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National Survey of Local Government Candidates, 2007

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CHAPTER TWO PROFILE OF CANDIDATES

2.1 In this chapter, data on the number and demographic characteristics of unsuccessful candidates are analysed and compared with those for councillors from the 2007 elected members survey, with the corresponding findings from the 2003 surveys, and with the wider Scottish population where possible.

Number and Political Affiliation of Candidates

2.2 There was a considerable fall in the number of candidates fielded by all the major parties in the 2007 local elections (see Figure 2). The number of councillors elected under the new proportional system in 2007 remained the same as under first-past-the-post in 1999 and 2003 at 1,222. The number of candidates standing for election in 2003 and 2007, however, fell by almost 40% from 4,195 to 2,606. This finding emerges not from this survey but from analysis undertaken by Bochel & Denver (2007) and is presented here first because of the impact of this smaller number of candidates on the findings we go on to present and our analysis of the impacts of initiatives undertaken to widen access to local government.

Figure 2 Number of Candidates in Council Elections by Party, 1999 - 2007

Figure 2 Number of Candidates in Council Elections by Party, 1999 - 2007

Note to figure
Source: Bochel & Denver (2007, p.2)
There was one Green party candidate in 2003 which is not showing in the figure above due to the scale.

2.3 The report of the Widening Access to Council Membership Progress Group noted that

"Scotland's political parties have a key role to play in the widening access and diversity of local councillors. They provide the biggest numbers of local councillors. Their commitment to selecting and supporting candidates that are more reflective of Scottish society as a whole could go a long way to increasing the diversity of councillors" (Scottish Executive, 2005)

2.4 As will be shown in subsequent sections of this report, it appears, however, that parties' abilities to fulfil this role in 2007 was affected by their efforts to adapt to the new system of voting as the fall in the number of candidates has been attributed to the tactic, principally within the larger parties, of fielding fewer candidates to avoid first preference votes being split among too many candidates (Bochel & Denver, 2007).

2.5 On a more positive note, Figure 2 also provides evidence that the anticipated opportunities presented by STV for Independent candidates and smaller parties began to be realised in 2007. The number of Independent candidates rose by 13 percentage points (although it should be noted that this trend had begun prior to the introduction of STV as shown in Figure 2); and the Green party, which had previously fielded no candidates in 1999 and one candidate in 2003, fielded 100 candidates, anticipating a greater chance of success under STV than under the old first-past-the-post system. It achieved this with the 2007 election, for the first time, of eight green party members to Scottish local government.

New Faces Among Candidates?

2.6 Unsuccessful candidates were asked whether they had stood for election to local government before. Unfortunately this data is not available for all candidates as the elected members survey did not ask councillors whether they had stood for election before, only whether they had served as councillors before (see paras 2.11 - 2.17, below).

2.7 The proportion of unsuccessful candidates who had not stood for election to local government before, i.e. were 'new faces', fell between 2003 and 2007 from 50% to 46%. Figure 3 shows the proportion of new faces in 2007 by political affiliation. Labour, Liberal Democrat and SNP unsuccessful candidates were the least likely to be new to standing for local government (22%, 29% and 32% respectively had no previous experience), while Green, Other, Independent, SSP and Solidarity unsuccessful candidates were the most likely not to have stood before. This is only the first or second election in which some of these parties have put forward a significant number of candidates, so this lack of experience is to be expected.

2.8 Among unsuccessful candidates, all parties had a lower proportion of new faces standing in 2007 than in 2003; only Independent candidates bucked this trend with the proportion who had not stood before increasing slightly from 57% to 59% (see Figure 3).

2.9 Men and women were almost equally likely to have stood previously (54.2% to 53.7%). As might be expected, however, the majority of unsuccessful candidates with previous electoral experience were in the older age groups, with 82% of those aged 65 or over having stood before, compared to less than a quarter of those aged under 35.

2.10 Over half of the 25% of unsuccessful candidates who have a long-term disability, illness or health problem had stood before. This is similar to the results for the survey as a whole suggesting that having a long-term illness or disability does not necessarily prevent people from standing for election. However, it should be remembered that the data does not show whether these unsuccessful candidates were suffering from a disability, health problem or illness at the time of their previous election experience.

Figure 3 'New Faces' - unsuccessful candidates who had not stood for election to local government before by political affiliation, 2003 and 2007 (%)

Figure 3 'New Faces' - unsuccessful candidates who had not stood for election to local government before by political affiliation, 2003 and 2007

Note to figure
* As there was only one Green candidate in 2003 and that election pre-dated the formation of Solidarity Scotland, the percentage of new faces for these parties in 2007 might be expected to be close to or at 100%. In fact 18 unsuccessful Green candidates and 15 Solidarity candidates stated that they had stood previously. This suggests that these candidates had stood previously as Independent candidates or for other parties, e.g. Solidarity candidates previously standing as SSP candidates.

Previous experience of serving as a councillor

2.11 All candidates were asked if they had served as a councillor in the past. Figure 4 shows those who had not served before among all candidates ( i.e. were 'new' to council membership), and Figure 5 shows this data for councillors only. The proportion of all candidates who had never previously served as a councillor has fallen from 71% to 64%, suggesting at first glance that the measures taken to encourage new faces among elected members at the 2007 elections, have not been successful. These figures are, however, skewed by the fact that unsuccessful candidates in 2007 were much more experienced in 2007 than in 2003. Nineteen percent had served as councillors in 2007 compared with only 11% in 2003.

