England & Wales

Seminar: Demystifying Local Government Finance & Governance: A seminar for private sector suppliers and partners



Local councils work with a wide variety of private sector suppliers and partners to deliver essential public services to their communities. However, the way that councils are governed and controlled, how decisions are made and where the finance comes from is very different from the private sector. Therefore, a solid understanding of such matters is essential for any private sector organisation seeking to do business in the local government marketplace.

This seminar is specifically designed to highlight key issues and information that potential private sector partners must understand to effectively win and retain contracts within local councils.

By the end of the course, participants will be able to:

  • Understand how local government is organised, and the role of elected members.
  • Understand how budgets are formulated and agreed and key sources of funding for local government.
  • Use and interpret key financial documents
  • Appreciate what local councils require from private sector partners and suppliers.





9:30-10:00 Registration & Refreshments
10.00–10.15 Welcome, Introductions and Objective Setting
10.15–11.15 Governance and Decision Making in Local Government

  • The Council, Mayoral, Cabinet and Committee system explained
  • How decisions are made
  • Ethical and governance considerations
11.15–11.30 Refreshments
11.30–12.45 How the budget is calculated and agreed

  • Legal requirements
  • Fund accounting explained
  • Where the money comes from and why there is never enough
  • The budget setting process
12.45–13.30 Lunch
13.30–14.45 Key Documents – Case Study

  • Committee reports explained – including the annual budget report
  • The Published Financial Statements interpreted
14.45–15.00 Refreshments
15.00–15.45 What local government requires from its partners

  • Types of partnership arrangements
  • Best Value and Social Value
15.45–16.00 Final Question and Answer Session
16.00 Seminar Evaluation and Close




Ian Fifield, Ian is a CIPFA qualified accountant with over 20 years’ experience in designing and delivering financial management training for local authorities and other public service organisations. Ian’s training experience includes: designing training seminars for finance professionals, service managers and elected members. He has co-authored the Centre for Public Scrutiny publications On the Money, considering effective financial and budget scrutiny methods and also Treasure Your Assets, considering local government invest and borrowing activities. Alan Waters (Cllr), Leader of the Council, Norwich City Council and Learning and Development Manager, LGIU. Alan has extensive experience in dealing with the practical political issues and service delivery choices that face councils and elected members at a time of deep funding cuts in local authority budgets. Alan delivers a wide range of training and development programmes for the LGIU. He is a Member Peer with the Local Government Association and a board member of the Journal ‘Local Economy’.
Who should attend?
This seminar will be relevant to any private sector organisation, from sole trader to multinational, wanting to understand how better to engage with local authorities and what local government wants from businesses.