ILCA - Introduction to Local Council Administration
The Essential Knowledge
What is ILCA?
This level 2 online sector specific learning tool will support all new council officers in England and Wales in their roles in the first few months of employment, as well as those aspiring to go on and complete their level 3 CiLCA qualification. The aim of the course is to provide an introduction to the work of a local council, the clerk and its councillors.
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What will I learn?
The aim of the course is to provide an introduction to the work of a local council, its councillors and the clerk. The online programme can be studied in your own time whilst you find your feet in your new role. The course is in five sections based on the Occupational Standards established by the National Training Strategy in England.
1. The Core Roles establishes your place in local government and the duties and responsibilities of the council as a corporate body, individual councillors, the chairman and the clerk. It examines the role of the clerk more closely including the clerk as a researcher, administrator and manager. It stresses good communication skills and the use of information and communications technology.
2. Law and Procedures establishes the council’s legal framework including duties, powers and other statutory requirements. It introduces agendas, minutes, meeting procedures, and the value of standing orders, delegation and committee structures. We note election processes, the standards framework and the need to keep up to date with legislation.
3. Finance introduces the role of the Responsible Financial Officer and proper financial practices, accounts, financial procedures and accounting regulations. We consider budgeting, the precept, audits, insurance, income generation and the management of risk.
4. Management establishes the role of the council and its officers in planning, managing, funding and reviewing projects, services, assets and facilities. It provides guidance on managing staff, contracts and the performance of the council as a whole, stressing the need for on-going training and development.
5. Community is the heart of the matter. You identify community needs and plans; you engage with the planning system and get to know the community well. We introduce community representation, engagement, empowerment and support. We stress partnership working, public relations and raising the council's profile in the community.
How will I learn?
• The course has five modules. Each module contains several sections and pages of activities, questions and explanations.
• To gain a certificate and CPD points you must pass Activity one: revision exercise. You can have one attempt at each of two tests and pass a test with a score of 80%. If you need help, you can ask for clarification during Activity two.
• You are strongly advised to join Activity two: networking to share ideas, questions and experiences with others and to deepen your understanding of a module. You might attend a networking event organised by your local branch of the Society or join a webinar led by an experienced practitioner. There will also be a forum for written discussion on each module website. Check the ILCA web page for planned dates.
• Finally, you can complete Activity three: research and writing tasks. When completed, a practitioner checks your responses and confirms satisfactory completion. You may be asked to improve your submission if necessary. This activity is voluntary but useful if you intend to proceed to CiLCA, the Certificate of Local Council Administration.
How long will it take?
It can be studied intensively over a few days or perhaps by doing one module a week or fortnight; it's up to you. From the date when you purchase the course, you have access to the online course for twelve months. You are strongly advised to start studying as soon as you can and keep the momentum going by joining a networking event or webinar.
Whether you are a clerk, a councillor, or a council officer, we hope you will find this online course stimulating and informative as it is designed to develop your knowledge, your confidence and your skills for your work with a local council.
Here are just a few quotes from the SLCC training team and participants who have completed ILCA:
Lucy Marsh, SLCC Conference and Training Officer
Working with a local council in England and Wales really makes a difference in the community. Qualified and trained people are needed to carry out the challenging roles. A council of quality embraces learning and development among councillors and staff. Appropriate training provides a council with the necessary tools to be effective. Clerks and councillors should both understand the legal framework, how a council operates, how responsibilities are allocated and how to manage council activities and finances. The level 2 course is in five sections (core roles, law and procedures, finance, management and community) providing an introduction to the work of a local council, the clerk and its councillors.
Claire Benbow, Clerk to Grange-over-Sands Town Council
“I cannot speak highly enough of the ILCA course and have been recommending it. I started it as Deputy Town Clerk and then my boss the Town Clerk resigned suddenly and I was thrown in at the very deep end. I can honestly say that the course has been what has kept me going for the six months that I was Acting Town Clerk, and I have found the ILCA staff to be very supportive and friendly. Clerking can be a lonely job and it is really so good to be part of a wider network and know that everyone is suffering versions of the same problems! Studying ILCA has given me the confidence and authority to manage the work of the council – and I have just been promoted to Town Clerk!”
Vicky Mitchell, Clerk to Templeton Community Council
“I decided to study ILCA because I was a first time Clerk, with no formal legal training – my background is librarianship. I enjoyed finding out about the legal framework for a community or parish council’s work and activities, which, frankly, I would have found difficult to do without a course of this sort. I learned more than I thought I would, and it made me appreciate that there is a lot more to Clerking than doing an agenda, then taking and compiling minutes, as was suggested to me when I started. Now, about CILCA ...”
Sue Roberts, Clerk to Shinfield Parish Council
“ILCA proved to be the perfect stepping stone to the most rewarding part of my career so far. Around two years ago, following a management restructure in the unitary authority I was working for, I began to consider how I could build on my 25 years’ experience in local government and knowledge of community partnerships. I already had strong links with local town and parish councils, and soon felt that training to be a parish clerk was the route for me. During my subsequent notice period of redundancy, I joined the SLCC as an affiliate member and personally funded my ILCA training. Encouraged by my rapid progress, I thoroughly enjoyed the course and research required, and passed in just 3 weeks! Armed with new-found confidence and my ILCA certificate I looked for a suitable position, and was delighted to be appointed clerk to Shinfield Parish Council. Inspired by the role, by ILCA, and the opportunity for further study, I achieved my CiLCA twelve months later. I am indebted to the SLCC, particularly Lucy Marsh, for helping me to realise my ambitions and the quality aspirations of Shinfield Parish Council. ILCA is an excellent way of preparing you to become a clerk, and I would highly recommend it to anyone looking to enter the profession”.
Ashley Lamb, Clerk to Ideford Parish Council
“As the Clerk of a small rural Parish studying for the ILCA qualification has given me greater confidence to undertake the duties of a Proper Officer and Responsible Finance Officer and to support my Councillors in a more professional and well informed manner. The activities included in Part 2 and 3 of the course make the online studies more real and puts much of the law, procedure and theory into context. The webinars provided me with access to training, updates, information and the knowledge and experience of both the SLCC Trainers and of other Clerks. It gave me reassurance that I do know what I’m doing (some of the time), gave me ideas on where my Council and I could tighten up, do different or improve. Interacting with other Clerks during the Activity 2 webinars also gave me the sense of relief in that ‘I’m not the only one’ who has experienced some of the problems, issues or scenarios. While I learn something new each day and the law is frequently updated or amended I now feel more confident to ask questions, network with other Clerks or have a better understanding of what and who is available to help with many of the issues that I encounter”.
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Prices are £99 + VAT for members and all council officers of a council whose clerk is a member and £149 + VAT for non-members.
Small Councils - If your council has a precept under £40,000 (Wales) you may be entitled to a bursary. Click here to find out more.