Thank you for stepping up on behalf of your community and offering your time, skills and support to the town or village where you live.   A local councillor has a number of duties, roles and responsibilities and has lots of opportunities to make a difference.   We believe all councillors should plan to learn about the different aspects of this important role to complement what you already have to offer.  By fully understanding how a local council works in practice, you will be able to get involved and contribute to the effectiveness of your council and deliver successful outcomes for your community.    

Local councils are structured, resourced and financed based on the needs of their local community, influenced by a number of factors. Our councillor training framework utilises numerous resources and events to help all councils regardless of their size. 

Councillor - first year

What you need to know and why 

Local councils are governed by an important regulatory framework providing powers, duties and obligations.    It is important for new councillors to have the knowledge and understanding to ensure accountability and lawful decision-making.

How to achieve this 

Our suggested year one pathway is designed to allow for a flexible but focussed plan to make the best use of resources that are available.  This includes SALC knowledge, national guidance and publications, training and networking such as the SALC area forums which provides an opportunity to connect with others in the same role.


within the
first 3 to 6 

What an induction pack might include:

  • Contact details of councillors and the clerk/officers (during their working hours)

  • Core documents, such as  standing orders, financial regulations, the budget, Code of Conduct

  • Details of future meetings and committees (if relevant) and minutes of recent meetings

  • Link to the council website

  • The Good Councillor Guide (available from SALC in electronic format via the member portal)


Below are further activities we suggest could also form part of your first year in office.  It is also our recommendation that all new councillors attend Code of Conduct training and finance for Councillors workshops. 

6 to 12 


Consider attending:

  • SALC Code of Conduct workshop 

  • Finance for Councillors workshop (bookable through the member portal by the clerk, fee payable)

  • E-learning (fee payable):                          Introduction to Local Councils                              Understanding precepts                                  Introduction to planning                                                          


Councillor - year two onwards

At this stage you may want to grow your knowledge in specific areas, which may depend on the size of your council and whether, for example, you have been appointed to a specific committee or project.


                    FURTHER TRAINING

                    • Managing information
                      GDPR for councillors workshop                  Freedom of Information workshop

                    • Finance
                      VAT for VAT registered councils
                      VAT partial exemption
                      VAT for unregistered councils
                      Internal Controls

                    • Leadership
                      Attend SALC leadership training

                    • Managing people
                      Policies and procedures
                      Grievance and disciplinary

                    • Safeguarding
                      Available through Community Action Suffolk - link to website

                    • E-learning
                      Diversity, Equality and Inclusion
                      Health and Safety
                      Mental Health
                      Information security
                      Modern slavery
                      Customer services
                      Anti-money laundering
                      Environmental awareness

                    SUFFOLK NETWORKING

                    NATIONAL NETWORKING

                    Find out about a wide range of NALC networks using this link, which include:

                    • climate emergency

                    • coastal communities

                    • LGBT+ councillors

                    • super councillors

                    • women councillors

                    • young councillors