Sector support offer for councils

Sector support offer wording in white with an orange, pink and blue background
The following summary sets out the sector support offer for councils in 2021/22.

Introduction

Councils operate at the very heart of their communities. From caring for the most vulnerable to driving economic growth, councils provide support to help people improve their lives and the leadership needed to make shared local priorities a reality. This has never been more important. Councils’ ability to meet the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic is possible because of the remarkable relationship they have with their communities.

The sector support offer is shaped by what councils tell us they need to respond to the opportunities and challenges they are facing. The support offer has its basis in the sector-led improvement (SLI) approach, which is underpinned by the following core principles:

  • councils are responsible for their own performance and improvement
  • councils are primarily accountable to local communities
  • councils have a collective responsibility for the performance of the sector as a whole
  • the role of the LGA is to maintain an overview of performance of the sector and to provide tools and support.

In employing this approach, our offer extends across political and managerial leadership, and involves use of member and officer peers, to ensure robust, strategic and credible challenge and support.

The updated sector support offer, funded by UK Government, is designed to support councils as they respond to issues arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, including financial challenges, community engagement, public health and other issues relating to economic recovery and renewal. We also offer a range of programmes to help develop and enhance councils’ local leadership and workforce, engage with residents and transform services, involving access to learning and development opportunities and performance data. We provide councils with further support to meet their statutory requirements and develop communities that are safer and more sustainable, including comprehensive climate change support, and work closely with Local Partnerships (jointly owned by the LGA, HMT and the Welsh Government) to provide additional support on specific issues, such as Private Finance Initiatives, housing, waste, infrastructure and climate response. These elements of the offer are funded by MHCLG.

Children’s services, adult social services and cyber security remain core issues for councils and the LGA continues to provide support through programmes funded by other government departments, alongside programmes including One Public Estate (OPE) and Planning Advisory Service (PAS).

Our support offer has the following objectives:

  1. Support council improvement using peer support: To provide support and challenge to local authorities to ensure they continue to improve.
  2. Support financial resilience and economic recovery of councils: To provide support to local authorities to ensure effective financial resilience and economic recovery. 
  3. Support council leadership, workforce and communications: To improve the leadership of councils, particularly the political leadership, through a range of training and development programmes; to improve communications; and to enhance workforce resilience and capacity.
  4. Support safer and more sustainable communities: To provide support to local authorities to create healthier, safer and more sustainable communities.

Councils can access and learn more about all our support through regionally based principal advisers and regional teams. Please contact the principal adviser for region if you want to find out more about any aspect of the support programme.

Supporting council improvement using peer support

We offer a range of resources and tools to provide councils with support and challenge to ensure they continue to improve. Regional improvement networks provide dedicated ongoing regional support, peer support and intelligence gathering through an extensive network of principal advisors, regional teams, member peers and political group officesThe LGA’s peer support offer provides councils with a unique opportunity to engage with peers who have current or previous experience in the sector and provide challenge, support and guidance on specific areas or issues.

Our improvement support is further underpinned by a research offer, including LG inform, which provides councils with unrivalled access to over 7,000 data items and the ability to compare performance against other councils. These elements of our support are outlined in detail on this page.

Peer challenge and Remote Peer Support 

Our peer support offer is a cornerstone of the sector support programme, including two distinct, but related programmes: peer challenge and Remote Peer Support. The flexibility of this offer ensures that councils maintain continual access to peer support throughout these challenging times.

For further details about any aspects of this support, please contact the principal adviser for your region.

Peer challenge

The peer challenge approach involves a team of experienced officers and members spending time with another council as ‘peers’ to provide challenge and share learning. Participating councils receive a comprehensive report and recommendations from the peer team and then identify their own action plan to respond.

Peer challenges are an established tool that supports councils to drive improvements and efficiency in specific areas, including finance, communications, health and wellbeing, equalities, housing, planning and more. Our complete range of peer challenges are outlined in further detail on the LGA website and within the relevant sections of this offer summary.

A core element of the offer is the Corporate Peer Challenge, which is an integral element in our peer challenge offer. This involves peer teams spending significant time within councils to identify and address issues and challenge progress across themes including local priorities and outcomes, organisational and place leadership, governance and culturefinancial planning and management and capacity for improvement. Fully-funded Corporate Peer Challenges are available to all councils. It is expected that all councils will complete a Corporate Peer Challenge at least every 5 years.