2.12 When we subsequently look at Figure 5 we see that, in fact, the number of 'new faces' on Scotland's councils has increased substantially. In 2003, the councillors' survey found that 80% of councillors were either incumbents or had served as councillors in the past 10, compared with only 54% in the 2007 survey. The proportion of new faces has therefore increased from 20% to 46% since 2003 11.

2.13 This trend is repeated across all political parties and among Independents, but is more marked in some than others, which mainly reflects varying electoral success for the parties. For example the SNP had one of the largest increases in the proportion of new faces among councillors in 2007, whereas Labour had one of the lowest, which corresponds with the fact that the SNP won 14.9% more seats in 2007 than in 2003 and Labour won 13.2% fewer.

Figure 4 Candidates who were new to council membership by political affiliation, 2003 and 2007 (%)

Figure 4 Candidates who were new to council membership by political affiliation, 2003 and 2007

Note to figure
Data for Solidarity and 'Other' candidates are not presented due to small numbers and discrepancies in what is counted as 'other' between different datasets.

Figure 5 Councillors who were new to council membership by political affiliation, 2003 and 2007 (%)

Figure 5 Councillors who were new to council membership by political affiliation, 2003 and 2007

Note to figure
Data for Solidarity and 'Other' candidates are not presented due to small numbers and discrepancies in what is counted as 'other' between different datasets.

2.14 This emergence of new/first time councillors can to a large extent be explained by the fact that a large proportion of councillors stood down in 2007. In 2003, 84% of incumbent councillors defended their seats whereas only 62% did so in the 2007 elections (Bochel & Denver 2007, pp.9-10).

2.15 Research by the Improvement Service suggests that the severance payment was a factor for almost a third of those standing down, but many councillors may have retired anyway so the precise impact of this policy is hard to judge. The Improvement Service conducted a survey of the 406 councillors who had registered their intention to stand down in 2007, which had a response rate of 33%. None of these respondents indicated that the severance package was the most important reason why they were standing down, but over 30% stated that it was a factor.

2.16 The most important reason cited for standing down was 'age/retirement'. The introduction of multi-member wards and STV appear also to have had an unintended effect on the number of seats available for new councillors as they were the 2 nd and 3 rd most commonly cited main reasons why councillors stood down respectively (Improvement Service 2007a).

Gender

2.17 Of those who both stood for and were elected to local government in 2007, just over a fifth were women (see Figure 6). As well as being unrepresentative of the wider population, female representation at council level also compares unfavourably to the Scottish Parliament, where 43 women were elected at the 2007 elections, representing exactly one third of the 129 MSPs (Women and Equality Unit, 2007) 12.

2.18 As Figure 6 shows, although women make up 52.5% of the population, only 22.8% of the 2,606 candidates standing in the local elections were female. The representation of females among those elected is slightly lower at 21.6% 13 reflecting the fact that female candidates were slightly less likely to be elected than their male counterparts in 2007; 44.9% of female candidates were elected, whereas 47.5% of male candidates were 14. This gap in the likelihood of being elected between men and women has, however, narrowed since 2003 as explained further below.

2.19 Between 2003 and 2007, the overall proportion of candidates who were female fell from 27.7% to 22.8%, although the proportion among those elected was virtually unchanged at 21.6%, down from 21.8% in 2003 (see Figure 7 13). This trend is again most evident among the larger parties. Bochel & Denver (2007) propose two explanations for this: either, in reducing the number of candidates that larger parties put forward, women lost out; or that women were previously more likely to stand as 'paper candidates', i.e. in unwinnable wards and, because under STV there is less need for such candidates, fewer women stood.

Figure 6 Gender of all candidates, unsuccessful candidates, councillors and population, 2007 (%)

Figure 6 Gender of all candidates, unsuccessful candidates, councillors and population, 2007

Note to figure
*Population figures derived from General Register Office for Scotland ( GRO Scotland) (2007b).
Note: Data source for candidates and councillors: Bochel & Denver (2007, pp.70-72, p.76)

Figure 7 Percentages of females among all candidates and councillors by year of election, 2007

Figure 7 Percentages of females among all candidates and councillors by year of election, 2007

Note to figure
Data source: Bochel & Denver (2007, p.3)
The numbers at the top of each bar are the exact percentages for each year.

2.20 While this means that there has been no increase in the representation of women on Scotland's councils in 2007, those women who did stand in 2007 nevertheless stood a greater chance of success than in the previous two elections (see Table 3). Men also stood a greater chance of success in 2007 compared with previous years due to the smaller number of candidates competing for the same number of councillor positions, however, the gap in the likelihood of men and women being elected if they stood has narrowed as shown in Table 3. There was only 2.6 percentage points difference between the proportion of female and male candidates elected in 2007, whereas the equivalent figures for 1999 and 2003 were 6.1% and 8.5% respectively.

Table 3 Percentage of female and male candidates elected in 1999, 2003 and 2007

1999

2003

2007

Total number of females elected

281

267

267

% of Female candidates elected

26.6

23

44.9

% of Male candidates elected

32.7

31.5

47.5

Note to table
Data source: Bochel & Denver (1999, 2003 and 2007)

2.21 The percentage of female candidates and councillors by their political affiliation is shown in Figure 8. The Greens had the greatest percentage of female candidates (39%), followed by the Liberal Democrats (31.4%) and the SSP (28.6%) and the Conservatives and Solidarity (both 25.3%). All other parties had a smaller percentage of female unsuccessful candidates than the mean percentage among all political affiliations, which was 22.8%. In particular, just 15.4% of Independents and 15.2% of 'Other' parties' candidates were female.

