Support for new councillors

The LGA is here for you every step of the way in your journey as an elected member.

Congratulations on being elected as a councillor!

The amount of information that you may be expected to become aware of, and understand, in the first few months of your role can often seem very overwhelming.

Your new role as a community champion and advocate will require you to respond to the varied needs and expectations of your local communities.

Gaining a good understanding of the challenges faced by residents and businesses has become increasingly important as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic and deal with the ongoing consequences of the war in Ukraine and the rising cost of living.

As you begin your new role as a councillor, it will become even more important to embrace the challenges of building community and economic resilience, driving the needs of your local residents and providing effective place-based leadership.

To support you in your new role, the LGA has developed a dedicated ‘new councillor hub’, to provide you with the essential information you need as a newly elected member.

“Your new role will require you to respond to the varied needs of your local communities”

The hub has been developed as a ‘one-stop shop’ for vital information and advice to help you navigate the first few months of your term of office, and beyond.

It outlines the support you can access from the LGA, and is intended to complement and support the advice and training given to you through your own council’s induction programme.

The hub offers a wealth of useful information on the wider structure of local government and on the key advice and support available to you from the LGA, nationally and regionally. It also outlines our important representational and lobbying role as your membership organisation. 

We encourage you to make the most of all that the LGA offers. The hub is a great place to start to explore all that we have for you as newly elected members and in your continued development as councillors.

The hub outlines information about the support you can access from the LGA through our political group offices.

It also signposts you to the many training and development opportunities offered through our government-funded sector support offer, including our wide range of webinars, events, e-learning, workbooks, and development programmes.

Councillor e-learning

Expand your political leadership skills with our free e-learning platform for councillors!

Now you’re a councillor, completing our e-learning modules will deepen your knowledge of local government and help you build the leadership skills you need to work effectively with your communities.

You can use the e-learning platform to create a bespoke learning programme – choosing the modules most relevant to your individual needs and interests, and fitting your learning around all your other commitments. To register please visit our e-learning platform.

We’ve provided more details of two of our e-learning modules, on economic development and the LGA’s Councillor Code of Conduct (see below).

We also offer modules on the following subjects:

  • biodiversity for councils
  • commissioning council services
  • community engagement and leadership
  • councillor induction
  • equality, diversity and inclusion
  • facilitation and conflict resolution
  • handling intimidation
  • holding council meetings online
  • influencing skills
  • licensing and regulation
  • local government finance
  • planning
  • police and crime panels
  • scrutiny for councillors
  • stress management and personal resilience
  • supporting mentally healthier communities
  • supporting your constituents with complex issues
  • the effective ward councillor
  • UK general data protection regulation (GDPR).

Councillor Code of Conduct

In your role as a councillor, you are expected to uphold high standards of conduct and always show good leadership.

The LGA’s Model Councillor Code of Conduct sets out the general principles of conduct expected of all councillors and your specific obligations in relation to standards of conduct. Under the Localism Act 2011, all councils are expected to have a code of conduct that outlines the expectations of the behaviours of councillors and co-opted members of the council, and how the council will deal with any conduct-related issues.

The fundamental aim of a code is to create and maintain public confidence in the role of a councillor and local government.

The LGA’s e-learning module provides an additional learning opportunity to the training and discussions around codes of conduct and standards of behaviour provided by your council. The module looks at the content of the LGA model code, the benefits of having a robust and clearly understandable code of conduct to underpin councillor and officer behaviours, and the principles behind that.

The module also looks at the consequences when a code of conduct is breached.

“Local government impacts the lives of citizens every day, providing essential services to those it serves. Its decisions directly affect the quality of life of local people. High standards of conduct in local government are needed to demonstrate that those decisions are taken in the public interest and to maintain public confidence.”

The Committee for Standards in Public Life

Economic development

At the heart of any council’s work is the ambition to create and maintain a thriving local economy.

We all want to foster and provide local areas where people are healthy and happy and businesses are prosperous, where surroundings are pleasant and well used, and local people enjoy acceptable standards of living.

A healthy local economy underpins this ambition.

As councillors, you are champions not only of your local residents, but also the places in which they live. In your role as leaders of place, an understanding of economic development will help you in achieving this ambition.

Consideration of the economic growth needs and possibilities of our local areas will become ever more important as we seek to re-engage and reinvest in our local communities following the COVID-19 pandemic, and deal with the challenges faced by councils and their residents from the rising cost of living and changes to the way our residents and businesses operate and live within their local areas.  

The LGA’s economic development e-learning module will enable you, as a councillor, to make a positive contribution to your local areas and communities.

It looks at what a thriving local economy may look like; the external influences and the role of government in good economic development; and how – from an understanding of the interaction of people, place, prosperity, partnerships and planning – councillors can help to influence and build better and more thriving local communities, to provide better places for people to live and work.

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