Food Learning Forum: Introduction to local government

22/11/2023 10:00 11:00


This learning session will cover the outlook and types of local government in England and how to influence. 

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Transforming the food system at a local level requires the full backing and involvement of local authorities. This Food Learning Forum session is aimed at Sustain Alliance members, food partnerships and other organisations working to transform the food system at a local or national level. It will help to increase knowledge on how local government works and how to influence. 

  • Outlook including devolution, levelling up and pressures around local authority funding 
  • Types of local authorities and which powers they have: single-tier (London boroughs, metropolitan districts, unitary authorities), 2-tier (county and districts), combined authorities 
  • Governance structures in place, e.g. cabinet, committees, full council 
  • Leadership systems: Council leader vs elected Mayor 
  • Decision making and policy making. Who influences local authorities? 
  • Role of elected councillors vs council staff 
  • How can food partnerships and voluntary sector organisations influence local government? 
  • Role of Local Government Association 
  • Where to find more information 


Chair: Sofia Parente – Head of Local Action, Sustain 

  • Local government in England – Rebecca Cox, Principal Policy Advisor, Local Government Association (15 min) 
  • An inside view of local government – Emily O’Brien, Councillor, Lewes District Councillor and Deputy Chair of the People and Places Board at the LGA (10 min) 
  • Example of working with council staff and elected councillors – Vic Borrill, Brighton and Hove Food Partnership (10 min) 
  • Q&A (25 min)