How to become a Local Government Officer. Read through our comprehensive job guide to learn more about this career.
What does a local government officer do?
As a local government officer, you would be responsible for putting council policies into practice and making sure that local services are delivered effectively.
Your job might involve planning council services in a policy section, or delivering services in an operational department like education or housing. For example, job titles at this level could include best value officer, external funding officer, policy officer and democratic services officer.
Your day-to-day tasks would vary according to the department and your level of responsibility, but they may include:
- managing and evaluating projects
- writing reports and briefing papers
- dealing with enquiries and giving advice
- presenting information at meetings
- supervising administrative work and managing clerical staff
- keeping records
- drawing up and managing contracts
- liaising with other agencies
- managing budgets and funding.
In a full-time job you would work 35 to 37 hours a week, Monday to Friday. You may occasionally need to work extra hours to complete a project, or attend evening meetings. Part-time work may be available.
You would be based in an office that may be open to the public. You may need to travel within your local authority area to attend meetings or visit other council offices or sites.
How much does a local government officer earn?
Salary and pay information:
- Starting salaries can be between £19,000 and £23,000 a year, depending on the job.
- With experience this can rise to between £24,000 and £39,000.
Some local authorities have performance related pay schemes.
Figures are intended as a guideline only.
The skills and experience needed will vary depending on the job’s duties and level of responsibility, so you should check the entry requirements carefully for each post.
For some jobs, employers will ask for qualifications to degree standard, or equivalent work experience. Most councils value life experience and may accept you without the exact qualifications they have asked for, as long as you have enough relevant experience and the skills needed for the job.
If you have a good degree in any subject, you may be able to join many local authorities in England and Wales through the National Graduate Development Programme. Some other local authorities run their own graduate or management training schemes for new entrants.
- National Graduate Development Programme
You could also start in local government as an administrative assistant and work your way up to more senior roles. See the Local Government Administrative Assistant profile for more details.
Training and Development
Your local authority will provide induction training when you start your job. This would be followed by on-the-job training from experienced staff, plus any formal training courses that you might need. Some employers provide structured training schemes, such as the National Graduate Development Programme.
You may also be given the chance to study for a nationally-recognised qualification such as:
- Open University Level 3 Certificate in Democratic Services Practice
- professional qualifications from the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (ICSA)
- Certificate, Diploma and Advanced Diploma from the Institute of Administrative Management (IAM).
Alternatively, you could take qualifications related to your own department, for example in housing, personnel or public finance. If you want to progress into senior management, you may also find it useful to study for a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree.
Skills and Knowledge
- excellent written and spoken communication skills
- the ability to deal with people from a wide variety of backgrounds
- good negotiating skills
- good organisational skills
- a logical approach to solving problems
- accuracy and attention to detail
- the ability to analyse and interpret information
- mathematical skills, for working with statistics, invoices or budgets.
You could be employed in any local authority department, for example policy and funding, environmental health, housing, education or leisure. Many jobs are fixed-term contracts that depend on the funding available.
With experience, you could progress into management. You could also choose to move into other public sector areas such as the civil service, NHS or the voluntary sector.