local council award schemeAThe Local Council Award Scheme (LCAS) has been designed to celebrate the successes of the very best local councils and to provide a framework to support all local councils to improve and develop to meet their full potential. The scheme offers councils the opportunity to show that they meet the standards set by the sector, assessed them by their peers, and put in place the conditions for continued improvement.

The scheme has been designed to provide the tools and encouragement to those councils at the beginning of their improvement journeys, as well as promoting and recognising councils that are at the cutting edge of the sector. It is only through the sector working together, to share best practices, drive up standards and supporting those who are committed to improving their offer to their communities that individual councils and the sector as a whole will reach their full potential.

LCAS undergoes a review every year. Local councils must meet the criteria of the guidance that is in place at the date they submit their completed application form to their local accreditation panel.

Read the Local Council Award Scheme guide

NALC will be running events to help local councils prepare an award-winning application please keep an eye on our events pages for dates and details.

Why should you apply?

There is a range of reasons why a council could benefit from taking part in the award scheme. For those councils who are already confident that they perform to a high standard the scheme provides assurance to the council that it is up-to-date and progressive by the standards set by the sector. For those who wish to improve, it provides a framework to plan and make the first steps. Helping the council improve performance and confidence, with policies in place for continuous development. And for all councils winning the award should be a celebration for councillors and officers, as their commitment and hard work are recognised and respected.

An award is a tool that councils can use when working with the local community or other local partners. Giving them confidence that the council is delivering to a national professional standard.

And finally, the scheme will contribute to the national reputation of local councils demonstrating achievements and a commitment to improvement.

How do you apply?

1.  The first step is to register online with NALC. You will then be charged a £50 registration fee by NALC.
Tip: You do not need to have all the criteria in place at this stage, you are simply registering your interest in taking part in the scheme
Tip: You can apply for any award level - you don't need to start at Foundation

2.  When you have the criteria prepared and in place, confirm this in a public meeting

3.  You should then notify your local accreditation panel coordinator and provide the application form including links to online documents. At this stage, you will also pay an accreditation fee to your local County Association. This fee depends on the award level you are applying for and the size of your council (full information in the Local Council Award Scheme Guide).

4.  Your local panel coordinator will contact you with the result of your application.

Find out more in the Local Council Award Scheme guide

WALC has its own local assessment panel which means you can apply at any time and WALC will convene a panel to consider your application.

Which level should we apply for?

You do not need to have all the criteria in place when you register, you are simply registering your interest in taking part in the scheme 
You can apply for any award level - you don't need to start at Foundation.

Foundation Award

LCAS Foundation

The Foundation award is for councils who want to show they meet a set of minimum standards to deliver effectively for their communities. To meet this award the council demonstrates that it has the required documentation and information in place for operating lawfully and according to standard practice. The council also has policies for training for its councillors and officers and so has the foundations for improvement and development in place.

The Foundation award allows you to benchmark your performance as well as challenging you to consider your councils continuing development and improvement.

Quality Award

LCAS QualityTo achieve the Quality Award a council demonstrates that it meets all requirements of the Foundation Award and has additional evidence of good governance, effective community engagement and council improvement. Due to the level of this achievement, a council with a Quality Award can also be eligible to use the general power of competence.

The Quality Award demonstrates that a council achieves good practice in governance, community engagement and council improvement.Quality councils go above and beyond their legal obligations, leading their communities and continuously seeking opportunities to improve and develop even further.

Quality Gold Award

LCAS QualityGoldThe Quality Gold Award demonstrates that a council is at the forefront of best practice and achieves excellence in governance, community leadership and council development. Quality Gold councils provide leadership for their communities, bring people together, have excellent business planning processes, ensuring value for money as well as constantly seeking new innovations and opportunities to improve. They highlight the very best we, as a sector, can achieve for our communities.

What will it cost the Council?

There are two fees paid 

  • A £50.00 registration fee, paid to the National Association of Local Councils, for all Councils. 
  • Plus an accreditation fee paid to WALC for administering the accreditation process as detailed in the table below.

Local Council Award Scheme

Title Description Download
Local Council Award Scheme Guide FEATURED
The local council award scheme exists to celebrate the successes of the very best local councils, and to provide A framework to support all local councils to meet their full potential. View   Open Link (pdf)
Tips for an Award Winning Application
NALC have been running webinars to explain how the scheme works, what information is needed to apply, and how to submit a good application. Further webinars will be held throughout the year, keep an eye on our website for upcoming dates. Open Link (haqudy_evqhruzfo)
LCAS National Panel Dates 2022
Open Link ()
LCAS Sample Business Plan
This example from Brixton Parish Council is a 3 year business plan and submitted as part of its evidence for Quality Gold status. View   Download ( pdf )
LCAS Sample Action Plan
Needed for all levels of Award; at Foundation level, it does not need to be complicated. More detail will be required for Quality status; panels like to see how consultations and engagement have influenced your planning. This example comes from Quality Gold Council Draycott and Church Wilne Parish Council ACTION PLAN 2021/22 View   Download ( pdf )
LCAS Sample Application Form
This sample comes from Draycott Parish Council who has supplied its evidence for Foundation and Quality Award, having confirmed it by resolution in a full Council meeting.Please note that some links may no longer work. Download ( docx )