Remote Peer Support

Our remote peer support offer was developed during the pandemic to provide councils with support and challenge to address COVID-19 related issues and broader challenges. This offer comprises:

  • Recovery and Renewal Panels, which involve an online workshop (‘panel’), facilitated by the LGA and supported by a chief executive and leader peer. These panels provide councils an opportunity to reflect on learning from their COVID-19 responses and consider plans for recovery and renewal. Panels are made up of a small group of officers and members, selected from the LGA’s pool of experienced peers.
  • Bespoke Remote Peer Support, which offers a robust process for councils to focus on a specific issue or service area in greater depth. Participating councils receive independent challenge and support from a team of senior officer and member peers and ‘remote onsite’ activity takes place over a number of days, followed by detailed written feedback. This support is available across a range of areas, including governance, tourism, transformation, communications and more.
  • A Remote Corporate Health-Check, which provides councils with a clear framework to consider key components that typically feature as part of a Corporate Peer challenge (see above) – for instance, priority setting, place leadership, governance and capacity to deliver. A Remote Corporate Health-Check is led by officer and member peers and provides more time and space than a Recovery and Renewal Panel to consider key issues.

Tailored and flexible regional peer support

The LGA’s flexible, regionally focused support offer helps councils to achieve greater political and managerial capacity, including resilience and readiness during times of increased vulnerability. Our regional teams offer an enhanced understanding of issues facing councils in each local area and can provide right support at the right time to support councils in their improvement journey.

Change of political leadership support is also available to all councils that experience a change of control or leadership following elections in 2021. This support offer can involve top team development, mentoring and access to a range of leadership programmes and peer development opportunities. It also features a Changes in Political Leadership Hub, which captures the range of LGA resources and support in this area. 

Our regional teams can provide or arrange bespoke support for all councils, including the following:

  • member and officer peer support, including mentoring
  • support to councils to address severe performance and/or financial issues, including guidance and support 
  • advice and assurance regarding organisational leadership, governance and risk management
  • mediation to address challenges in relationships between senior councillors and/or officers
  • in-depth and tailored support to councils around developing devolution deals
  • top team development, available for senior political leadership teams to enhance strategic decision making and leadership capacity
  • political awareness support for officers
  • bespoke finance support, including access to financial improvement and sustainability advisers (FISAs)
  • service specific reviews responding to local challenges
  • support and challenge on equalities, diversity, inclusion and cohesion issues
  • officer and/or member development sessions for specific councils 
  • showcasing and signposting to good practice
  • regional networking events
  • deployment of LGA staff where appropriate.

Some elements of these offers are set out in later sections.

Research offer   

Our research offer provides councils with two tools to support improvements in council performance:

  • LG Inform, a powerful data benchmarking platform, which is available free to all councils and uniquely integrates thousands of local-level data items within an all-in-one system. Councils can use LG Inform to achieve a range of outcomes including performance reporting, understanding variation across councils, benchmarking for improvement, designing dashboard reports, visualising data and accessing data.  
  • LG Inform Plus, which provides subscribers with a diverse suite of online information services to aid improvement and reduce costs.  Whilst LG Inform enables councils to draw comparisons between each other, LG Inform Plus allows councils to look within their borders, providing information for each ward and smaller areas to highlight contrasts across over 2,000 data items.  Alongside this, LG Inform Plus provides access to a comprehensive library of authority powers and duties and records retention schedules; and a Record of Processing Activity (ROPA) tool.  

Responding to the increasing use of advanced and predictive analytics within councils, we have also created a new online network for practitioners, the Advanced and Predictive Analytics Network in Local Government (APAN). APAN provides a network for local government data analysts and other invited experts to discuss, share and consider the opportunities, benefits and risks of using advanced analysis and predictive analytics in local government settings. This is an interactive space where councils can share learning and support one another in a rapidly evolving area of innovation.

APAN is part of wider programme of work to help authorities make better use of data generally, that the LGA will be developing further this year.  It will include guides and case studies to help authorities learn from each other’s experience about what works well, and how to overcome challenges; and will include a set of resources to help councils improve their performance management.