2.22 When we consider those who were elected, the same pattern emerges overall. The Greens have the highest proportion of female councillors (50%) 15, while Liberal Democrats, Conservatives and SNP all have a higher percentage of women councillors than the proportion of female councillors overall (21.8%). Independents have the smallest percentage of female councillors, at 16.6% 16.

Figure 8 Percentage of females among all candidates and among councillors by political affiliation, 2007

Figure 8 Percentage of females among all candidates and among councillors by political affiliation, 2007

Note to figure
Data source: Bochel & Denver (2007, p.71)

The numbers in brackets are the actual numbers of female candidates who stood for election, and the actual numbers of female councillors by political affiliation.

2.23 Among Independents, the Conservatives, Greens, SNP, Solidarity and 'other' parties, a slightly greater percentage of their female candidates were elected than their male candidates. For Labour, the Liberal Democrats, and SSP, the reverse was true (see Figure 8 and Table 4). These results compare favourably with those of 2003, when only the Greens had a higher percentage of women councillors than candidates (Bochel & Denver, 2007).

Table 4 Percentage of females among all candidates and councillors by year of election and political affiliation

Party

All candidates

Councillors

1999

2003

2007

1999

2003

2007*

Independent

17.4

16.0

15.4

15.7

15.2

16.6

Conservatives

31.0

32.3

25.3

27.8

22.8

25.9

Greens

-

-

39.0

50.0

Labour

23.5

25.9

20.3

21.6

20.0

17.5

Liberal Democrats

37.6

37.4

31.4

32.7

32.6

30.1

SNP

24.9

25.0

22.0

24.5

24.9

22.3

SSP

27.0

27.9

28.6

0.0

0.0

0.0

Solidarity

-

-

25.3

-

-

100.0

Other

18.2

13.8

15.2

8.3

0.0

20.0

All political affiliations

26.8

27.7

22.8

23.0

21.8

21.8

Note to table
Data source: Bochel & Denver (2007, p.73)

*The SSP and Solidarity only one seat each, which explains the percentages of 0% and 100% respectively.

Age

2.24 The youngest two respondents to the unsuccessful candidates survey were 18 (the minimum legal age), while the oldest was 87. The age profile of unsuccessful candidates, councillors and the population as a whole (over 18s only) is shown in Figure 9. The 45 to 64 age group are over-represented compared with the total population; 60% of unsuccessful candidates and 68% of councillors belonged to this age bracket compared to only 33% of adults in Scotland. The young are particularly under-represented with only 10% of unsuccessful candidates and 5% of councillors aged 18 to 34, as opposed to 27% of the population. Fourteen percent of unsuccessful candidates and 15% of councillors were aged 65 or over, although 21% of Scotland's adult population are in this age category 17.

2.25 The age profile of unsuccessful candidates has changed since 2003. The range of ages has increased slightly (from 65 to 69 years), which is partly due to the lowering of the minimum age for standing for election from 21 to 18. There has been a 2 percentage point fall in the proportion of retirement-age unsuccessful candidates but the average age of unsuccessful candidates has risen slightly, from 51 years to 52.5, which is attributable to the 10 percentage point rise in the number of candidates aged 55-64.

2.26 In 2007 0.9% (7 councillors) of responding councillors were aged 18-24, but there were none in this age group in 2003. The percentage of councillors aged 65 or over has decreased by 0.9 percentage points since 2003. New councillors were, on average, five years younger than their re-elected counterparts with mean ages of 52 and 57 years respectively, indicating some success for initiatives to bring in younger members, principally the severance package for retiring councillors 18. Nevertheless, the continued prevalence of councillors in the 50-59 age bracket, even amongst new members, meant that overall the average age of councillors has only reduced by one year from 55 to 54.

Figure 9 Age profile of unsuccessful candidates, councillors and the Scottish population, 2003 and 2007 (%)

Figure 9 Age profile of unsuccessful candidates, councillors and the Scottish population, 2003 and 2007

Notes to figure
* Population figures drawn from GRO Scotland (2007a and 2007b).
Unsuccessful candidate figures for 2003 are for over 21s, as this was the lower age limit for standing for election at that time.

Age by gender

2.27 The differences in the age profiles of male and female respondents are small, although unsuccessful female candidates are, on average, slightly older than their male counterparts. Among 18-24 year olds, 4 percentage points fewer women stood for election than men. In all other age categories the percentage of males and females are similar, except for the age group 55-64 years, where 5 percentage points more women stood than men (Table 5).

2.28 Among councillors this difference in average age between genders is reversed, as the men are slightly older than the women. The percentages of male and female councillors in each age category are fairly similar, although the numbers are too small to draw detailed conclusions regarding age patterns.

