A decade of success

In 2019, the Local Government Challenge celebrated its 10th anniversary and we intend to continue to make it bigger and better than ever in 2020, with a new range of exciting real-life challenges taking place across the country.

Kartar Singh


Back in 2009, in a darkened room somewhere in the backstreets of Westminster, a group of local government enthusiasts were bemoaning the quality of contestant in a well-known prime time reality show, hosted by a well-known member of the House of Lords.

“Local government people are so much better than that,” they declared. “they are ambitious yes, but they are also honourable and supportive and they deliver outstanding results. We should find a way to showcase that to the world!”

And so it came to pass, that with the support of colleagues in the media world, and a prize generously donated in memory of Sandy Bruce-Lockhart, former LGA Chairman and Leader of Kent County Council, the Local Government Challenge was born.

In 2019, the Local Government Challenge celebrated its 10th anniversary and we intend to continue to make it bigger and better than ever in 2020, with a new range of exciting real-life challenges taking place across the country.

Many of our past contestants have gone on to bigger and better things as a direct result of the experience and profile they gained from taking part in the Challenge. We recently launched the LG Challenge Alumni Year Book, both to track the careers of our past stars and to give new contestants the opportunity to expand their networks and further their own careers.

So if you have the drive and ambition to be a future leader in Local Government, or you would like to nominate one of your rising stars to take up the Challenge, we want to hear from you. 

Kartar Singh, 2018 winner

“Taking part in the Local Government Challenge was a fantastic experience that has helped me develop my career in Local Government. It was a privilege to work alongside some of the very best local government officers and to visit some amazing authorities across the country.

To be announced the winner of the 2018 LG Challenge was an incredible honour for me and my local authority and I look forward to developing my project further with the Bruce-Lockhart Scholarship.”

Emily McGuiness, 2016 contestant

On taking on a promotion - “This is a massive challenge for me and one that I wouldn’t have dreamt of even contemplating before completing the LG Challenge. There are not many more challenging scenarios than being CEO for a day or having 24 hours to design and present solutions so I am pretty confident that I can cope with whatever my new role throws at me”

Kate Henderson, 2017 contestant

“What can I say about the LG Challenge?  It was the most productive, enriching and enjoyable experiences I have undertaken. Whilst most development opportunities take place within the confines of a classroom, LG Challenge puts you at the heart of the action, in councils across the country.

The LG Challenge is a must for any local authority officer who is keen to push themselves by developing the necessary skills to ensure they continue to develop the highest standard of services and initiatives for their local authority and the residents they serve"

Dan Gooch, 2018 contestant

“The contacts I’ve made, the lessons I’ve learned and the fun I’ve had in the process has been beyond anything I could have imagined. The absolute intense sensation of the challenges makes the achievement of coming up with a great solution and presenting it within 24 hours absolutely amazing! I’ve had a great experience so far, but more importantly I’ve learnt that anything is possible if you believe in it”

Head judge Claire Holloway

“I say it every year but the quality of contestants just keeps getting better. I am frequently astounded at the quality of presentations and the depth of understanding of issues demonstrated by contestants after just 24 hours in a council – usually in an unfamiliar location and on a topic they know little about. It is one of the best parts of my job and a real honour to be a judge”.

Paul Carter, Kent County Council

Paul is one of the lead members of the Bruce-Lockhart scholarship

“Sandy Bruce-Lockhart was one of local government’s greatest advocates and he believed whole heartedly in nurturing and developing the wonderful talent within the sector. I am delighted to see these rising stars of local government putting themselves forward and moving into new and more demanding roles as a result of their involvement in the Local Government Challenge and with the support of the Bruce-Lockhart scholarship”.

Michael Barrett, Adviser - Leadership

"I have been managing the LG Challenge since 2019 and was really inspired by the contestants and the quality of the challenges that our hosts set them. The programme really is a unique development opportunity, giving high caliber officers the opportunity to enhance their own leadership skills and think creatively, often in situations outside of their comfort zone. I can’t wait to see how the programme continues to grow in future years."

Helen Jenkins, Head of Leadership

"I oversee a number of development programmes and I promise you, there is nothing quite like LG Challenge.  The opportunity to learn and understand the sector through fast-paced, high-pressured, time-limited challenges is as rewarding and fulfilling, as it is stretching.  LG Challenge gives contestants the chance to develop their leadership skills in new environments.  It’s really exciting!"