Supporting financial resilience and economic recovery

COVID-19 has impacted heavily on council finances and local economies across the country. Our newly expanded financial resilience offer, Economic Growth Advisors programme and Economic Resilience programme provide councils with support to ensure effective financial resilience and economic recovery. Further support is available through our procurement and commissioning, behavioural insights and transformation offers, which provide councils with tools and resources to commission and buy services more efficiently and effectively and to achieve transformational change in ways that contribute to positive local outcomes.

Financial resilience

Our newly expanded financial resilience programme provides all councils with access to tools and support to achieve greater financial resilience, access to advice and guidance, alongside bespoke targeted support for those facing the most significant challenges. The offer includes:  

  • finance reviews (peer challenges), a specialist financial peer challenge, which involves working closely with  councils over an extended period to support them to improve their financial situation
  • bespoke targeted support, for those councils facing the most significant challenges. This is provided by experienced, financially qualified senior finance associates (FISAs) and includes support around financial strategy, planning and forecasting
  • formal learning opportunities, including online and through member peer support
  • Finance Leadership Essentials, a development opportunity and event for councillors, with a particular focus on COVID-19 financial issues
  • a new sounding board of Section 151 officers, providing councils with access to collaborative finance panels and best practice sharing events for member peers. 

The LGA also delivers good governance support, including:

  • support to audit committees to promote effectiveness and internal financial resilience, including Audit Leadership Essentials aimed at audit committee chairs
  • work undertaken with Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) and Public Sector Audit Appointments (PSAA) to provide development opportunities for audit chairs
  • funding toward the Centre for Governance and Scrutiny, which provides councils with support relating to evaluation and improvement of scrutiny (in particular scrutiny of financial issues) and relating to improvement of decision-making, governance and constitutional arrangements generally.

Councils interested in accessing any aspects of the above support should contact the principal adviser for their region. 

Further resources are available on LG Inform, which provides an up-to-date financial analysis report, and on LG Inform VfM, which provides a deep dive of comparative financial data. 

Economic growth and recovery

We also offer support to address the economic impacts of COVID-19 and achieve growth in local areas. The offer is designed to support councils in their leading role in rebuilding local economies by providing tools and support to facilitate sustainable growth and take advantage of new opportunities and trends in work and business practices. It includes the following two programmes:

  • Economic Growth Advisors programme, which provides access to economic growth advisors to support councils with COVID-19 recovery advice, guidance and support across a range of finance and economic issues
  • Economic Resilience programme, which provides councils with tools and resources to tackle unemployment; address skills shortages; respond to changes on the high street; provide support for SMEs; and use procurement and employment supply chains to restore and enhance local economies. It includes access to peer support, toolkits, good practice, roundtables and an economic growth hub (featuring FAQs, toolkits, 'how to' guides, Good Work charters, councillor handbooks, good practice and other publications on economic growth, jobs and skills).

Procurement and commissioning 

Our Procurement and Commissioning programme supports councils to build capacity to commission and buy goods, works and services more efficiently and effectively, in ways that contribute to local and whole public sector outcomes. This programme is shaped through consultation with the sector, including with regional groups and the National Advisory Group (NAG) on Procurement – representing a group of senior local government procurement professionals – convened by the LGA. It includes the following support:

In addition to the support outlined above, we will conduct a final benchmarking exercise for councils, against the National Procurement Strategy 2018, to inform capability requirements going forward.  We also act on behalf of local government to effectively manage strategic supplier relationships and co-design, publish and support councils to implement policy from central government, including procurement policies relating to recovery from the COVID-19 crisis, recovery and renewal and any new policies resulting from the UK’s exit from the EU.

Supporting council efficiency through behavioural insights and transformational change

Our behavioural insights and transformation support offer provide councils with sustained and coordinated support to build digital expertise and generate low-cost interventions that improve outcomes for local areas. This offer includes:

  • Behavioural Insights programme to support councils to implement positive change and improvement across a variety of service areas. The approach is based on the idea that interventions aimed at encouraging people to make better choices for themselves and society will be more successful if they are based on insights from behavioural science. We share learning from behavioural insights interventions, including Nudges for Social Good, the LGA’s behavioural insights podcast series, to ensure that all councils can benefit from that knowledge.
  • Digital Inclusion programme, which provides councils with access to digital experts who help to improve the skills of residents who lack the skills, confidence and/or infrastructure to access online technologies, including through the delivery of workshops and support provided through the digital inclusion network. This supports councils to assist residents with increased access to digital tools and solutions as means to improve life outcomes.
  • Digital Connectivity programme, which provides access to digital experts who support councils to innovate their connectivity offer to give their residents, local businesses and workforces better connections to meet the challenges of further reliance on the internet. We share the lessons learnt from projects undertaken as part of the programme to ensure all councils are able to benefit from this knowledge.  
  • A range of digital improvement resources including case studies which provides tools and support to ensure high standards of governance and local scrutiny. 

