How Local Councils Work

Ref: C3675659

Local Government has existed in this country since Anglo-Saxon times and, despite the Normans and their Feudal system, modern Councils still have things in common with the original Saxon approach. The 19th Century saw powerful Councils run by Aldermen and Burgers but only slowly developing democratic control. The 20th Century saw many attempts to find the 'ideal' way of running Councils and big changes back and forth from different ideals. Modern times see much leaner and possibly less powerful Councils struggling to make ends meet. How they make decisions is sometimes not clear, this course aims to change that for you. Find out what your local Council does and - More importantly - How you can affect their decisions! It's not just about the Ballot Box any more.

Course aim

Local Councils can seem daunting and difficult to deal with yet are a huge part of our lives locally. This course will help you find out how your Council makes decisions and, importantly, will give you the basics on how to affect those decisions.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is for beginners

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Understand what my local Council is and what it does by law and by choice.
  • Understand the basics of Council services, who delivers them and why it is so complicated.
  • Understand how I can talk to my Council, in theory and practice.
  • Understand how to create a petition, Ask the Council a question, Challenge decisions and Complain

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning
  • You may be asked to undertake additional work in your own time to support your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor

What else do I need to know?

  • Materials for note taking will be useful.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider
  • Be an Active Citizen within my Council area

Download full course information sheet

How Local Councils Work

Is this course right for me? Request more information

This course has been cancelled.


As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you book. Please could we ask that you check the list below to ensure you meet our basic criteria:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2018
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

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