Backgrounders - introductory guides to key local government topics in England

Local government does a lot. Of course it does, councils are involved in almost every aspect of the places we live and the services we receive.

Sometimes you just need a crash course in how it all works – either because you are fairly new to it or you need a bit of a refresher. To help you work out what’s what we have put together these subject guides; we’re calling them ‘backgrounders’ and they provide the low-down on several local government topic areas.

Backgrounder: Adult social care

We cover some of the main issues in adult social care, including care arranged through a council, integration with the NHS, and pay particular attention topics that may be raised by local people seeking advice from their councillor. Read this backgrounder.

Backgrounder: Climate change and biodiversity

This guide focuses on the role of local authorities in tackling the climate emergency and highlights three key areas of climate action. Read the backgrounder.

Backgrounder: Children's services

This guide provides an overview of children’s services and how the councillor role overlaps. Read the backgrounder.

Backgrounder: Local government finance in England

This backgrounder is designed to provide newly-elected councillors with a short, non-technical introduction to the main features of local government finance in England, but should also be useful to others new to local government or wanting to find out more about finance. Read this backgrounder.

Backgrounder: The planning system

We introduce the planning process, common terms and phrases, explore current issues within the planning system and set out imminent changes to the planning process. Read this backgrounder.

Backgrounder: Housing

This backgrounder provides a detailed introduction to local authority housing issues; key topics covered include homelessness, house building and renting. Read this backgrounder.

Backgrounder: Cultural services

Cultural services are highly valued by communities, this backgrounder gets you up to speed on the local government perspective.

Read this backgrounder.