We issued the following response to an enquiry from the Progress Leader regarding the Cranlana Colloquium.
Have Boroondara Councillors participated in the Cranlana Colloquium before at the Council's expense or is it a new course that the Council will pay for?
No, this is not a new course. Since 2016 (commencement year of the current electoral cycle), only 3 Councillors have taken this course.
Is the course compulsory, must all Councillors undertake it?
This course is not compulsory and is at the absolute discretion of a Councillor to participate.
What does the course entail and why does the Council believe it is of value to Councillors?
The Cranlana Colloquium is a 6-day intensive course to enhance leadership capabilities and provide frameworks for complex decision-making.
Some benefits of this program to Councillors include:
- enhanced strategic thinking
- development of a more critical and informed approach to decision-making
- improved relationships with the community, stakeholders, fellow colleagues and officers
- a better understanding of their role in serving their community.
When will Councillors undertake the course, where will it be held and how often will Councillors undertake the course (annually or once per elected council term)?
Councillors who want to undertake the colloquium will be enrolled into one of the courses advertised throughout the year as per the event programming of Cranlana Centre For Ethical Leadership.
The Cranlana Colloquium is generally held at the Cranlana Centre for Ethical Leadership located at 62 Clendon Road, Toorak, Victoria.
How much does the course cost?
The Cranlana Colloquium costs a total of $8,950 including GST.
The course is in addition to a leadership course Councillors already undertake at the Council's expense with the Australian Institute of Company Directors. How much does the AICD course cost and why is it necessary that Councillors undertake both courses?
The 5-day AICD course provides an understanding of good governance procedures - covering topics such as effective decision making, legal aspects of leadership (e.g. fiduciary duties) and financial literacy and strategy. Depending on a Councillor’s study requirements, cost of this course can range between $4,879 to $8,168.
Council considers significant benefit is gained by the community in having elected representatives whose skills are developed to improve the quality of decision-making and understanding of good governance.
Participation in professional development programs, such as the AICD and the Cranlana Colloquium, depends on the learning and development needs of each individual Councillor - so they can better serve their community.
It is at each Councillor’s discretion as to which, if any, course best suits their needs depending on the learning and development outcomes they seek.
Does the Council believe these courses are a responsible use of ratepayer money?
Yes. Councillors operate in a complex environment where they are setting the strategic direction for an organisation which employs approximately 1,200 staff providing 130 different services with a budgeted expenditure of $286.7 million and managing total assets valued at $3.557 billion.
It is important for Councillors to meet their obligations to the community and, like any organisation, having the appropriate skills is essential. Completing these courses will assist a Councillor to better understand their role in the community.
Courses such as these are not just offered to City of Boroondara Councillors. Other councils across Victoria offer training and personal development opportunities to address their Council/Councillors needs.
Just looking for a point of clarification, how many of our current Boroondara Councillors have undertaken or plan to undertake the AICD and Cranlana courses?
During their time in Council, 8 Councillors have studied the Cranlana course while 9 Councillors have studied the AICD course. Neither of the Cranlana and AICD courses are compulsory - rather, Councillors can study the 2 courses if they choose to do so.
Also, would I be right to say the Cranlana course was previously available to Councillors but was paid for out of their annual financial allocation for courses/seminars? That seems to be what the agenda item is getting at by suggesting it will now be paid for in addition to the Councillors' training budgets. Finally, what's the reason for this change? Is it to encourage more Councillors to take up the course?
Yes, the Cranlana course was previously paid for out of each Councillor’s annual financial allocation for professional development. The reason for this change is because Cranlana Colloquium is seen as a professional development investment which should be open to all Councillors.