Table 5 Age profile and average age of unsuccessful candidates and councillors by gender, 2007 (%)

Age

Unsuccessful candidates

Councillors

Male

Female

All

Male

Female

All

18-24 years

5

1

4

1

2

1

25-34 years

6

6

6

4

5

4

35-44 years

17

15

16

11

13

11

45-54 years

21

22

21

28

27

28

55-64 years

37

42

38

40

41

40

65-74 years

13

12

13

14

13

14

75 years and over

2

2

2

1

0

1

Average (mean) age in years

52

54

53

55

53

54

Base

569

205

774

575

165

740

Age by political affiliation

2.29 The average age of unsuccessful candidates varies between parties. The results showed that, in 2007, SSP unsuccessful candidates were the youngest, with a mean age of 43 (Figure 10). Unsuccessful candidates from the Greens and Solidarity have an average age of between 45 and 49, while unsuccessful candidates from the major four parties had average ages of between 52 and 55. Unsuccessful candidates from 'Other' parties and Independents tended to be the oldest (with means of 58 and 55 years respectively).

2.30 Average age by gender and political affiliation is quite varied among unsuccessful candidates and councillors (see Table 6). Among unsuccessful candidates from the Conservatives, Greens, Labour, SNP, SSP and 'Other' parties, female candidates are slightly older on average than male unsuccessful candidates. When we look at councillors, Labour is the only party where the average age of their female councillors is older than that of the men 19.

Table 6 Average (mean) ages of unsuccessful candidates and councillors by political affiliation and gender, 2007

Party

Unsuccessful candidates

Councillors

Male

Female

All

Male

Female

All

Independent

56

54

55

57

55

57

Conservatives

50

56

52

56

55

56

Greens

44

49

46

43

41

42

Labour

51

57

53

54

56

54

Liberal Democrats

55

54

55

57

52

56

SNP

54

56

55

52

50

52

SSP

40

49

43

60

42

54

Solidarity

50

46

49

-

-

-

Other

58

60

58

62

49

59

All political affiliations

52

54

53

55

53

57

Base

569

205

774

575

165

740

Highest educational qualification

2.31 Local Government candidates tend to be considerably more educated in terms of qualifications than the general population. In 2007 52% of unsuccessful candidates and 47% of councillors held a degree, postgraduate qualification and/or professional qualification compared with 24% of the Scottish population (see Table 7).

2.32 They were also less likely than the population to have no formal qualifications - 12% of unsuccessful candidates and 13% of councillors had no or 'other' educational qualifications compared with 25% of the population.

2.33 Comparisons with 2003 data on qualifications are not straightforward as the response options were not the same. The data suggest, however, that there are no noteworthy differences in the educational profiles of unsuccessful candidates and councillors between 2003 and 2007.

Table 7 Highest educational qualification of unsuccessful candidates, councillors and the Scottish population, 2003 and 2007 (%)

Highest Education Qualification

Unsuccessful candidates

Councillors

Population

2003

2007

2003

2007

2007

None*

7

7

13

10

25

Other

7

5

6

3

'O'/Standard Grade, GCSE, SVQ/ NVQ 1/2 or equivalent

8

10

10

12

19

Higher/'A' Level, SVQ/ NVQ 3 or equivalent

9

14

9

15

22

HNC/ HND, SVQ/ NVQ 4 or equivalent

14

13

13

13

10

Degree

39

23

36

26

24

Postgraduate qualification, SVQ/ NVQ 5 or equivalent

10

6

Professional qualification e.g. teaching, accountancy

15

19

13

15

Notes to table
* 'None' for the population, means 'none of the qualifications listed', rather than none at all. For this reason it is compared with both the 'None' and 'Other' categories for the councillor and unsuccessful candidate figures.
Figures taken from Scottish Executive (2007, p.111). Population figures relate to those aged 16-64 years. Comparable data for the population is not available for 2003, due to different questions being asked in 2003.

Highest educational qualification by gender

2.34 The survey results show that, among all candidates, females tend to be more educated than their male counterparts. They are more likely to hold a degree, postgraduate or professional qualification (58% compared to 46%), and are less likely to have no qualifications at all (4% compared to 10%)(see Table 8).

2.35 When we look at unsuccessful candidates and councillors separately we see that this finding is true for both, although the differences in educational attainment between male and female unsuccessful candidates is slightly more marked than between male and female councillors. Sixty percent of female unsuccessful candidates hold a degree, postgraduate or professional qualification compared with 48% of males, while 54% of female councillors hold these qualifications compared with 45% of male councillors. The difference between unsuccessful candidates and councillors can largely be accounted for by the comparatively large proportion of female unsuccessful candidates who hold professional qualifications.

Table 8 Highest educational qualification of unsuccessful candidates and councillors by gender, 2007 (%)

Highest Education Qualification

Unsuccessful candidates

Councillors

All Candidates

Male

Female

All

Male

Female

All

Male

Female

All

None

8

4

7

12

4

10

10

4

8

'O'/Standard Grade, GCSE, SVQ/ NVQ 1/2 or equiv.

11

8

10

13

8

12

12

8

11

Higher/'A' Level, SVQ/ NVQ 3 or equivalent

13

15

14

14

19

15

14

17

15

HNC/ HND, SVQ/ NVQ 4 or equivalent

15

10

13

14

12

13

14

11

13

Degree

23

23

23

25

31

26

24

27

25

Postgraduate qualification, SVQ/ NVQ 5 or equivalent

9

11

10

5

9

6

7

10

8

Professional qualification e.g. teaching, accountancy

16

26

19

14

15

15

15

21

17

Other

5

3

5

3

3

3

4

3

4

Total

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

Base

570

196

766

554

160

714

1124

356

1480

2.36 In 2003, the levels of educational attainment for male and female unsuccessful candidates were more similar, but female councillors had significantly higher qualifications than male councillors.