Supporting leadership, workforce and communication

Sector-led-improvement provides local government with key tools and resources to develop stronger leadership and workforce structures in order that councils build capacity and are better positioned to govern and deliver key services. Our leadership offer delivers the skills, experience and support councils need to address key issues and maintain effective leadership of place and community, during COVID-19 and beyond. We also manage national pay negotiations for the local government sector and provide councils with support to improve the efficiency and resilience of workforces, including workforce development and transformation support.

We support councils to communicate more effectively with the diversity of their residents by providing support, resources and challenge to improve communications skills, planning and strategy – including dedicated support for new councils and communications support for times of crisis.

Support councils to improve leadership capacity and leadership 

Our Leadership supports councils to address key issues facing local government and provide the skills, experience and support to reflect their needs as leaders of place and community. It develops leaders so that they are better able to navigate this complex environment and deliver the strategic, responsive and inclusive leadership that communities deserve.

Attracting and supporting new and diverse talent 

Local government is as vibrant, effective and relevant as the people working within it. We continue to support the sector to bring in new and diverse talent to enhance capacity within councils and so that councils reflect the communities they serve. Support offers include:

Councillor development 

We support councils to build greater leadership capacity by continuing to challenge and develop senior political leaders. Our political leadership programme for councillors supports councils to build greater leadership capacity by continuing to challenge and develop local politicians at all stages – from their selection to becoming a leader. The offer is wide-ranging, from portfolio-based sessions on areas such as finance, adult social care, cultural services, climate emergency, audit and planning, as well as how to be an effective cabinet member, housing, health and well-being, media and scrutiny training, chairing remote council meetings, mental health and resilience, risk management and digital transformation. The offer includes:

  • resources and training, including digital masterclasses and webinars on the live issues facing local government – in particular, to enhance skills for effective leadership during COVID-19 and a new suite of training and resources that underpin the sectors’ commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion
  • Next Generation programme, a programme developed within party political traditions and with party political experts to provide councillors a unique development opportunity to build personal and political leadership and communications skills
  • Leadership Academy, an Institute of Leadership and Management accredited development programme for councillors in leadership positions. Leadership Academy programmes take place over three months which consist of three 2-day modules and provide leaders a step change in leadership behaviours, strategies, skills and mindset
  • Leadership Essentials, involving a series of portfolio-based sessions across different areas 
  • a range of new elearning modules, equipping councillors with skills to tackle the live issues facing local government on a new easy to use elearning platform
  • a Political Skills Framework, available to all councillors, to help attract and identify resilient and adaptive politicians, with key skills to address COVID-19 and its consequences. Skills identified include positive engagement with communities, effective partnership working and communication, political understanding, scrutiny and challenge and monitoring and regulation
  • Leadership weekends for underrepresented groups in politics (councillors from Black, Asian and other minority ethnic backgrounds; women and young councillors), which provide leaders with opportunities to build networks and share learning and experiences. These offers are part of our Focus on Leadership offer, which also includes a programme on maintaining effective opposition
  • a new online Councillors Hub for newly elected members post local elections, which provides councillors with resources and support to navigate through the first 100 days of being a councillor and beyond.  

Officer development

We provide development opportunities for senior managers and chief executives across a geographically diverse range of councils to ensure resilient leadership across the sector.

Our offer is inclusive of and strongly encourages participation from officers from diverse backgrounds and includes leadership programmes and career coaching services that target aspiring leaders at head of service/director level from underrepresented groups. Our support includes:

  • IGNITE, a programme for chief executives to address individual and systems leadership challenges, where chief executives can build stronger relationships with peers and have greater understanding of their role as leaders, including during times of crisis.
  • Total Leadership programme, a programme for directors/senior executive leaders, which supports individuals to learn and apply key leadership skills, including the transformational leadership skills.
  • Springboard, a programme for heads of service/middle managers to harness and develop leadership skills so individuals are better equipped to lead and manage.
  • Leading Edge programme, which brings leaders and chief executives together and provides a space to focus on the most challenging issues facing local government today.
  • A 360˚ tool specifically for chief executives, which links to the appraisal process to support personal development. The tool collects online information from feedback from individually determined groups that may include members, partners and staff.

