that the employee has the appropriate resources to complete it, either at home or in the workplace.

Continuing assistance, e.g. a second year of study or a second attempt at an examination will only be granted if the HR committee has evidence of satisfactory progress being made.

A single application is required for an individual undertaking any recognised qualification, the HR committee will commit to fund the complete course subject to the candidate making satisfactory progress.

Employee responsibilities

Attend the learning on the days and at the times necessary and complete any course work as required – employees must inform their line manager and training provider straight away, if they can’t do this for any reason on any occasion.

Keep their line manager informed of their progress and anything that might affect their ability to complete – their line manager is fully entitled to contact the course training provider to discuss progress.

If applicable, repay the training fees if required to do so, where they fail to honour all or part of any funding agreement.

Repaying financial support

In the following circumstances the council may ask employees to pay back some or all of the financial support provided.

Employees leaving the council during their period of study may be required to refund all training fees to the date of their leaving, and these may be deducted from the employee’s final salary.

Employees leaving the council within two years of completing the course and the qualification being confirmed may be required to pay back the council for the costs associated with the course on a monthly pro rata basis, e.g:

  • an employee leaves having completed 2 months of service, the balance of 22/24ths of the total cost must be repaid
  • an employee leaves having completed 18 months of service, the balance of 6/24ths of the total cost must be repaid

Employees not leaving the council, who decide they can no longer continue with a financially supported course/learning, may be required to pay back the council.

In the following circumstances, the council will not ask employees to pay back all or some of the financial support provided:

  • Ill health retirement
  • Death in service
  • Redundancy

The final decision in respect of a requirement to repay fees is that of the HR Committee if required.

Paid time off and study leave

Where an employee is undertaking an approved qualification programme, they will be granted reasonable paid time off to attend workshops, lectures and/or seminars, and to sit examinations.

Up to three days study leave per learning year may be granted for the purposes of preparing for exams, producing assignments or portfolios, or for other course work. Study leave should be requested through the line manager.

Adopted by Full Council at the meeting held on Wednesday 2nd August 2023 under minute FPC205/23. Due for review in August 2026.