I offer high quality training (face-to-face and through virtual platforms) on governance topics to elected members and officers. I pride myself on making my sessions participative, practical and enjoyable!
Governance (the effective operation of organisations including decision-making, probity and accountability) is at the heart of effective local democracy. I passionately believe that helping to equip councillors and officers in local government with the skills they need will strengthen good governance.
Since retiring from full time legal practice in 2018 and setting up as a trainer/consultant, I have delivered over 100 training sessions to organisations across the country including London Boroughs, County Councils, District Councils, Unitaries, Combined Authorities, National Parks Authorities and Parish/Town Councils.
Although there are a number of popular topics on which I deliver training, I always design the session(s) to meet the needs and context of the particular council. I will ensure the training is always exactly what you need and absolutely relevant. I will give you a clear, all-inclusive, price to include a full background briefing from your senior officers.
Throughout my career, I have worked closely with elected councillors and love the involvement with members, supporting them in their democratic role. I now enjoy delivering in-house training sessions to elected members, whether newly elected or experienced councillors.
I am happy to work with you to design a bespoke session and/or to fit in with your member development programme for induction or refresher training. Sessions last for a one or two hour period or can be a longer workshop.
My most popular topics for member sessions at the moment are:-
- Standards, Probity and Good Governance for Members
- Probity in Planning
- Officer/Members – Effective Working Together
- Chairing Skills (I also run a specific session on Chairing Virtual Meetings)
- Being a councillor – the legal and governance framework (useful for induction post May elections or for new members joining at other times)
My website has details of the full content of these sessions and also of other topics which I can deliver for your councillors.
I run courses for officers in local authorities on the key topic of: Political Awareness – Operating at the Political Interface
For local authority officers moving up into senior roles, or for colleagues joining local government from other sectors, there will be much to take in and adapt to – greater budget accountability, wider staffing responsibilities and more significant performance expectations amongst other pressures. Whilst all these challenges would be faced in any senior role in a large organisation, there are features of local government which are unique, and which you need to be fully on top of to be successful in your role.
From my experience working closely with elected members in a number of different local authorities, I think there are three key aspects of surviving and thriving at senior level in a local authority:-
- The political dynamics of local government – why is the relationship between officers and members so crucial
- The governance framework of local government – why does it matter that this organisation is a public body?
- The personal skills and values needed for success.
I offer two modules to address these issues:-
(1) Specifically for local government lawyers (offered on a national basis through LLG Training - Lawyers in Local Government, currently via a remote platform) and
(2) for all officers of appropriate seniority from any professional discipline/background in a particular council on an in-house basis. I have developed programmes for a number of councils which deliver political awareness training to all their senior managers.
All the sessions are practical and participative, ensuring all delegates return to their roles better equipped to thrive at the political interface. I can run a two hour period or deliver a longer workshop.
Feedback from recent events includes:-
- “So much fabulous and helpful content”
- “Absolutely excellent – the discussions I wish I’d had many years ago!”
- “I found this course to be excellent and superbly presented”
- "The speaker’s knowledge was fantastic - I will leave the course today having a much better understanding than I did before”
- “A very helpful practical session that helped to remind, but also guide”
- “Clear information; well presented; very perceptive and specific to the council”
- “Beth was a fountain of knowledge and experience but able to share practical experience and examples”
- “I liked everything about the session!"
- “Workshop examples were so useful”
- “Beth is very impressive, knowledgeable and engaging”
- “As a new councillor it was listen and learn for me. I found this very interesting and very useful”
- “Perfectly pitched. Great balance between theory and practice”
- “Excellent delivery and really appreciated the references to personal experience and practical tips”
About Bethan Evans
I was a qualified solicitor for 35 years. I was born in Wednesbury in the West Midlands. Although I didn’t know it at the time, this was clearly a sign of my future career – the leading court case on how a local authority makes lawful and robust decisions involved Wednesbury Council!
After a law degree at Bristol University, I trained in private practice then moved into local government where I worked as an in-house lawyer for nearly 20 years at four different councils. I was a Returning Officer, a Monitoring Officer, a County Solicitor and a Corporate Director in a Unitary Council.
In 1999 I became the Executive Director of Syniad, the Welsh Local Government Agency responsible for improvement, development and employment issues in Welsh local government.
I then moved to a role as a partner with Bevan Brittan LLP where I led the local government team for 15 years.
The firm has, for recent years, been ranked Band One legal advisors for local authorities. During my time at Bevan Brittan I was elected as Senior Partner of the firm for 4 years.
Originally from the West Midlands, I have lived in Bristol for many years, although I have worked in Cardiff, Birmingham, Leeds and London. I am now based in London and the West Country, from where I can easily operate across England and Wales.