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Local Government - Council Member Essentials

The Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries (DLGSC) has selected South Metropolitan TAFE as an approved training provider for the development and delivery of the Council Member Essentials course for elected members. 

Council Member Essentials is a five unit training program that local government council members are required to complete within 12 months of being elected. The purpose of the training is to provide practical information that will help you become familiar with the skills, knowledge and responsibilities of your role as a councillor. The course outlines information you will need to know about the way Local Government works in Western Australia under the Local Government Act 1995 and explains in simple terms important information to assist you in the performance of your duties as a councillor. 

Recommended completion pathway

  1. Understanding Local Government (pre-requisite)
  2. Serving on Council
  3. Meeting Procedures
  4. Conflicts of Interest
  5. Understanding Financial Reports and Budgets

On successful completion of each unit and assessment members will receive a Certificate of Completion. These results will be made available to the DLGSC for their records. 

Apply now(opens in a new tab)

We recommend you begin at unit 1: Understanding Local Government, but if you have completed this in prior study, you can begin with Serving on Council, or other units in the pathway to suit your progression. To begin, find links to apply in each section below.

The application process involves setting up a Student Portal login with a password. For help in applying see our direct applications user guide (1 MB) (PDF document - opens in a new tab) .

More information about our local government courses

The Understanding Local Government unit provides participants with:

  • An understanding of the composition, structure and operational functions of Government in Australia, and in particular Western Australian Local Government.
  • An overview of local government roles and functions in Western Australia
  • Explains how local government fits into the overall structure of government in Australia.

Course code and fees*

S0184P - $250.00
*fees are all inclusive of course materials, assessment and Certificate of Completion 

This course requires online self-paced study of 3 - 4 hours in total. You will have 3 months from date of enrolment to complete this unit.

Apply now(opens in a new tab)

The Serving on Council unit prepares council members with:

  • The knowledge and skills necessary to carry out their roles and responsibilities in accordance with the Local Government Act 1995.
  • The operation of local government processes and procedures
  • Concepts of governance
  • The relationship between councillors and council administration staff and the need for community leadership and ethical decision making.

Course code and fees*

S0185P - $440
*fees are all inclusive of course materials, assessment and Certificate of Completion 

This course requires online self-paced study of 3 - 4 hours in total. You will have 3 months from date of enrolment to complete this unit.

The Conflicts of Interest unit provides council members with:

  • Knowledge of how to identify potential and actual conflicts of interest and their obligations in relation to declaring interests.
  • Ethical behaviour, rules of conduct, codes of conduct and an understanding of the rules for the disclosure of gifts.
  • How a conflict of interest affects a council member’s roles and responsibilities.

Course code and fees*

S0113P - $250.00
*fees are all inclusive of course materials, assessment and Certificate of Completion

This course requires online self-paced study of 3 - 4 hours in total. You will have 3 months from date of enrolment to complete this unit.

The Meeting Procedures unit provides council members with:

  • The skills and knowledge required to actively participate in council and committee meetings.
  • Knowledge of meeting procedures and high-level debating skills used to guide council decision making.

Course code and fees*

S0112P  - $250.00
*fees are all inclusive of course materials, assessment and Certificate of Completion

This course requires online self-paced study of 3 - 4 hours in total. You will have 3 months from date of enrolment to complete this unit.

The Understanding Financial Reports and Budgets unit provides council members with:

  • The knowledge to review and interpret financial reports and budgets
  • An understanding of council’s responsibility in respect to the financial governance of the local government.
  • The linkage between Strategic Planning, Asset Management Planning and Long Term Financial Planning so participants gain an understanding of the benefits of undertaking financial forecasting and the impacts key decision making may have on the organisation’s financial health.

Course code and fees*

S0186P online  - $250.00

*fees are all inclusive of course materials, assessment and Certificate of Completion

This course requires online self-paced study of 7 - 8 hours in total. You will have 3 months from date of enrolment to complete this unit.