AT least 17 Cardiff councillors failed to complete their mandatory training nearly a year after being elected.
The figures were revealed in a report, dating from March, presented to Cardiff Council’s standards and ethics committee during a discussion on a potential amendment to the members’ code of conduct at the local authority.
As part of the proposal, if members were to fail in completing their mandatory training within a reasonable time limit, for example six months, then that would constitute a breach of the members’ code of conduct.
However, a number of councillors said such an amendment could leave members open to unnecessarily harsh repercussions and they should be afforded more time to complete training.
Group leader of the Liberal Democrats, Cllr Rodney Berman, said: “We have got to put ourselves in the position of the councillors and sometimes people are missing the training, not deliberately, not because they want to miss it or they don’t value it, but because actually it is harder to sometimes do these things than you might think when you are juggling different responsibilities.
“I think we have got to make sure that we don’t get into a position where we put people into that trap.”
All councillors completed the members code of conduct section of the mandatory training.
In order to get this done, the council’s director of legal and governance, Davina Fiore, said the session was run about 13 times on different days of the week and at different times.
She added that the vast majority of the training is available to be completed online.
The mandatory training relates to the legal responsibilities and duties a councillor has. Other modules include information governance and data protection, supporting equality, corporate parenting and safeguarding.
In response to Cllr Berman’s comments, Cllr Jayne Cowan said: “I am not precious about six months or 12 months, but I really do think that we should be making that mandatory and there should be sanctions.
“There are 79 of us, it is a huge honour and a priviledge to be a councillor and I appreciate people have full-time jobs.
“I am very busy, I have got caring responsibilities, chair of governors, but we can all make time.
“As Davina said, there were 13 sessions on the one. She has also offered to do one-to-one training, online training, so I would have concern if we didn’t have any sanctions after 12 months of someone becoming a councillor.”
The leader of the Labour group at Cardiff Council, Cllr Huw Thomas said: “As of today, with one individual exception who has got a medical reason, the training for the Labour group is fully completed across the board.”
Leader of the Conservatives group at the council, Cllr Adrian Robson, said his group has also completed all of its training now.
The standards and ethics committee agreed to make a recommendation to council to amend the members’ code of conduct to incorporate a duty to attend all mandatory training.
If approved by the council, it means mandatory training should be completed within six months of the date that it is offered.