Why local government?

Education. Environmental health. Housing. Economic development. Fire and rescue. Policing. Social care. Community safety. Culture.

Charlie, based in London 

I was definitely one of those people that thought the council was just there to sort out bins and maybe issue parking fines. I can now see that the council is involved in everything across the community, from health to housing, to supporting children in their education. There's a whole lot more behind council doors that you can get involved in on the programme."

These are just a few examples of the essential services provided by local councils. Councils are the backbone of our country, affecting all of our lives on a daily basis – whether we realise it or not – and supporting the most vulnerable members of our communities in ways that transform their quality of life. The economic, social and environmental wellbeing of their area also falls within council remits.

The NGDP partners with over 50 local councils every year, all of whom have their own distinctive cultures and ways of working – this is one of the great strengths of the sector. Much of the distinct ethos in each council is based on the vitally important role of local councillors (elected members), who provide the democratic link between council services and the communities they serve.

Olivia, based in Doncaster

Personally I applied because I wanted to work for an organisation that gave back to the community. It just so happens that I actually work for the community that I was brought up in myself so it’s really fantastic that I’m able to give back to that.”

There are over 600 occupational groups in local government working in a wide range of service areas, including social workers and environmental health officers, architects and lawyers, cleaners and caterers. No other sector of the national economy has such a wide range of occupations.

Around 1.7 million people are employed by local government employees in England and Wales, and often councils are the largest employer in their local area. Adding to this, there are more than 20,000 democratically elected councillors.

The local government workforce has to deliver services on a very tight budget, and the way council money is spent is closely accounted for and held up for public scrutiny. Local government in England and Wales is funded by grants from central government (about 48 per cent), business rates (charged to local companies – about 25 per cent) and council tax (charged to local people – also about 25 per cent). The rest comes from sources such as car parks, parking permits, the hire of sports facilities and other commercial endeavours.

Communities are evolving and there is now an even greater need to engage with and provide tailored services for an increasingly diverse population. This work encompasses a wide range of areas and issues, including: children and young people; the environment; health and social care; housing; leisure; and community safety. Every day is challenging, and every day is rewarding.

Councils are looking forward to welcoming skilled, experienced and resourceful employees who will embrace and effect change. You can expect to share information and liaise with many different groups – from consulting with local residents to working in partnership with other organisations. Councils have shown that they have a strong commitment to diversity and as a new employee you will be able to develop your career and be supported in an ever changing and exciting environment.