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Local government principles and practice

This course explores the fascinating issues of local democracy, community, service delivery and leadership and their impacts on local governance. Immerse yourself in the key concepts and theories about local government and its rationale, purpose and key challenges. Understanding local government principles and practice is key to working effectively in this area. 

About this course

Local Government is a strategic player in the intergovernmental space and has the capacity through its authority, positioning and strategic planning to influence and drive community growth and change. Students completing this subject will build a strong foundation in the theory, history and practice of local government. You will read, debate and extend your understanding of fiscal federalism, decentralisation, multi-level governance and intergovernmental relations. The course focuses on the promises and difficulties that currently confront local government and through collaborative learning approaches, you will gain a greater understanding of the values, knowledge and skills needed to address these professional challenges.

Course structure

Do you need to work effectively in the ever-complex local government space? Firstly, you need to understand the fundamental principles and practice at play. This course explores the fundamentals, covering ‘the core of the core’ and posits local government as a strategic player in the intergovernmental space

You will learn to better understand local government’s authority, strategy and capacity to achieve better community outcomes.  Course materials range from why councils matter through to intergovernmental relations, engaging and delivering for the community and the future for local government.

This short course delivers the fundamental principles and practice needed to work effectively in the local government space. It shows how government and local government strategically intertwine, touching on the role of elected representatives and not-for-profits. Learn how democracy, public value, service delivery, reform and leadership are integral to healthy, productive local government outcomes

This course covers:

  • Why local government matters
  • Understanding government and local government
  • Understanding and engaging local communities
  • Democracy, public value, service delivery, reform and leadership
  • Multi-level governance and intergovernmental relations
  • Local government in the future.


Learning outcomes

By the end of this course you will have an understanding of:

  • Key theories relating to local government and the political and legislative framework
  • Current issues facing local government as a tier of government in Australia
  • Applying concepts relating to local government, democracy, service delivery, governance, management and reform to your own practice
  • Capacity building processes that would meet the needs of councils and their communities.


COVID-19 Information

UTS is undertaking a number of social distancing initiatives, as informed by NSW Health advice, to help reduce social interactions in support of the government’s efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19. As part of this response, some of our short courses may be postponed to a later date.

Please note however, bookings are open for all courses offered by the Institute for Public Policy and Governance (IPPG). If a course needs to be postponed, participants will have the chance to transfer to a later date, a new course or request a full refund. IPPG will also be offering a range of online or blended learning options facilitated via zoom video conferencing. If you have any questions in the interim, please do not hesitate to contact our team at

Who is this course for?

Professionals who want to effectively engage with governance, management and reform in the public sector.

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