Ethnic background

2.37 Twenty-six unsuccessful candidates (3.2% of all unsuccessful candidates who responded to this question) stated that they came from non-white or mixed ethnic backgrounds. Of these, one stood as an Independent, four for the Conservatives, eleven for Labour, five for the Liberal Democrats, two for the SSP and three for Solidarity. The highest proportion of non-white unsuccessful candidates were of Pakistani background (ten in total).

2.38 Figures from the elected members' survey show that the percentage of non-white councillors is similar to the proportion among Scotland's population at around 2%, as 14 councillors indicated that they were of another ethnic background. However, this is due to the relatively high percentage of councillors who stated they were of mixed background.

2.39 If we exclude respondents who stated they were of 'mixed' backgrounds the picture is less representative. Among the Scottish population, 1.9% have ethnic minority (excluding mixed) backgrounds, compared with 2.7% of unsuccessful candidates and 1% of councillors. While the numbers are extremely small, Table 9, below, shows that, from the data collected in these surveys, most of Scotland's ethnic minorities are represented among candidates but only candidates from the Indian and Pakistani communities were actually elected to become councillors. Of these, all are male councillors.

2.40 Since 2003 the proportion of responding unsuccessful candidates from non-white backgrounds has increased from 2% to 3.2%. However the percentage of responding councillors of non-white backgrounds has remained similar, as it was 2% in 2003 compared to 1.9% in 2007.

Table 9 Ethnic background of unsuccessful candidates, councillors and the Scottish population, 2003 and 2007 (%)

Ethnicity

Unsuccessful candidate %

Councillor %*

Population %

2003

2007

2007

2003

2007

White

98.0

96.7

98.1

98.5

98.0

Mixed

Included in 'Other'

0.6

0.9

0.2

0.1

Indian

0.3

0.5

0.3

0.1

0.4

Pakistani

0.6

1.3

0.4

0.4

0.6

Bangladeshi

0.1

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.1

Chinese

0.0

0.1

0.0

0.1

0.2

Other Asian

0.2

0.0

0.0

0.3

0.3

Black Caribbean

0.1

0.1

0.0

0.0

0.0

Black African

0.2

0.4

0.0

0.2

0.2

Black Other

0.1

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

Other

0.5

0.3

0.3

0.1

0.1

Notes to Table
Detailed 2003 data for councillors is not available
Note: Figures for population from Scottish Executive (2007, p.9).

2.41 Although the ethnicity of unsuccessful candidates is fairly representative of the population across Scotland, a closer inspection of the data shows that 8 of the 26 ethnic minority candidates stood in one council: Glasgow. This is to be expected as Glasgow has the largest ethnic minority population among Scotland's local authorities. Other than Glasgow, only Fife had more than two candidates from a non-white ethnic background and many local authorities had one or none, although proportionately this may reflect their local population structure. This sub-national variation requires further exploration than has been possible here.

Marital / Civil Partnership Status

2.42 Councillors elected in 2007 are more likely to be married or in a civil partnership than unsuccessful candidates but both are considerably more likely to have this status than the wider population (20 and 9 percentage points more likely respectively)(see Table 10). This is likely to be due to the over-representation of the 45-64 age group as marital status in the population follows clear age patterns (Scottish Executive 2007, p.13).

2.43 Compared to the population, 14 percentage points fewer councillors and 5 percentage points fewer unsuccessful candidates are single or cohabiting.

2.44 The results between 2003 and 2007 are reasonably similar. Councillors are more likely to be single or cohabiting in 2007 than in 2003, and 6 percentage points fewer are married or in a civil partnership.

Table 10 Marital status of unsuccessful candidates, councillors and the Scottish population, 2003 and 2007 (%)

Marital status

Unsuccessful candidates

Councillors

Population

2003

2007

2003

2007

2003

2007

Single / never been married*

23

15

10

9

20

20

Cohabiting / living together

9

6

7

9

Married / in a civil partnership

63

62

79

73

55

53

Separated

2

3

4

3

3

3

Divorced / dissolved civil partnership

7

8

5

5

5

6

Widowed / bereaved civil partner

5

4

4

5

10

9

* Single / never been married includes cohabiting / living together in 2003 data for unsuccessful candidates and councillors
Notes: Figures for population from Scottish Executive (2003b, p.12 and 2007, p.12).
Figures for population relate to those aged 16 and over.

Housing Tenure

2.45 The great majority of local government candidates in 2007 owned their home, either outright or with a mortgage. Councillors (89%) were more likely to do so than unsuccessful candidates (78%), but both were more likely to own their own home than the general Scottish population (65%).

2.46 The surveys also found that, while 25% of the general Scottish population rent from a local authority or housing association, only 9% of unsuccessful candidates and even fewer councillors (5%) do. Relatively small numbers rent from private landlords or live with relatives in their home.

Table 11 Housing tenure of unsuccessful candidates, councillors and the Scottish population, 2003 and 2007 (%)

Housing tenure

Unsuccessful candidates

Councillors

Population

2003

2007

2003

2007

2003

2007

Owns home outright

36

37

45

45

27

29

Owns home with mortgage

46

41

44

44

38

36

Pays part rent and part mortgage (shared ownership)*

N/A

0.3

N/A

1

N/A

N/A

Rents from a local authority

6

6

6

3

20

17

Rents from a Housing Association

2

3

2

2

7

8

Rents from a private landlord

5

6

2

4

6

7

Lives with relatives in their home†

4

4

2

2

N/A

N/A

Other

N/A

3

N/A

1

2

2

Notes to Table
Not asked in 2003 surveys of councillors and unsuccessful candidates, nor for population
† Not applicable for population data as results relate to households not individuals
Note: Figures for population from Scottish Executive (2003b, p.20 and 2007, p.22).