Support local government workforce development

Our workforce offer provides councils with tools and support to build skills, enhance capacity, address challenges, including issues relating to retention, recruitment and new ways of working, meeting workforce planning requirements. The support offer includes:

  • targeted workforce transformation and support, including bespoke support around workforce planning
  • new ways of working support, including guidance and resources to support wellbeing and the effective application of remote and hybrid ways of working 
  • tools and information to understand and provide a holistic approach to inclusive leadership, staff wellbeing and to improve resilience within the workforce
  • specialist HR advice as well as mediation and investigation support carried out as part of the JNC procedure 
  • provision of key workforce information, including FAQs, guides, workforce bulletins delivering guidance and information regarding key local government workforce developments
  • webinars, training and subject-specific support, including workforce training opportunities for officers and employment law information
  • Apprenticeship Support programme, which provides councils with support and advice to develop and enhance apprenticeship programmes.

In addition to the above, the LGA acts as the secretariat and officer function for National Employers in the various collective bargaining units within the local government and associated workforces. We progress negotiations covering the pay and core terms and conditions covering over 1.6 million local government workers as well as conducting national industrial relations engagement for chief officers, chief executives, teachers and an array of other collectively bargained groups.

Support to councils to improve communications 

The ability of councils to engage effectively with their communities has taken on heightened importance since COVID-19. Throughout the pandemic, councils have engaged with their communities at an unprecedented level and pace, which corresponded to enhanced levels trust and satisfaction with local government. Our communications offer supports councils to maintain that trust and build on the relationships and communications channels made stronger through this engagement. We also build on relationships with communications departments in central government, to help embed collaborative approaches for dealing with national and local priorities. 

COVID-19 and recovery and renewal will remain a focal point of the next year at least, alongside other challenges, including extreme winter weather and the UK’s exit from the EU. Our communications offer provides councils with tools and resources to communicate effectively with their communities for this road ahead. We support councils to demonstrate strong leadership of place, create compelling narratives and help communities find hope as councils begin to rebuild local economies. The offer includes the following:

  • Communications Health Checks (peer reviews), which are tailored to the strategic context to ensure the process best reflects the councils’ priorities and provides support as necessary. Possible areas of focus include recovery from COVID-19, crisis communications, place leadership, on communications strategy, structural issues and capacity and more. These peer reviews involve onsite engagement (circumstances permitting).
  • Communications support for all new councils, involving tools, resources and advice – helping to ensure all councils are able to effectively engage their residents. This includes an expanded combined authority network for communicators. Contact the principal adviser for your region for further information.
  • Webinars and events around key challenges for senior officers and councillors, with a focus on COVID-19 (see our events page for further details). There are also monthly webinars on the key strategic communications challenges facing local government and workshops facilitated by experienced member peers and associates.
  • Training and workshops for senior officers and councillors, covering themes including development of a corporate narrative, communications strategy and delivery of social media and/or media training. Training is led by experienced member peers and associates.
  • Communications bulletins, guidance, toolkits, and other resources, including good practice shared on the dedicated pages of the LGA website. To include arrange of support and online resources that address COVID-19, recovery and renewal, natural disasters (eg flooding) and other areas.

Supporting safer and more sustainable communities

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, councils have remained at the forefront of the response to the pandemic, while continuing to deliver key services that protect communities and individuals. The sector support offer provides councils with dedicated tools and support to respond to COVID-19, meet statutory duties, and to uphold further responsibilities as leaders of place – spanning areas including building safety, housing and homelessness, community cohesion and narrowing inequalities.

Alongside these options, the LGA’s climate change programme supports councils to respond more effectively to climate change, providing resources and tools that councils can use to achieve reductions in their greenhouse gas emissions and to transition toward a green recovery.

