Donna at the LGA

The NGDP has given me the opportunity to gain a real understanding of the wide range of issues that affect local authorities, and has provided placements that put me at the heart of sector-led solutions.

My first placement at the Local Government Association was in Member Services. This was the perfect placement to give me an idea of the scope of work that is done within the LGA, as well as a detailed understanding of its governance structures. I served as the Member Services Officer for the Culture, Tourism & Sport Board, the Workforce Board, and the City Regions Board, as well as holding responsibility for the monthly Councillors' Forum meeting and formulating content for the Councillors' Bulletin. My favourite of these was probably the City Regions Board as this was a newly created board which I was able to see through from the beginning. Membership is made up of leaders of all the major city councils and so I really felt as though I was at the forefront of some of the biggest decisions affecting cities across the UK, and learnt an enormous amount about policy areas such as skills, employment, devolution, and growth.

My second placement has been shared between the Executive Office and Business Support. My role in the Executive Office has been to support key meetings including the Senior Management Team and the Corporate Leadership Team. In this role, I am in the unique and privileged position to hear about some of the biggest issues affecting the organisation and the sector as a whole. I have also been able to provide support to the Chairman of the LGA when his PA has needed assistance. In Business Support, I have the opportunity to gain some project management experience as we begin to implement a new system for managing documents. Delivering training to colleagues has meant that I have met employees from across the organisation.

The last year has been enormously varied and fast-paced. Being on the ngdp has allowed me to become involved in all sorts of projects, not all of them necessarily linked to my particular placement. I have been able to assist with the LG Challenge, local government's version of The Apprentice; have worked as part of a peer challenge team assessing Nottinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service; and have provided assistance to some of the political group offices at the LGA.

I've learnt a lot about myself this year, particularly my various strengths and weaknesses, some of which have surprised me. When I have found myself struggling, my meetings with my placement coordinator have been extremely helpful as she has done her best to suggest ways in which I might approach the situation. This kind of support is one of the unique advantages of being on a scheme like the NGDP.