If you have a passion for the well-being of your community, a desire to work with people, and fantastic organizational skills, you may want to consider a career as a local government officer.
What do local government officers do?
Local government officers make sure government services are delivered effectively and help citizens work with the government. The day-to-day tasks vary quite a bit depending on the position. For example, one government officer may develop policy while another works to deliver educational services. In general, though, tasks may include:
- Proposing policy changes and making presentations to support them
- Analyzing data and preparing reports
- Fielding inquiries and requests from members of the community
- Negotiating purchases and contracts
- Developing and working within a budget
- Managing clerical staff or other government workers
- Keeping detailed records
- Working with other government agencies and community groups
- Managing special projects
Where and when do local government officers work?
- Most local government officers work in an office, although they may sometimes attend meetings or other community functions outside of the office.
- They typically work 35-37 hours per week, Monday through Friday. However, overtime and/or evening and weekend work may be necessary due to special projects or community events.
What do local government officers earn?
Salaries can vary widely depending on the location and level of the position as well as the nature of the responsibilities.
What skills do local government officers need?
- A desire to help people
- Strong people skills
- Tact and diplomacy
- Oral and written communication skills
- Planning and organizational skills
- Problem-solving skills
- Negotiating skills
- The ability to work both alone and as part of a team
- Analytical skills
- Math skills
- Attention to detail
What education and training are required?
Entry requirements vary by position – an engineer, for instance, will need different training than a social worker – but most local governments are looking for people with the following qualifications and experience:
- A degree/HND in business, politics, government administration, social policy, economics, or law (although its not uncommon to enter government service with no degree)
- Customer service experience
- Knowledge of how local governments work
- Four GSCEs or the equivalent
- Any discipline-specific training
Many graduates enter government service through the National Graduate Development Programme (NGDP). The NGDP chooses about 80 graduates each year to enter this training programme, in which theyre placed with a variety of government agencies and given the opportunity to work in a variety of roles. The scheme lasts for two years.
In addition, many local governments run their own in-house training programmes. Some also encourage employees to pursue certifications from relevant associations, such as the Association of Democratic Services Officers (ADSO), the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (ICSA) and the Institute of Administrative Management (IAM). Certifications include:
- ADSO Certificate in Democratic Services Practice
- ADSO Diploma in Local Democracy
- ICSA validated MA in Corporate Governance
- IAM Level 4 Certificate in Business and Administrative Management
- IAM Level 5 Diploma in Business and Administrative Management
If youre committed to making your community a better place, enjoy working with and helping people, and possess fantastic organizational skills, a career as a local government officer could be just what youre looking for.