Long-term Illness, Health Problem or Disability

2.47 Figure 10 shows that just over 25% of unsuccessful candidates who responded to the survey reported that they had a long-term illness, health problem or disability, and just over half of these (14% of respondents) stated that the illness or disability limited their activities in some way. Councillors were less likely than unsuccessful candidates to suffer from long-term illness, health problems or a disability and both were significantly less likely to do so than the general Scottish population. Of councillors, 18% reported having a long-term illness, health problem or disability and 6% (one third of those reporting illness or disability) stated that this limited their activities. Across Scotland, 42% of people have long-standing health issues and over half of these (27%) report that it limits their activities.

2.48 The proportions of unsuccessful candidates, councillors and the general population suffering from non-limiting long-term illness, health problem or disability are broadly similar (11%, 12% and 15% respectively). As can be seen in Figure 10, the key differences are in the proportions suffering limiting illnesses or disabilities. A more detailed exploration of issues around and potential barriers to participation in local government for those with long term illness and/or disability was not possible within the scope of this survey but would be beneficial. While the intensive work involved in campaigning for election and serving as a councillor may mean the lower percentage of candidates and councillors with a long-term health issue is (arguably) to be expected, it remains clear that these groups are under-represented among councillors in particular and an investigation of whether and how this might be addressed should perhaps be considered. Another probable factor is the under-representation of retirement-age people among unsuccessful candidates and councillors, because people in this age category are more likely to suffer illness, health problems or disability than those in younger age groups.

Figure 10 Long-term illness/health problems/disability among unsuccessful candidates, councillors and the Scottish population, 2007 (%)

Figure 10 Long-term illness/health problems/disability among unsuccessful candidates, councillors and the Scottish population, 2007

Note to Figure
Figures for population from Scottish Executive (2003c, p.214).

2.49 Comparing these figures with those of 2003 is not possible, as the survey questions for 2007 were altered from the 2003 questionnaire to be compatible with questions in the Scottish Health Survey to continue to allow comparisons to be made with the wider population.

Long-term illness, health problem or disability by gender

2.50 Breaking down these figures by gender and age, we find that male unsuccessful candidates are slightly more likely to suffer from a long-term health issue or disability than females (26.9% and 20.5% respectively). The same is true of councillors, as 19.7% of male councillors suffer from a long-term health issue or disability compared to 11.8% of female councillors.

Long-term illness, health problem or disability by age

2.51 Age is the best indicator in predicting illness, as shown in Table 12. The percentage of unsuccessful candidates suffering ill health or disability increases steadily with age (with the exception of the 18 to 24 year old category, where the figure is over 20% - but it must be noted that this is based on a small number of cases). Over a third of unsuccessful candidates aged 65 or over reported that they suffer from ill health.

2.52 Health issues among councillors also increase with age, although there is a dip among councillors aged 65-74.

Table 12 Long-term illness, health problem or disability among unsuccessful candidates and councillors by age category, 2007 (%)

Age category

Unsuccessful candidates

Councillors

18-24

21.1

0

25-34

9.3

3.1

35-44

13.6

11.0

45-54

23.3

18.1

55-64

29.7

23.8

65-74

35.1

10.8

75 and over

50.0

50.0

Base

781

744

2.53 The increase in long-standing health problems, illness or disability with age also occurs in the population, but in the wider population almost two-thirds of people aged 65 or above have long-term health issues, compared to 37% of unsuccessful candidates, and 13.7% of councillors.

Long-term illness, health problem or disability by political affiliation

2.54 Comparisons by political affiliation show some variations across parties (Figure 11). 'Other' party and Solidarity unsuccessful candidates are the most likely to suffer from illness or disability (35.3% and 33.3%), while the Conservatives, SSP and Green respondents are the least (18.9%, 19.6% and 20% respectively). For the most part, the parties with older unsuccessful candidates tend to have a higher percentage with ill health, but the pattern is not completely clear, as Conservatives have the lowest percentage of ill health (18.9%) but their mean age is about the same as the mean age of respondents overall.

2.55 Among councillors, there is no apparent pattern of increased illness/health problems/disability among those from parties with a higher average age, but this may be due to the small numbers of councillors from smaller parties, since councillors from the four major parties and Independents have a similar average age.

Figure 11 Long-term illness/health problems/disability among unsuccessful candidates and councillors by political affiliation, 2007 (%)(n=781, 744)

Figure 11 Long-term illness/health problems/disability among unsuccessful candidates and councillors by political affiliation, 2007

Note to Table
SSP and Solidarity won one seat each so councillor data is not included for these parties

Care Responsibilities

2.56 Just under a quarter (23.8%) of unsuccessful candidates care for or live with children aged 0 to 16 years. Breaking the results down by the age of the children, 7.5% of all unsuccessful candidates have children aged under five, 10.8% have children aged between 5 and 11, and 12.9% have children aged 12 to 16 20. In addition, 16.7% of unsuccessful candidates care for someone who is elderly, sick or disabled (Table 13).

