We kicked off 2021 with the first major event, Practitioners’ Conference 2021. As with the hugely successful National Conference last year, Practitioners’ Conference was delivered in an online format, allowing many delegates to attend for the first time.
The diverse programme attracted 435 delegates and 5654 registrations for 33 sessions. In total, over 5000 attended across the week. Delegates were treated to presentations on a wide range of topics including a presentation from a ‘Chief Happiness Officer’ which unsurprisingly proved to be among the most popular of the week.
Day Two saw possibly the most relevant session of the week as the new Local Governance Toolkit was launched, providing a vital resource available not only to Parish and Town council officers, but, for the first time, to local council Democratic Services Officers. In the same session Paul Hoey of Hoey Ainscough Associates led an update on the recent SLCC survey on Standards and Behaviour and initial findings present a fairly unchanged picture from 2018 when the first survey was commissioned. For more information on the results of the survey please visit the dedicated Standards & Behaviour page here.
Across the week presentations continued from national organisations, The Ramblers Association and Alzheimers Society highlighting initiatives which resonate with every community and clerks had the opportunity to network with colleagues and discuss more specific issues which affect their work directly.
Some light relief came with a chance to discover the finer points of drinking prosecco from SLCC’s very own in-house sommelier, Lesley Swinbank FSLCC, and was the perfect way to round off a full day of learning and discovery.
Practitioners’ Conference concluded with keynote speaker Matt Ellison and an inspiring and often very moving story of resilience and courage. Matt spoke eloquently about the importance of kindness and empathy and gave those who attended much to think about in how their attitudes and actions affect others.
Feedback just received reports that respondents unanimously agreed that 3 days learning for £75 + VAT is good value for money.
A virtual format has proved to be popular, with many respondents preferring this to a face-to-face format for a variety of reasons, time away from the office and travel being the most reported. Others commented that they recognise the value of being able to network with colleagues in person at events and look forward to when this is again possible.
Overall the feedback has been very positive, with 83% reporting that Practitioners’ Conference had exceeded expectations and 96% saying that they would recommend the conference to a friend or colleague.
Some of feedback included:
“I would just like to say thank you and well done. The conference definitely exceeded expectations. SLCC always run exceptional events and being in a virtual format made it no less exceptional. The range of subject matter and the calibre of speakers was brilliant. Despite the distance I could feel the emotion in the “room” and have come away with not only a list of things to follow up but perhaps even more importantly, a feeling of being part of a clerking family.”
“Love love loved it and huge thanks to the whole team especially the Community Governance tutors who are awesome”
“Great event, easy to book, well organised and hosted, interesting and passionate speakers.”
“I really enjoyed the event, particularly as I don’t normally have the opportunity to participate. Thank you very much to everyone who helped to organise the event and to all the guest speakers for their presentations.”
“I think what the SLCC team have achieved with this and the National Conference virtually has just raised the professionalism of our sector and wonderful that it has given the opportunity for so many to experience the Conference experience during this time.”