Local authorities and local government

Local government - Photo (cc) http://www.flickr.com/photos/highwaysagency/6032691030/

Watch the video

Careers in local authorities

All our degree programmes are relevant to careers in local authorities. Examples of career pathways include:

  • Local government
  • Housing management
  • Social services management
  • Youth policy and participation

Careers information on:

Relevance of our degress

Dr Stuart Lowe and Professor John Hudson discuss in the video above how social policy and applied social science aim to make an impact in the world in which we live. One way of doing this is to work in local authorities, or even run for office in local government.

Our undergraduate degrees provide a solid grounding in understanding the relationship of local authority processes, the impact they have on individuals and the relationships between local authorities, partner organisations and the public.

Placement opportunities in local authorities give you experience of this working context to support the theoretical and critical work you undertake in class. Course work will encourage you to think creatively about solutions to the problems facing local authorities within policy and practice frameworks, recognise pressures on an organisation and the context in which it works, and how to work within large public-sector organisations.

Our postgraduate programmes offer knowledge and specialist training for the management and delivery of public services (MA Public Policy and Management or the Masters of Public Administration) and the role of evidence in advanced policy development (MRes Social Policy, MPA Comparative Applied Social and Public Policy, Evaluation and Research). Our Masters of Public Administration (MPA) and MA Public Policy and Management programmes offer practical application of theory to real world practices, appropriate to your organisation, to help in your professional development.

Profile: Rory

Rory, BA Social Policy

Rory graduated from our BA Social Policy degree and holds the position of Deputy City Mayor of Leicester City Council.

Think tank


After graduating from York with a degree in Social Policy, I worked for ippr north, part of the Institute for Public Policy Research. The knowledge, skills and experience gained on my degree course were all relevant and useful in this job. I researched and authored a published report on transport and social exclusion in the North East of England as well as providing research support across a range of public policy areas including economic and regional policy.

Members of Parliament

I have also worked for two Members of Parliament providing communications advice and policy support on national and constituency issues. These roles also involved work around the legislative process including tracking legislation through the parliamentary process. I also worked on a number of projects for the MPs including leading on the organisation of the first ever residential citizenship summer school for over 40 school students in Parliament, and organising a large public engagement project on climate change.


In 2007 I was elected as a councillor in Leicester. When elected, I was the youngest member of the Council. As a councillor I have served a number of committees and have also served as a member of the Council's Cabinet, with responsibility for adult social care services. I was  selected as a Labour candidate for the 2010 General Election, contesting the Bosworth constituency in Leicestershire.

Deputy City Mayor

Leicester has recently become the largest place outside London to have a directly elected City Mayor and in May this year I was re-elected as a councillor and appointed as Leicester's first ever Deputy City Mayor. This role is still evolving but on a day to day basis I work alongside the City Mayor, Cabinet colleagues and senior council officers on the big challenges facing Leicester. I am leading on work to deliver our manifesto and develop the manifesto into a work programme for this new administration.

Interesting balance between theory and practice

My degree course is directly relevant to what I do now. I always felt that the Social Policy degree course at York achieved an interesting balance between exploring the theoretical design and development of policy and its practical application. Whilst at York I spent a lot of time involved in student politics, including YUSU and the Labour Club, and this experience has certainly been beneficial in my career so far.

Friendly and approachable department

I chose to study social policy because I was interested in the practical application of public policy and how policy is made. The department was friendly and approachable and the quality of teaching was good. The campus environment at York always helped generate a strong sense of community at the University, something also helped by an active Students' Union and a wide range of student societies and clubs.

Very enjoyable

Everything from my degree course, to the campus setting and to the friendly feel of the University and a busy scene of clubs and societies made my time at York very enjoyable and a period I look back on with many happy and warm memories.

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Profile: Jenna

Jenna graduated from our BA Social Policy programme and went on to work in a number of public organisations.


After graduating from York with a degree in Social Policy, I stayed at the university for a further year and worked as a Sabbatical Officer for the university Student’s Union.

Trade unions

I then moved to London and worked as a political liaison officer for a further and higher education Trade Union. After this I worked as Press & Public affairs manager for the National Union of Student’s (NUS). I then got a job at the Mayor of London’s office, managing relations between Trade Unions and the then Mayor, Ken Livingston. About two years ago I moved to my current job, where I now work as acting Head of Communications for the General Social Care Council.

Individual attention

My degree provided me with a great understanding of how Government works and how Government policy is made. The course and university were small and I really appreciated all the individual attention this meant you got. The tutorials were really small, you felt looked after and the lecturers genuinely didn’t mind taking time out to help you.

I chose to go to York because of its great reputation. I was also attracted to the campus layout of the university. I grew up in a small town so I didn’t want to stretch myself too much and go to a big city. The campus felt like a homely place to go.

Many opportunities

My time at York also gave me so many opportunities beyond my actual degree. I was heavily involved in student politics and lots of university societies, as well as volunteering in the city. When I was at York I tried to take up every opportunity offered to me. I met some of my closest friends to this day at York.

Demonstrate competence and ability

When students are looking at different degree courses, I would say the most important this is to choose something you enjoy. I didn’t have a gap year and was really tired of studying by the end of my degree. If I hadn’t enjoyed the subject it would have been horrible. As a person who has now spent ten years in work I would say the actual degree subject you take doesn’t matter so much to employers, so long as it’s a subject that demonstrates your competence and ability.

Real achievement

My greatest achievement at York would probably be getting elect to be a Sabbatical Officer at the end of my final year. The election was the first time I’d ever really put myself out there and achieved something real.

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