Table 13 Care responsibilities of unsuccessful candidates and councillors, 2003 and 2007 (%)

Responsibility

Unsuccessful candidates

Councillors

2003

2007

2003

2007

Any children 0-16

N/A

23.8

N/A

23.0

Children 12-16

24.4

12.9

16.1

14.0

Children 5-11

10.8

9.8

Children under 5

5.6

7.5

3.1

5.4

Sick/Elderly/Disabled (2007 survey)
Elderly/Other (2003 survey)*

11.4

16.7

7.5

12.7

Both

Not available

4.3

Not available

2.5

None

65.9

64.1

73.2

66.3

Notes to Table

Comparisons are not directly possible due to differently worded questions in 2003 and 2007 survey, so figures are indicative only.
Figures do not add up to 100% due to multiple responses.

2.57 The same proportion of councillors have children aged 0-16, although 2.1 percentage points fewer have children under 5, which may be related to councillors' slightly older average age. Fewer councillors than unsuccessful candidates look after adults who are sick, elderly or disabled.

2.58 Direct comparisons with the Scottish population are not possible as the Scottish Household Survey asks about dependent children in the household rather than care responsibilities.

2.59 When it comes to caring for someone elderly, sick or disabled as 88% of the Scottish population (Scottish Executive 2007, p.185) do not have such responsibilities, compared with 83.3% of unsuccessful candidates. Therefore, it seems that unsuccessful candidates are more likely to be caring for someone sick, elderly or disabled than the wider population (aged 16 and above). Again, this is probably due to the age profile of unsuccessful candidates - the 45-64 year old age group are over-represented, and they are more likely to have elderly spouses, friends and/or relatives requiring care.

2.60 Unlike unsuccessful candidates, councillors are about as likely to be looking after someone who is sick, elderly or disabled as those in the wider population.

2.61 Since 2003 the percentage of unsuccessful candidates with no care responsibilities has stayed about the same, but the percentage of councillors with no care responsibilities has fallen. Both unsuccessful candidates and councillors are now more likely to have children under 5, despite both groups getting older on average. The wording in the 2003 survey regarding caring for adults was slightly different, but the data suggests that, in 2007, a greater percentage of both unsuccessful candidates and councillors are caring for someone who is sick, elderly or disabled. This suggests it may be becoming easier for councillors to combine these roles but this would require further exploration.

Care responsibilities by gender

2.62 There was little difference in the percentage of male and female unsuccessful candidates with care responsibilities of any kind - 35.3% and 37.8% respectively - which is similar to the 2003 data. However, since unsuccessful candidates were asked "Do you live with, or have responsibility for, any children?" this does not necessarily indicate that men and women share children's care equally.

2.63 As Figure 12 shows, when specifically asked about caring for someone who is sick, elderly or disabled, unsuccessful females are about 5 percentage points more likely than unsuccessful male candidates to have such responsibilities. In addition, 2.6 percentage points more female unsuccessful candidates than males were living with children as well as caring for someone elderly, sick or disabled (3.5% of men compared to 6.1% of women are in this situation).

2.64 Fewer female councillors than males have children aged 0-16 years, although slightly more women councillors have children aged under 5. Like female unsuccessful candidates, women councillors are more likely to be looking after someone who is sick, elderly or disabled, and are more likely to be looking after both children and someone with a health issue.

Figure 12 Care responsibilities of unsuccessful candidates and councillors by gender, 2007 (%)

Figure 12 Care responsibilities of unsuccessful candidates and councillors by gender, 2007

Care responsibilities by age

2.65 There are age variations in care responsibilities, as shown by Table 14. For example, unsuccessful candidates in the age group 25-34 are the most likely to have children aged under 5, whereas those aged 55 to 64 are the most likely to have care responsibilities for the elderly, sick or disabled (as might be expected since these candidates' spouses, relatives and/or friends are more likely to be ill as they get older). Those aged 35-54 are the most likely to be caring for both children and someone who is sick, elderly or disabled, so may require extra support when campaigning.

Table 14 Care responsibilities of unsuccessful candidates by age category, 2007 (%)(n=755)

Responsibility

Age Category

18-24

25-34

35-44

45-54

55-64

65-74

75 +

Any children 0-16

15

29

58

37

10

3

7

Children 12-16

12

4

23

29

5

2

0

Children 5-11

0

11

36

15

3

1

7

Children under 5

3

27

23

5

3

1

0

Sick/elderly/disabled

0

14

13

17

22

12

33

Both child(ren) and sick/elderly/disabled

0

2

8

8

2

0

8

None

85

61

39

53

71

86

67

2.66 The care responsibilities of councillors follow a different age pattern (see Table 15). The age range when councillors are most likely to have children under 5 is broader (25-44 rather than 25-34) and it is councillors aged 35-44 who are most likely to be caring for someone who is sick, elderly or disabled. One similarity is that councillors aged 35-44 are the most likely to be caring for a child as well someone who is sick, elderly or disabled.

Table 15 Care responsibilities of councillors by age category, 2007 (%)(n=747)

Responsibility

Age Category

18-24

25-34

35-44

45-54

55-64

65-74

75 +

Any children 0-16

17

28

64

36

9

5

0

Children 12-16

17

0

27

28

7

4

0

Children 5-11

0

7

39

12

4

1

0

Children under 5

0

23

22

3

2

2

0

Sick/elderly/disabled

0

3

12

11

15

14

0

Both child(ren) and sick/elderly/disabled

0

0

5

4

4

0

0

None

83

71

29

57

78

82

100

2.67 The pattern of age and care responsibilities has not changed greatly since 2003. However, a higher percentage of unsuccessful candidates aged 25-34 have children under five (this figure was roughly a fifth in 2003, but is a quarter in 2007). Older unsuccessful candidates are also more likely to have children under 5 than in 2003. This may relate to a trend in the wider population for having children at a later age. ( ONS, 2005).

