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Councillors get psychometric tests

Published 26/07/2013

Councillors are being offered psychometric testing to help them do better at work.

One of the UK's largest local authorities, Birmingham City Council, is running a pilot project for up to 20 elected councillors to undergo the test, already widely used by employers in the private sector.

Many councils also use the same test as part of their recruitment and training process for senior managers.

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) works by identifying an individual's personality profile, based on the theory of Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung - the father of modern analytical psychology.

The council has said the results could help councillors be "more productive and efficient", reduce conflict with colleagues, and help them understand their capabilities.

Birmingham council is part-way though an unprecedented programme of cuts to save £615 million from its budget by 2017.

Councillors have been assured the tests are voluntary and the results will be confidential, known only to each member and an independent coach whose job is to help evaluate the results. Council staff and other councillors will not be able to access the data.

Raffaela Goodby, a council human resources manager, said the test was only the "starting point" and councillors were free to have further training.

The MBTI identifies an individual against one of 16 personality profiles, including whether they are an introvert or extrovert, how strong their perception is, and what level of intuition they have, through posing a series of questions.

A Birmingham City Council spokesman said: "Elected members lead and manage a hugely complex organisation, coming from different backgrounds and knowledge bases. This development is designed to help improve how our members work together, understand their working styles and enable more productive and efficient working. The MBTI psychometric tool is widely used across private and public sectors and is well-respected."

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