Highlighting managerial leadership

Our range of officer development opportunities.


The next generation of local government managers will be leading local authorities through unprecedented times. Councils have a vital role play in building civil society through:

  • making tough decisions
  • devolving power to local people
  • promoting fairness and tackling inequality.

As the role of councils is rapidly changing, so are the roles of our officers, managers and chief executives. To support the leadership capacity of these professionals, now and in the future, our offer focuses particularly on ensuring that:

  • the brightest and best graduates are encouraged and supported into the sector
  • those leading our local authorities are offered joint political and managerial development opportunities which stretch their knowledge and capability to effectively lead across place, together.
LGA and Solace Group managerial leadership programmes

We sponsor Solace Group to deliver managerial leadership programmes to rising stars and executive leaders.

IGNITE – a Solace leadership programme for chief executives

The IGNITE programme supports chief executives to further develop their understanding of an increasingly complex environment. The programme is supported by the Local Government Association and was delivered in 2016/18 by Collaborate CIC.

Solace and LGA coaching and mentoring

In partnership with Solace, we are pleased to be able to continue this programme of national coaching support for chief executives and their direct reports. The programme has been extended to provide career support to middle managers from BAME and other under-represented backgrounds.

National Graduate Development Programme (NGDP)

The National Graduate Development Programme (NGDP) seeks to match bright, passionate graduates with councils where they can deliver key projects and amazing value for money.

Leading Edge

Our Leading Edge programme focuses on the critical interface between elected leaders and senior officers – challenging them to consider the key issues facing councils, communities and the wider public sector.

Local Government (LG) Challenge

LG Challenge is an annual competition for local government officers to take part in a series of real-life challenges hosted by local authorities across the country and compete for a £10,000 scholarship.

Responding to the climate emergency

Our senior officer leadership training in carbon literacy will help senior council officers, across all services, to explore their crucial local leadership role in responding to the climate emergency. During the course, participants will commit to two carbon-reducing actions. These actions will be evaluated by the Carbon Literacy Project for participants to be certified as 'carbon literate', enabling them to train others in their area of work.

CIPFA training for chief finance officers

The CIPFA Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Leadership Academy is aimed at serving and aspiring CFOs across the public sector who want to strengthen their personal impact and leadership skills. Delegates from English local authorities may be eligible for an LGA bursary.

Children’s support offer for chief executives

Our Children’s Improvement team has established an offer of support for chief executives in delivering their accountability to provide effective children’s services. The offer aligns with the support available via our children’s improvement advisers who work with our principal advisers in each region. The work on the chief executive support offer is led by Philip Simpkins and steered by a bimonthly meeting of regional lead chief executives. Outputs to date have included an updated Chief Executive Must Know Guide, themed webinars and individual support.

We are working closely with Solace and the Staff College to ensure alignment. The work has several strands which are in the early stages of delivery and will be developed further, they include:

  • support for chief executives of councils receiving an inadequate judgment for their children’s services – including access to advice and support from chief executives who have delivered an improvement journey and one to one support
  • a package of tailored support for new chief executives depending on their needs and experience
  • line of sight review – enabling the chief executives to think through their line of sight on children’s services and safeguarding partnerships
  • regional finance offer – supporting the Section 151 officer and finance teams in respect of children’s services.

We also offer peer mentoring for chief executives who would like to develop their leadership of children’s services. If you would like further information about any aspect of this offer, please contact Philip Simpkins at philip.simpkins@btinternet.com or on 07392 003902.

Commercial and contract management

The Government Commercial College provides key commercial and contract management learning for civil servants and the wider public sector. These free e-learning courses cover a range of topics, and are designed to support those in both commercial and non-commercial roles to develop their skills and achieve a baseline of professional excellence.

You need to register for an account to gain access to the course catalogue and the courses.

Cyber, digital and technology
  • The Local Government Association has been awarded £1 million from the National Cyber Security Programme to fund local government officers in England to undertake a professionally certified course, as part of a sector-wide skills uplift. Please email LGAcybersecurity@local.gov.uk for more information.
  • The LGA Cyber 360 programme supports councils to explore their cyber security culture – sharing fresh perspectives in a safe, friendly and constructive environment. We are now inviting expressions of interest from all councils, and from council officers, to take part in the programme as participating councils or as members of the LGA Cyber 360 team. We are happy to have a conversation with anyone who is considering taking part either as a volunteer officer or as a participating council. Please email LGAcybersecurity@local.gov.uk to book in a conversation.
  • The LGA Cyber Security Programme is providing grant funding for a cohort of senior officers and councillors to enrol on a university-led course for leaders – the University of Oxford’s Cyber Security for Business Leaders Programme – for which they have offered a discounted rate. We are currently taking expressions of interest from any councillors and officers at non-IT ‘heads of service’ and above. We are looking to enhance their understanding of cyber risk to enable better strategic decision making for a cyber-resilient future. Places are limited and funded on a first come first serve basis. Please make relevant colleagues aware of this offer. For further information and expressions of interest please email LGAcybersecurity@local.gov.uk
  • Cyber, digital and technology working groups and networks – the LGA provides various forums for officer development to collaborate with like-minded colleagues within the cyber and digital space across groups: Local Government Digital Committee (LGDC), Digital Inclusion Network, Transformation Network, Digital Construction Working Group and the Cyber Security Policy Group. Find out more about our digital programmes