The Certificate in Local Council Administration (CiLCA)

About CiLCA & EMMA

The Certificate in Local Council Administration (CiLCA) is a Level 3 accredited and recognised qualification for the Local Council Sector, designed to test basic levels of competence for the role of parish clerk. CiLCA has been designed to cover all aspects of the clerk’s role and learners are required to compile a portfolio of evidence to show that they fully understand their job.

EMMA is the online platform on which you will submit your portfolio. Watch this  video  for more information.

The qualification has 30 learning outcomes within the 5 units covering the following topics:

    • Core roles in local council administration

    • Law and procedure for local councils

    • Finance for local councils

    • Management for local councils

    • Community Engagement

Please note that you do not need to be a member of the SLCC to register for EMMA or to undertake the SALC training, but a SALC member discount applies to the training fee.

How much does CiLCA cost?

CiLCA consists of two main parts with separate costs:

Training: The cost for the CiLCA training course is £299 per member council learner and £600 per non-member council learner, payable to SALC. The training fee for non-members does not include access to resources in the member’s area of the SALC website.

Qualification: An additional registration fee of £450* is payable to the SLCC.

*Fees usually increase annually. Prices correct as of 4 February 2024.

Who can undertake CiLCA?

Anyone can undertake the Certificate in Local Council Administration. Although it has been designed for parish and town clerks, it can be undertaken by assistant clerks, aspiring clerks, RFOs, councillors, or any other person interested in local council administration.

The awarding body, Ascentis, recommends that you attend training to assist you in completing your qualification (available through SALC – see the Training Events page).

You will need access to council documents to complete your portfolio, which means that if you’re not a clerk, it will help you to be working for, or have close links with, a parish or town council.

If you work for a council, it is recommended that you have been in post a minimum of 12 months to ensure you have gained the knowledge required for the qualification.

Benefits of holding the CiLCA qualification

A CiLCA qualified officer is competent, efficient, and effective; they can lead and advise with confidence. A CiLCA qualified clerk benefits the council that aims to achieve an award under the Local Council Award Scheme. Crucially, it helps the council to declare eligibility to use the General Power of Competence (see Council as Employer page for details). A council able to exercise the GPC brings significant benefit through opportunity to its community.

About the training

SALC provides training for the CiLCA qualification over five in-person small group training sessions held in Somerton over 5 months (each session runs from 10am until 4pm). The training fee includes regular additional one-to-one review and mentoring sessions scheduled online throughout a 12-month period. 

All scheduled training dates are published on the SALC website training page, here. To complete a booking, you must first speak with Sam Winter to receive and complete the CiLCA Training Needs Analysis form.

About the trainer

Training and mentoring is primarily delivered by our recognised CiLCA trainer, Sam Winter LLB(Hons) Assoc. CIPD.

As a qualified adult trainer and CiLCA qualified former town clerk, Sam leads on SALC’s The Essential Clerk training and holds specific recognised trainer status for delivery of the CiLCA qualification. Sam is qualified in human resources as a member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development and is a qualified workplace mediator compliant with the Civil Mediation Council.

On occasion, delivery of the CiLCA course or one of its sessions might be undertaken by David Mears FdA FSLCC. David is the town clerk to Bridgwater Town Council and a module tutor on the Community Governance degree. David also also holds specific recognised trainer status for delivery the CiLCA qualification.

What’s the time commitment?

CiLCA Training consists of 5 sessions at 4 hours, totalling 20 hours of training delivered across 5 months. You will need to ensure you are available to attend each session as scheduled.

You have 12 months from the date of registration with the SLCC to submit your completed portfolio. You should not apply for registration until you have attended the introductory training session.  It is highly recommended that you start to build your portfolio alongside the training. It is also recommended that you submit one unit at a time for assessment and consider any feedback before submitting the next unit. It can take up to 2-6 weeks for assessors mark your work and give feedback.

If you complete one learning outcome per week, it will take you seven months to complete your portfolio. Ascentis requires CiLCA to take about 200 hours so that the qualification can carry 20 credits.

When should I do CiLCA?

The SLCC recommends learners have a minimum of 12 months’ experience of a council before undertaking CiLCA. However, this largely depends on the individual and their role. For example, a full-time clerk is more likely to gain the knowledge required faster than a clerk or other officer who works fewer part-time hours. 

Your personal life will also affect your decision to embark on CiLCA. Private study and research are essential elements of CiLCA. If you enjoy a busy life with very little spare time it is likely to prove more difficult to undertake the academic study required, as well as finding time to complete the portfolio. It will be necessary for you to assess how and when you can make space in your schedule to fulfill your potential in gaining the qualification.

Everyone is different, if you’re unsure if you are ready to undertake CiLCA, please contact Sam Winter to talk it through.

How can my council help?

Whether you work 10 hours a week or 10 hours a month the time required to complete CiLCA will be the same. It is recommended that you get your council’s support to complete this qualification.

If the council has adopted Green Book terms and conditions of employment, staff attending or undertaking required training are entitled to be paid their normal earnings, along with the fees and other relevant expenses. When attending training courses outside contracted daily hours, part-time employees should be paid on the same basis as full-time employees. Please refer to your contract of employment.

As a good employer the council should:

    • Provide and protect a period of paid study time

    • Help you manage your workload

    • Show an interest in your progress

    • Undertake regular two-way performance appraisal conversations

When you enrol for CiLCA training you will be given a learning agreement to be signed by the learner, the council, and SALC. This agreement will set out what is required and expected.

CiLCA registration

After you’ve attended the SALC introductory training session, you can apply and pay for registration to the EMMA system via the SLCC website at any time.

You do not need to be an SLCC member, but you will need a log in to the SLCC website in order to apply. Please note that registrations on the EMMA system are bi-monthly.

Learners have one year to complete their CiLCA qualification, starting from the date of registration on EMMA.

What learner support is offered?

Time will be built into each SALC training session to discuss and consider learning outcomes and attendees are encouraged to network together for peer support.

Learners can make use of support from the trainer during the five month period of the CiLCA training sessions and additionally through regular one-to-one online review and mentoring sessions held over 12 months from the start of the training course.

If learners require extensive additional support, hours can be booked with the trainer at a cost of £20 per hour (members) and £80 per hour (non-members).

When you’re ready to undertake CiLCA

Before acceptance of your booking with SALC to undertake CiLCA training, we require you to complete a CiLCA Training Needs Analysis form and return it to  

This form assesses your current knowledge and experience and helps your CiLCA trainer assess your readiness for undertaking the CiLCA portfolio. The form asks for details about you and your current role, as well as asking you to assess your confidence with the occupational standards of a qualified clerk. The aim of this process is to identify areas of strength and areas for development before you embark on the CiLCA qualification training. 

Your completed form will be reviewed and discussed with you ahead of the first training session, addressing any training needs and signposting you to resources for preparation.

If appropriate, the trainer assessing your form might recommend that you delay starting CiLCA and first work on expanding your knowledge. Where this is the case, the trainer will contact you in advance of the first session.

Your data will be handled in our accordance with our privacy notice, which can be found on our website.

The latest CiLCA training dates will be published on the SALC Training Events page.

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