NewOverview of Local Government Finance

Local government is big. In England there are 443 principal councils spending well over £100 billion a year. There are about 2 million local government employees in a wide range of  services including teachers, police officers, fire fighters, social workers, librarians, planners, engineers and many more. Many more people work in organisations that supply goods and services to local government.

This is a course that helps you understand how all of the work done by local government is financed from taxes and other sources of income; and how that money is spent in a controlled and accountable way.

The course will use a mixture of theory and real-life stories to make what can be overly-technical material more accessible and understandable.

Local Government Finance is an online course within our Financial Management & Commercial Skills series. At the Civil Service College, we tailor our courses to each attendee’s role and organisations, ensuring that each delegate gets the most out of the training. Our courses and trainers are continuously updated and evaluated to ensure that we are always delivering the best service possible.

Key Features

Who Can Attend

Learning Outcomes

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Key Features

The course is structured in four parts: funding, budgeting, accounting and controlling. The contents of each part is outlined below:


  • Sources of funding for local authorities
  • The implications of recent changes in the balance of funding
  • Problems and alternatives


  • Why does budgeting matter so much?
  • Key steps in the annual process
  • Alternative methods of budgeting


  • Fundamental accounting concepts for local government
  • What the financial statements tell you and don’t tell you
  • How the financial statements differ from the private sector


  • What happens after the budget is approved?
  • Organising the finance function
  • Principles of internal control
  • Achieving value for money

Who can attend?

This training is for anyone with an interest in local government finance but it is especially useful for elected councillors and for officers who have recently joined local government (at any level).

The course is grounded in the system of funding for local government in England. Whilst of general  application to local government in Scotland and Wales, the details of local government funding is different in those devolved administrations.

Learning Outcomes

After completing the course, delegates will be able to:

  • Describe how local government is financed
  • Explain the strengths and weaknesses of the current system
  • Take part in the budget process with a better understanding of its goals
  • Recognise important accounting terms in context
  • Interpret a council’s published financial statements
  • Apply the principles of value for money to any decisions you make.

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10:00 - 16:00


£495 + VAT


MS Teams or Zoom

Lead Trainer

Gary Bandy

Gary Bandy

Gary Bandy is a Chartered Public Finance Accountant with over 30 years' experience of public financial management.

Read Bio
Gary Bandy

Gary Bandy

Gary Bandy is a Chartered Public Finance Accountant with over 30 years' experience of public financial management. He has been an independent consultant since 2005 and has taught public financial management at several universities in the UK as well as sharing his expertise with public servants from many countries including Sri Lanka, Maldives, South Sudan, Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Rwanda, South Africa, China and Kazakhstan.

In 2017 he authored a MOOC (massive open online course) about managing public money for the UK’s Open University. He has built on that experience to create a number of online courses about various aspects of public financial management.

Gary is also a successful author. His first book, Financial Management and Accounting in the Public Sector, was described as “an innovative and wonderful addition to the literature of public sector management.” His latest book, International Public Financial Management: Essentials of Public Sector Accounting was jointly published by Routledge and CIPFA in 2019.

Tailored in-house training

Civil Service College can deliver In-House training within your organisation that is exactly tailored to meet your individual training requirements.

Book a course

Call 020 8069 9000 to take your booking or for advice on choosing the right course for you.

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