LG Challenge FAQs


What is the application process for LG Challenge?

The application process is simple and all we require from you is:

- Your application form stating why you want to be a contestant on the programme, and outlining how you meet one of the programme competencies.
- A two minute video of yourself on something you are passionate about.

There are no additional stages for you to complete beyond this point.

All applications will be assessed across a number of the key competencies and the final decision will be made by our senior panel of LGA staff. By November, all 10 contestants will be selected and announced on our website.

What is the purpose of submitting a video for LG Challenge?

Rather than asking for candidates to attend a face to face assessment session, we hope that taking some time to film a short video presentation in the comfort of your own surroundings will enable candidates from all over England and Wales to feel empowered to apply to the programme. We want to ensure that the programme is open to all, and the video element of the application creates a level playing field to save candidates needing to take the time to travel to an assessment in person. We ask that the video is not focused on your local government work as this helps level the playing field and open the opportunity up to all officers of varying types of experience and length of service. 

The video helps us assess passion, drive, ambition, ‘can do’ and proactive attitude, creativity and an appetite to continually learn and develop. It allows our candidates the time to think through their response, making sure they’re saying what they mean and giving the best answer possible.

As a competition, filming of the LG Challenge provides an element of competitive fun amongst contestants and a unique way to reflect on learning and development - we start this element in the application process. For many applicants it’s the first time they have ever made a video or spoken to a camera, so there is an opportunity to gain some learning from the application stage itself. 

Your video can be about anything and we ask that it is not focused on your local government work - although we understand that there may be links to the ethos of the public sector. We are often the best version of ourselves when we are talking about something we are passionate about, and we want to see you as comfortable as possible. Please feel free to be creative and take your shots in a few different locations, or include photos as well (as long as it fits in two minutes). It can be about absolutely anything from any interest, hobby, to the conceptual and obscure. We’ve had a huge variety over the years!

Do you make adjustments to the selection process?

We make adjustments throughout the selection process based on individual requests to ensure that everybody has an equal opportunity to apply. If selected, the LG Challenge team ensures that all reasonable adjustments are accommodated by the host authorities. We encourage all applicants to let us know about adjustments as early as possible. If you encounter any issues with our online application form and the video, please do not hesitate to contact LGChallenge@local.gov.uk who will ensure that your needs are addressed in order for you to apply.

On the programme

What kind of challenges and topics will I encounter?

To enhance the contestants’ experience, the LG Challenge team assesses bids from host councils to ensure that the challenges reflect the current local government climate and will test the knowledge and skills of the contestants. The challenges cover a range of different policy areas and is different every year but could include:

- a front-line service challenge
- a financial challenge
- a media/communications challenge
- a community engagement challenge
- an innovation challenge.

Challenges can be on any topic at all such as educational reform, the development of a new airport, organisational restructuring, creating a new park, planning and housing, adult social care. We have even been hosted by a Fire Authority and a Government Department.

The tasks themselves will differ across the programme and contestants could be asked to come up with anything from an action plan, to marketing campaign, bid proposal, or a strategy linked to a chosen service area.

What can I expect to achieve over the course of the six months?

Aimed to develop the leadership potential of all contestants, you can expect to develop in a number of key areas required to become a successful local government leader. As well as developing in a number of key competencies, the overall anticipated outcomes will be:

Broadening your knowledge: by working on service areas you are not exposed to in your daily role, you will gain a holistic view of local government.

Development of your leadership skills: contestants will have developed their ability to inspire and motivate others and an ability to carefully select the right approach to complex issues.

Giving back to local communities: offering valuable consultancy to five different councils, you will have offered solutions to residents which demonstrate tangible outcomes.

Broadening your network and raising your profile: you will leave the programme with a strong network of council and LGA officers of all levels to tap into as you continue your local government leadership development.

What am I competing for?

Whilst predominantly a learning and development programme, there is a strong element of competition too. As such, all contestants will be competing for the £10,000 Bruce-Lockhart scholarship which the winning contestant will use to implement their own project in their council and community within one year of being prized the winner. Taking part therefore provides a unique opportunity to turn an idea you are passionate about into action.

How will I be assessed?

Throughout the challenges, you will be marked by team observers against the following set of criteria:

- innovation & problem solving
- political awareness
- ability to inspire & motivate others
- business acumen
- communication
- working collaboratively.

Scores will be allocated based on the contestants’ demonstration of these skills (including demonstrating an improvement) over the duration of the competition. The contestants with the highest scores at the end of the challenge stage will progress to the final (please see paragraphs 18 – 21 below). The scores will then be reset to zero and the finalists will be assessed by a judging panel on their performance in the final.

Who can I expect to meet during my time on the programme?

At each challenge you will usually meet the chief executive, leader or portfolio holder and a range of colleagues beyond the senior team, not to mention local partners, community groups, and residents. You will meet LGA officers and members of all levels and across different teams. At the LGA Annual Conference, you will meet the high profile delegates in attendance.

You can expect to develop budding relationships with fellow contestants from across the country, in different types of councils, with different experiences and from different backgrounds. Whilst a professional development experience, it is also designed to be fun and sociable!

Logistics and organisation 

Who is responsible for organising the challenges?

The Local Government Association (LGA) manages the project and is responsible for organising the challenges. LGA colleagues from different departments come together to form the LG Challenge team which is responsible for organising challenges with the partner councils.

Are there any costs involved?

The LGA is responsible for covering all travel and accommodation costs for the challenges. All travel arrangements via public transport, accommodation and meals are arranged by the LG Challenge project team. Depending on your location, some challenges might require you to travel the day before the challenge begins and when this happens, we will cover the additional pre-night’s stay.