COVID-19 support 

Our COVID-19 offer provides councils with support to fulfil their role in managing the virus including: local outbreak management, test and trace, addressing variants of concern, non-financial and financial self-isolation support, vaccine roll-out, enforcement and compliance, support for clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) and shielding people. The offer provides:

  • communications covering key guidance and developments relating to COVID-19, including bulletins, events and webinars for leaders and chief executives
  • the exchange of information, guidance, COVID-19 related case studies and leadership and specialist sector workshops and webinars, including for officers in key service areas eg compliance and enforcement. These resources are available on our COVID-19: support for your role page, which provides information specifically targeted at councils in relation to COVID-19, including testing, contact tracing and outbreak management.

Support to meet statutory duties

We provide councils with a range of support to deliver on their statutory duties, including building safety, homelessness, community cohesion and inequalities – outlined below.  

Building safety 

We provide councillors with a range of learning and development opportunities to better ensure building safety, including through increased awareness and understanding of the new building safety and building control landscape (eg the Building Safety Bill). The offer includes councillor development opportunities and events (webinars and conferences), guidance and roundtables on building safety.

Our work in this area also involves collaborative work undertaken with central government bodies, including the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the Standing Committee on Structural Safety, Cabinet Office and MHCLG (to deliver key building safety initiatives, such as the implementation of Gateway One, roll out of the Waking Watch Fund, roll out of risk-based guidance under the Fire Safety Bill, the development with the HSE of a multi-disciplinary regulatory approach under the Building Safety Bill and cladding remediation).

Councils interested in accessing this support should contact the principal adviser for their region.

Homelessness 

Our varied homelessness programmes support councils to reduce levels of rough sleeping and homelessness by supporting residents into sustainable accommodation. The offer includes:

  • peer support and targeted projects for councils to deliver effective responses to homelessness and put in place support to vulnerable residents to prevent homelessness. 
  • mediation support to help councils manage the process of out of area placements, including through peer support where necessary.
  • projects focusing on homelessness, provided through the Housing Adviser Programme (see below for further details).

Councils interested in accessing this support should contact the principal adviser for their region. 

Community cohesion

We have a strong track record of supporting councils to respond to community cohesion challenges, including support to resolve community tensions and to prevent extremism. Our offer includes: 

  • support for councils in responding appropriately to new cohesion issues, such as the removal of statues as part of Black Lives Matter protests
  • support for councils in managing community tensions, preventing extremism, and improving community cohesion, through webinars, roundtables, events and other tools to share good practice and case studies
  • sharing lessons learned, including case studies, published on the Equalities, Diversity and Inclusion good practice page.

Councils interested in accessing this support should contact the principal adviser for their region.

Inequalities 

Councils have a critical role to play in reducing inequalities and enhancing inclusion and cohesion – within their communities and within local government more broadly.  Our support offer provides officers and members with access tools to achieve their equalities objectives and meet obligations outlined in the Equality Act 2010. Our Equalities, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Hub, brings together the range of support and resources we have on EDI, providing a central hub for officers and members including:

  • equalities peer support, including bespoke peer challenges, an equality framework for local government and for fire and rescue services and other bespoke support  
  • access to equalities centered leadership programmes, which offer learning and development opportunities for councillors and officers
  • workforce equalities, diversity and inclusion support, including advice and support relating to equalities, diversity, and inclusion in the workforce
  • equalities, diversity, and inclusion case studies, providing various examples of good practice from councils across the country
  • community cohesion, inclusion and equality support, which includes a range of resources on this subject area
  • an LG Inform report on cohesion and integration, developed in partnership with MHCLG, to help councils consider the cohesion and integration challenges in their community.

Our EDI programme for this year also involves work undertaken to understand the impact of COVID-19 on health inequalities and the impact of the pandemic restrictions on inequality. As part of this work, the LGA will explore what steps councils are taking to reduce those inequalities.

Councils interested in accessing this support should contact the principal adviser for their region.

Supporting councils as leaders of place

As leaders of place, councils are relied upon to create safe, sustainable areas for their communities, including access to housing and other environmental solutions. To support councils in this leadership role, the offer support across the below areas.

Housing Advisers Programme 

Our refreshed Housing Advisers Programme (HAP) provides councils–or groups of councils–with funding for bespoke expert support to help them deliver a project that helps meet the housing need of their local area. We continue to embed and share the learning from the Programme through the creation of networks of participating councils, case study development and events.

