Councils learning from Councils*

Have ever you wondered what information, ideas and inspiration are shared among Local Government Areas? Or considered why council employees are so open to learning from their peers or how knowledge from one council can take on its own life within another?

New research from the Australian Centre of Excellence for Local Government (ACELG) and the University of Technology, Sydney Centre for Local Government (CLG) has sought to answer such questions in a new study called ‘Councils learning from each other: An Australian case study’.

The research provides insight into how councils learn from each other and exchange knowledge, comprising a literature review, case studies and interview data with local government professionals and CLG graduate
program participants.

Research data is presented in a format useful for managers, learning and development programs and the sector as a whole.

Recommendations from the study include: incorporating inter-council learning as a learning and development strategy within councils; developing organisational cultures that promote openness, collaboration and reciprocity; involving other councils in governance networks, including shared services; and initiating inter-council mentoring and other forms of joint training.

A key point from the research is that much shared learning is based on informal contacts and professional networks.

Further research can explore how inter-council learning can foster continuing and innovative learning and development to enhance organisational performance.

The study is part of ACELG’s ‘Learning in Local Government’ initiative to support education and training in the sector.

The report can be downloaded from

*Copy supplied by ACELG