Councils learning from each other

Councils learning from each other
02 April 2015

ACELG has released new research about local councils learning from each other. Variously called inter-council learning, policy transfer or peer learning, this approach to professional learning is important in a rapidly changing local government sector, and as councils increasingly look to each other for solutions to common issues and challenges.

The research report, Councils learning from each other: An Australian case study, comprises a literature review and unique research data from interviews with local government professionals, including UTS:CLG local government leadership post-graduate participants. It explores motivations for, and facilitators and barriers of, inter-council learning. The study identifies how information, ideas and inspiration is accessed from peers and then taken further and embedded within their own organisations.

The 'Councils learning from each other' study continues the support and focus by ACELG on education and training in the Australian local government sector and forms part of the Centre's 'Learning in Local Government' project.

The report suggests a number of recommendations to build further capacity in the sector about inter council learning, such as:

  • Incorporating inter-council or peer learning as an explicit element of learning and development for staff within individual councils 
  • Continue with initiatives that develop an organisational culture that promotes openness, collaboration and reciprocity
  • Include other councils in governance networks, including through shared services
  • Initiate inter-council mentoring and other forms of joint training
  • Further acknowledge that most shared learning is based on informal personal networks.

Further research is planned by ACELG to better understand the mechanisms of inter-council learning and the means by which it might be employed in the Australian local government sector to promote continuing learning and capacity development.


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