Climate change  

Achieving reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and increasing biodiversity will remain a core priority of councils for the foreseeable future. Councils have already begun urgent action to implement steps toward green recovery from COVID-19 and to combat the negative impacts of climate change and to deliver net zero carbon by 2050. Our climate change programme supports councils to respond more effectively to these challenges through the range of support outlined below.

Net Zero Innovation programme  

In collaboration with University College London (UCL), our Net Zero Innovation programme brings together local authorities, universities and other stakeholders to address climate challenges at the local level and seeks routes to support councils to achieve their net zero commitments. Within this framework we:

  • offers training to support councils and universities to work in partnership to help achieve the local carbon reduction goals
  • provides a ‘train the trainer’ model to extend the transfer of knowledge built through these partnerships to as many councils as possible
  • shares tools and good practice developed through projects funded through the programme to ensure learning is available to all English councils.

Greenhouse Gas Accounting Tool 

Our Greenhouse Gas Accounting Tool, developed collaboratively with Local Partnerships, provides councils with a mechanism to measure and compare their emissions with other councils. It is available to all councils in England and provides councils with:

  • a consistent approach toward measuring emissions, helping to provide consistent and easy calculation of an annual carbon baseline
  • the ability to measure emissions in specific council service areas, so that councils can understand the primary sources of their emissions, which can then be used to prioritise actions to reduce carbon emissions
  • By providing councils with widespread access to this tool, we support councils to identify where reductions are needed, meet emissions targets and achieve objectives relating to green recovery.

Other resources and development opportunities  

We provide a range of resources and learning options – primarily shared through our Climate Change Hub. This hub provides councils with a single platform to access our climate change tools and support, including:

  • training opportunities connected to the leadership offer, including Leadership Essentials courses
  • a series of webinars, podcasts and action learning sets, including on pathways to green recovery guidance
  • guidance and toolkits, including on sustainable procurement, pathways to Net Zero and biodiversity
  • case studies highlighting good council practice in the area of climate change and emissions reductions
  • Climate Emergency Knowledge Hub Group, which is open to councils who have declared a climate emergency or made any other type of commitment to reduce carbon and improve the environment
  • the LGA monthly Climate Change e-bulletin, which provides a round-up of best practice examples and the latest news for councils. You can sign up to receive the bulletin for free.  

Devolution and transformation 

Our devolution and transformation support involves applying learning from existing devolution deals, provision of support to councils on reorganisations (where appropriate) and continued support to mayoral combined authorities. As part of this offer, councils have access to:

  • combined authorities networks, including on communications, employment/skills, finance, HR, housing and planning, and scrutiny
  • support for new and returning mayors, provided through coaching, specific advice, peer mentoring and broader political training
  • a Devolution Hub, providing resources, case studies and a monthly bulletin. 

Councils interested in accessing this support should contact the principal adviser for their region.

Principal advisers

Principal advisers offer extensive experience of working at a senior level in local government and the wider local public sector. They specialise at a regional level and are the primary contact point for discussions with councils about their improvement needs and the support we can provide.

Principal advisers also have a key role in identifying good and innovative practice, which is fed back into the LGA to inform the wider improvement offer to the sector.

Please see below for the contact details for principal adviser contact details for each region.

North East, Yorkshire and the Humber, East Midlands 

Mark Edgell
Mobile: 07747 636910
Email: mark.edgell@local.gov.uk 

East of England 

Rachel Litherland
Mobile: 07795 076834
Email: rachel.litherland@local.gov.uk

London 

Kate Herbert
Mobile: 07867 632404
Email: kate.herbert@local.gov.uk 

South East (Berks, East Sussex, Surrey and Brighton and Hove) 

Mona Sehgal
Mobile: 07795 291006
Email: mona.sehgal@local.gov.uk

South East (Bucks, Hants and Isle of Wight, Kent, Oxfordshire, West Sussex) 

William Brooks
Mobile: 07949 054421
Email: william.brooks@local.gov.uk 

South West 

Paul Clarke
Mobile: 07899 965730
Email: paul.clarke@local.gov.uk 

West Midlands 

Helen Murray
Mobile: 07884 312235
Email: helen.murray@local.gov.uk 

North West 

Claire Hogan
Mobile: 07766 250347
Email: claire.hogan@local.gov.uk

Finance Support (all regions)

Alan Finch
Mobile: 07786 331467  
Email: alan.finch@local.gov.uk