Local Government External Funding Officer

The Job and What's Involved

Local Government External Funding Officers are responsible for securing funding for projects to ensure that they can go ahead. They also provide support to their county council, other public sector organisations, and voluntary and community groups.

External funding is money awarded by grant-giving organisations, such as the National Lottery Distributors, the European Union (EU), local or national trusts and central government (either directly or through its many agencies).

The role of an External Funding Officer may vary according to the area in which they work, but daily activities are likely to include:

  • Researching possible sources of funding via Grantfinder, a comprehensive database of UK, lottery and EU grants and awards.
  • Advising council staff.
  • Maintaining their own funding database.
  • Putting together and giving presentations.
  • Attending meetings with relevant and interested parties.
  • Working with budgets and analysing statistics.
  • Monitoring the progress of funding applications.
  • Writing reports.

External Funding Officers must keep up to date with the latest funding initiatives and ensure that the relevant council officers and departments, such as the buildings, waste disposal and education departments, are aware of any significant news. They are also responsible for ensuring that different local government departments do not compete for the same funds.

They need to develop good working relationships with organisations that are in partnership with the council, such as the local health authority, fire service, and community and voluntary groups. External Funding Officers may also represent their area at a national level on committees, such as the Lottery Officers Group.

Local Government External Funding Officers usually work 37 hours a week. The majority of councils run a flexitime scheme, which requires employees to be available between core hours (for example, 10am to 4pm). Occasional evening and weekend work may also be needed. It may be possible to work on a part-time or job share basis.

External Funding Officers are mainly office based, but also attend meetings outside the council offices. They are expected to dress smartly.

A driving licence may be useful. If the job involves considerable travel, a car and additional allowances may be provided.

The starting salary for a Local Government External Funding Officer is around £23,200 a year.

Getting Started with this Career Choice

External funding officers are employed by local authorities throughout the UK.

Vacancies may be found through local council websites, national and local newspapers, and professional journals.

Education and Training

Applicants normally need to have relevant work experience in fundraising, for example making external funding applications and being familiar with different funding bid processes. They also need to demonstrate a strong knowledge of the way in which the EU operates.

Relevant experience may be gained by:

Working for a local authority as a finance assistant/officer, or an economic development or regeneration assistant/officer.

Working for a local authority, university or charitable organisation as a European assistant/officer.

Carrying out fundraising work with charities.

Working on funding bids in universities, schools or colleges, or for heritage organisations such as the National Trust or English Heritage.

A Few More Exams You Might Need

Most entrants have a degree with a financial emphasis and/or a professional qualification.

Entry to a degree course is usually with at least two A levels/three H grades and five GCSE's/S grades (A-C/1-3), or the equivalent. Candidates should check with individual institutions for specific grade and/or subject requirements.

Further training is carried out on the job and through local government courses. It varies from council to council and person to person, depending on the individual's skills and the demands of the role.

The Institute of Fundraising offers fundraising training throughout the UK. The Institute can provide tailored, bespoke training to groups such as local government external funding officers.

For qualified external funding officers, CIPFA qualifications count towards Continuing Professional Development.

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Your Long Term Prospects

Local Government External Funding Officers may have opportunities to move into more responsible funding-related roles in economic development and regeneration.

With appropriate experience and qualifications, they may be able to move into senior roles in finance, accountancy or management. It may be necessary to move to another council to progress.

There may also be opportunities to move into the commercial sector, charity work or consultancy.

Skills and Personal Qualities Needed

Local Government External Funding Officers need to:

  • Have excellent interpersonal and communication skills.
  • Be good negotiators, able to act on their own initiative.
  • Be able to write reports and put together financial bids.
  • Be numerate and able to analyse statistics.
  • Be persistent, able to think laterally and innovatively.
  • Be persuasive and enthusiastic.
  • Have the ability to prepare and deliver presentations.
  • Be organised and able to prioritise work to meet deadlines.
  • Be able to work under pressure.
  • Have good IT skills.

Get Further Information

Institute of Economic Development,
PO Box 396, High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire HP15 6EL
Tel: 01494 714201
Website: www.ied.co.uk

Institute of Fundraising,
Park Place, 12 Lawn Lane, London SW8 1UD
Tel: 020 7840 1000
Website: www.institute-of-fundraising.org.uk

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