PLACE - Professional Learning, Advancement and Collaboration Experience

What is PLACE?

PLACE is an dynamic new program that offers council directors and senior managers the opportunity to expand the strategic thinking, long term planning and solution-focused skills by engaging with a challenge another NSW council is experiencing. Participants will be able to expand their knowledge beyond their own LGA borders through experiential learning and collaborating with senior leaders from across the sector.  

How does it work?

Councils enter a ‘team’ of four senior managers comprised of directors and senior managers, that are tasked to propose a solution(s) which addresses a real world challenge faced by another council.  This council is referred to as the Host Council, a key contributor to the program. 

Across NSW, Councils face both similar and different challenges, as they strive to provide an increased number of services to the community.  Many of those challenges are complex and multi layered, with history, community sentiment and financial implications all playing a part.  The Host Council generously shares their challenge and will collaborate with the teams, providing context and insight into their LGA which will assist the teams in developing their submission. 

The commitment is from 30 May 2024, when the program opens, to the written submissions that are due on Friday 18 October 2024.  As with any worthwhile investment, there is significant commitment required to ensure a quality submission, worthy of being presented to senior leaders and elected members.  Individual teams are able to manage their own timeline and workflow for how they brainstorm options, consult with stakeholders, and robustly challenge their ideas to form a bespoke, informed, and realistic solution for their submission. 
The Program aims to support participants through providing a PLACE Program Coach, who will be available to offer guidance; with regular online presentations and discussions providing further detail, insight and options for teams to explore. The involvement of the team’s General Manager/CEO will also provide support and they are encouraged to work with their team in developing a workable solution.
The program concludes with each team submitting their written submission, followed one week later with a presentation of their solution to the Host Council General Manager/CEO and panel of industry leaders.  The team will then have the opportunity to answer questions and receive immediate feedback on their submission from the judging panel.

Who Should Attend

All councils are invited to participate with the number of teams per program limited to four.  Each team must:

  • Be supported by their General Manager/CEO, who is a member of LG Professionals, NSW
  • Have a maximum of four team members
  • Consist of Directors (or directly reports to the GM) and senior managers

If one council is not able to create a complete team, they may form a composite team with another council.  Both General Managers/CEO are permitted as support.

If the General Manager/CEO is not currently a member, please contact our Membership Manager, Brooke Atkinson on [email protected] to join.

Benefits for your Executive Team

Your executive team will benefit from the experience of working with real challenges faced by other councils.  Without leaving their LGA they will increase their knowledge, gain insight and have exposure to senior leaders from around the state.

Skills such as collaboration and strategic thinking will improve as the teams robustly challenge concepts and ideas throughout the program.  This will enable the executive team to develop and enhance skills in their current role. 

Your executive team will also be recognised by industry peers and celebrated at our Annual Black-Tie Dinner for their contribution to the sector.

Feedback from the 2023 winning team:

“PLACE gave us the ability to step aside from the challenges we face in our normal roles and think about something completely different.  It was a powerful reminder that all local governments, no matter how big or small, urban or regional, face unique challenges framed by their geography, history and community needs – and have different capabilities and capacity to respond.  By engaging in PLACE, I improved my skills in developing a coherent position that was realistic and achievable, drawing upon the skills in the group to test and challenge my thinking.”

– Anthony Collis, Randwick City Council


Time Commitment

The time commitment for each team should not exceed two to three hours per week.

Teams will be asked to:

  • Attend the online learning sessions.
  • Attend an in-person meeting to present their report in October.
  • Attend the Annual Black-Tie Dinner where the projects will be formally acknowledged.


  • Team registration includes 5 tickets to that Annual Black-Tie Dinner (for the team and the General Manager/CEO)
  • Attendance to the online learning sessions
  • Access to the PLACE Program Coach and experienced local government leader
  • LG Professionals, NSW membership for team members
  • Collaboration with executives from the Host Council
  • Invaluable experience in planning, testing and challenging ideas using real world examples, data and experienced industry professionals
  • Growth of professional connections and relationships
  • Acknowledgement at the Annual Black-Tie Dinner, for the contribution to the sector




Commences Thursday, 30 May 2024


Registrations open 15 January 2024

Registrations close 10 May 2024 (or until maximum number of teams are registered)


Teams can manage their time and work flexibly throughout the program

Online meetings and workshops support effective time management



Team registration is $8,800 inclusive of GST


 Enquiries:  Gavin Carnegie
 Phone:  02 8297 1211
 Email:  [email protected]

Program Outline

Program Goal

Our goal with PLACE, is to create an opportunity to develop strategic planning and critical thinking skills in executive leaders. Participants will expand these skills through the program as they challenge their ideas and search for innovative, viable solutions. With exposure to a council with differing resources, policies, political influence, and communities, teams can create thoughtful, tailored recommendations, considering the Host Council’s challenges in delivery, improving service delivery, productivity and sustainability.


Council can register one team of four participants onto PLACE, with their General Manager/CEO to support and guide them.  Participants must be Director or Tier 3 Manager level, and teams must include at least one team member at Director level.

At program commencement, teams will be given their project challenge from the Host Councils.  Along with community data, community goals, insights and context from the Host Council executive team.  Each project will have an outcome the Host Council would like to achieve for their community, and will be looking for a considered, tailored and exciting solution. PLACE will run for a total of four months, culminating with a written submission that will be supported by an in-person presentation from the team members to a panel of senior leaders, including the General Manager/CEO of the Host Council.

The majority of the program is delivered online to balance valuable time allocated to work and the program.  Throughout the program teams will be able to work at their own pace, researching and planning for their project at convenient times for their team members. There will be official learning opportunities held online.  Some meetings are for single teams to engage with the PLACE Program Coach.  Other meetings are for all teams to attend together, to access the executives from the Host Councils and course content from specialists.  These meetings will further stimulate the learning experience and allow participants to gain valuable insight.  

Final written submissions a week prior to the presentation date, they will be assessed by the senior leader panel, who will attend the presentation. The panel will be industry stakeholders, the PLACE Program Coach and the General Manager/CEO from the Host Council.  The final presentation will be held in person at one location, and only open to the panel, team and General Manager/CEO.  Post presentation, the panel will have the opportunity to ask questions, provide feedback and discuss the submission in depth with the participants, receiving immediate feedback.

If council cannot make a team of four members, they may opt to build a composite team.  This would include executives from surrounding councils to make up four team members, with one or more of their General Manager/CEO supporting the team.

No content found

No content found

No content found

Explore | Grow | Connect

More than just your leading professional support association.

Learn more about us