Online Training on Local Government Finance for UNISON Stewards


The LGiU has been commissioned by UNISON to provide training on local government finance. Aimed at UNISON Stewards who work in local government these training courses will provide a good grounding and an opportunity to learn more about your local Council’s own finances.

If you are a UNISON steward or organiser working in local government and want to learn more about your Council’s finances then read on.

No prior knowledge of council finance is required

and all finance jargon, acronyms and terms will be explained.

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Morning training:

Morning workshops provide more time to discuss local government finance in more detail.

NB: Available to English regions only.

England: 26 April 2023: 9:30-12:30 – REGISTER HERE

England: 8 June 2023: 9:30-12:30 – REGISTER HERE

England: 13 September 2023: 9:30-12:30 – REGISTER HERE


Lunchtime training:

Lunchtime workshops are condensed versions of our morning workshops and are designed to provide a quick overview of how local government finance workshops.

NB: Owing to national differences in local government finance in Scotland and Wales stewards from either nation are advised to attend their respective workshops.


Wales: 26 October 2023: 12:15-13:45 – REGISTER HERE

England: 11 October 2023: 12:15-13:45 (New date added) –  REGISTER HERE

England: 22 November 2023: 12:15-13:45 – SOLD OUT

Scotland: 23 November 2023: 12:15-13:45 – REGISTER HERE 

An Introduction to Local Government Finance

The LGIU’s introductory online training on local government finance explains the basics and is designed to provide you, as stewards, with a thorough grounding in the key elements of local government finance and funding.

No previous experience is required.  All jargon explained.

By the end of the training, you will:

  • Understand the importance of good financial governance and the key role and responsibilities played by elected councillors.
  • Understand the overall national legal and policy framework affecting council finance and budgets.
  • Understand key concepts and terminology, such as capital and revenue, general fund and the Housing Revenue Account (HRA), reserves and balances.
  • Understand how local councils receive their funding.


UNISON Stewards from England, Scotland and Wales can attend any of the following lunch-and-learn workshops:


5 July 2023: 12:15-13:45

14 September 2023: 12:15-13:45

29 November 2023: 12:15-13:45

13 December 2023: 12:15-13:45



Want to learn at your leisure? Catch up on the basics and how to review the key 3 financial reports that councils produce each year watch our videos below.

Bite-size learning part 1: an introduction to local government finance 

Bite-size learning part 2: reviewing the big 3 financial reports

Part 2 Training: Local government finance

Lunch and learn workshop: Reviewing the Big 3 Financial Reports and Budget Setting

If you have attended the LGIU’s introductory training on local government finance or watched the LGIU’s bite-size learning on local government finance and reviewing the big 3 financial reports and want to know more about your local council’s finances then register for the LGIU’s lunchtime workshop that goes through both the key financial reports and budget setting.

The LGIU is running four lunchtime workshops that will help stewards and reps understand, interrogate and scrutinise the key financial reports that your Council produces each year including:

  • The Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) and Annual Budget
  • The latest budget monitoring report
  • The Statement of Accounts.

We will also touch on the political choices made when setting your Council’s annual budget and how UNISON stewards can influence the decision-making process including:

  • Appraise and evaluate how stewards can most effectively influence budget and spending decisions
  • The continued impacts of austerity, the pandemic and the cost of living crisis
  • Look at the financial planning and control processes at a typical local council
  • Look at the policy-making and budget-setting cycle.

The trainers

Ian Fifield, Ian is a CIPFA qualified accountant with over 20 years of experience in designing and delivering financial management training for local authorities and other public service organisations.

Alan Waters, Alan as an ex-councillor and former Leader of Norwich City Council until May 2023 has extensive experience in dealing with the practical political issues that face elected members around budgets. Alan has delivered a wide range of training and development programmes for the LGIU. He is a Member Peer with the Local Government Group and has been a trainer for the National Councillor Mentoring Programme.

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More online learning from LGIU

If you found our finance training helpful, dive into all of our most-popular training for build your own curriculum, councillors, and staff – all 2023 dates included.

LGIU can also provide in-house training tailored to your needs.  To find out more email [email protected]