NGDP application

Application timeline

Stages of the application process

Applications will close at 12pm on Wednesday 4 January 2023.

Key skills and behaviours

The NGDP’s application process has been designed to measure the following key skills and behaviours. These are not conditional on your prior work or life experience, but they will show you what it’s like to work in a local council.

  1. Working with others
    The ability to operate effectively with others that demonstrates an understanding of diversity, political sensitivity, and emotional intelligence. To be able to bring people together in order to achieve the benefits of change meeting customer/stakeholder expectations on time and within cost constraints.
  2. Persuasive communication
    The ability to communicate persuasively with confidence both orally and in writing demonstrating the ability to influence and appropriately chose the right style of communication to fit the audience.
  3. Planning and organisation
    The ability to manage time and prioritise work effectively to achieve objectives and deliver outcomes focusing on the relevant key drivers for change.
  4. Drive for results
    The ability to act on own initiative and take responsibility for decisions to achieve results. This is demonstrated with a tenacity to pursue of goals and challenge the status quo to bring about change.
  5. Analysis and problem solving
    The ability to identify, analyse and interpret relevant information from a range of sources to solve complex people/community centric problems and develop well-informed solutions.
  6. Motivation for learning and personal resilience
    The ability to proactively seek out opportunities for personal learning and development; the mental resilience to cope with change and then combine the two to learn from all experiences and apply knowledge / skills to better effect.
  7. Commitment to local government and the wider community
    The ability to understand the needs of a local community in the current policy context and the leadership role local government has through local democracy, community engagement, commissioning, partnerships, and direct interventions.
  8. Leadership potential
    The ability to demonstrate an understanding of the key aspects of transformational leadership and how this is applied in current context of leading local government through times of unprecedented change.
Practice tests

The first stage of the process requires you to sit an online test designed specifically for the NGDP - a situational judgement test (SJT) - created to examine your response to realistic workplace situations and your understanding of the NGDP’s key skills and behaviours. It has been developed in partnership with managers in councils and graduates on our programme to provide the right level of difficulty, and to give you an insight into what you may experience on the programme. The best way to prepare is to review our key skills and behaviours, and to practice, so we recommend you review our sample SJT questions

Hints and tips

We want to take the guesswork out of assessment. The NGDP is all about finding graduates with the right balance of our key skills and behaviours, which you’ll find listed on this page. This might still feel like a bit of a mystery to you, so here are our top tips for the assessment process:

  • Read up on local government so you understand what working in the sector might be like: what kind of areas are councils working in, and what issues are they facing.
  • Check out our Why local government? page for more information and some helpful links, but something as simple as looking on your own local council’s website and reading some local news are a great start.
  • Practice as much as you can! Sceptical about assessment centres, or uncertain of what they involve? See what last year’s candidates told us about their experience.
  • The final step is interviewing with local councils, and we'll provide guidance around this too.
  • If you are a current student, don’t hesitate to contact your careers service for any additional training sessions they might be delivering.
  • If you’ve had extra time to complete assessments at university, you have a disability, or you feel that you would benefit from additional support in our assessment process, please get in touch with us before you complete any of your assessments. Our team will arrange a confidential conversation with you and make recommendations on this basis. No information is passed on to local authorities without your consent, and requesting or being granted any more of assistance will not disadvantage your application at all. We are not able to apply any retroactive support or consideration, so please get in touch from the start!

The NGDP will be participating in several virtual university careers fairs this autumn. You can view the NGDP events list or contact your careers service to find out if we are coming to you.

Virtual Workshops

The NGDP are delivering a set of virtual workshops during Autumn 2021 to equip candidates for their application process. You can find a link to join the virtual workshops under our Events page and recordings from the events will be made available below. 


Still have questions? We’ve got a guide to our frequently asked questions here. If your query is still unresolved, send a message to or drop us a tweet @ngdp_LGA.