Care responsibilities by political affiliation

2.68 As Figure 13 shows, there is also some variation in care responsibilities by political affiliation. Green and SSP unsuccessful candidates are considerably more likely to have children (particularly young children), which reflects their younger age profile. Labour candidates are most likely to have children aged between 12 and 16, while the SNP are the least likely to have any caring responsibilities.

Figure 13 Care responsibilities of unsuccessful candidates by political affiliation, 2007 (%)(n=755)

Figure 13 Care responsibilities of unsuccessful candidates by political affiliation, 2007

Employment Status

2.69 The majority (65%) of unsuccessful candidates are in employment, whether this is full-time, part-time or self employment. Almost a fifth of unsuccessful candidates are retired. The remaining respondents are unemployed, permanently sick or disabled, in education, looking after the home or not working for another reason (Table 16).

Table 16 Employment status of unsuccessful candidates, councillors and Scottish population, 2003 and 2007 (%)

Employment status

Unsuccessful candidates

Councillors

Population

2003

2007

2003

2007†

2003

2007

Full-time employed

39

36

49*

25

36

36

Part-time employed

9

11

10

14

11

11

Self-employed

16

18

19

20

5

5

Unemployed and seeking work

4

6

1

2

3

3

Permanently retired from work

23

19

19

26

26

27

In full-time education

2

3

1

0.3

5

5

Permanently sick or disabled

3

2

1

1

5

5

Looking after the home or family

3

2

1

4

8

7

Unable to work due to short-term illness

N/A

1

N/A

0.3

1

1

Other

2

1

0.1

7

1

0

Notes to Table
Includes 26% who state their occupation as full-time councillor.
† 2007 figures for councillors relate to paid employment other than duties as an elected member, although 53.8% of councillors who indicated 'Other' added comments regarding their council duties.
Notes: Figures for population from Scottish Executive (2003b, p.64 and 2007, p.82). Figures for population relate to those aged 16 and over.

2.70 The majority (59%) of councillors are also in employment, although about a quarter (26%) are retired. However, from the figures in Table 16 it appears that 11 percentage points fewer councillors are in full-time employment than unsuccessful candidates, which is likely to be due to the intensive work involved in being a councillor. Councillors are more likely to be in part-time work or self-employed, and are considerably less likely to be seeking work or in education. Compared to unsuccessful candidates, 7 percentage points more councillors are retired. A considerably higher percentage of councillors stated their employment status as 'Other', but their comments reveal that in 53.8% of cases this is related to their position as councillors.

2.71 Using figures from the Scottish Household Survey (Scottish Executive 2007, p.82) we are able to compare these figures with the wider population (Table 15), although caution must be used as these figures are for adults over 16 in the sample households, whereas candidates are required to be at least 18 years old.

2.72 The proportions of unsuccessful candidates and the public in full-time or part-time employment are similar, but unsuccessful candidates are more likely to be self-employed. Unsuccessful candidates are less likely to be retired, permanently disabled or looking after the home than the wider population, although they are more likely to be unemployed. The higher percentage of the wider population in full-time education should not be considered significant, as the population data includes 16 and 17 year olds, who are too young to have stood as candidates. The pattern for councillors is reasonably similar, except that 11 percentage points fewer councillors are in full-time employment, and fewer councillors are unemployed and seeking work than people in the wider population.

2.73 The higher percentage of self-employed unsuccessful candidates and councillors may be due to the time commitment and flexibility required to campaign for election and/or serve as a councillor.

2.74 A considerably higher proportion of the population are economically inactive than unsuccessful candidates or councillors (48% compared to 33% and 34% respectively) (Scottish Executive 2007, p.82). These differences may be largely explained by two factors: 1) the disproportionate numbers of unsuccessful candidates who are males, when it is women who generally look after the home and/or family in the wider population; 2) the over-representation of unsuccessful candidates aged 45-64, as this age group is unlikely to be in full-time education, is yet to reach retirement age, and is arguably less likely to be ill.

2.75 Since 2003, there have been changes in the employment profile of unsuccessful candidates. The percentage of unsuccessful candidates who were retired declined from almost a quarter to just under a fifth, which can be explained by the altered age profile of respondents. Perhaps due to the Scottish Government policy of making the position of councillor paid, or perhaps because parties fielded fewer paper candidates 21, the percentage of unemployed respondents has increased. Finally, although the percentage of unsuccessful candidates in full-time education is very small, it has increased by half again since 2003, which may be due to the minimum age limit for candidates being lowered from 21 to 18.

2.76 The employment profile of councillors has also changed, but this may be due to differences between the 2003 and 2007 Councillor questionnaires, which would make any comparison inconclusive. In 2007, councillors were asked to complete this question with reference to paid employment other than being a councillor, but in 2003 councillors were not asked to do this.

Employment Status by gender

2.77 Breaking down employment status by gender shows that 67% of male unsuccessful candidates were in employment, compared to 58% of women (Table 16). Of unsuccessful candidates in employment, female respondents were more likely to be in part-time employment and males were more likely to be self employed or in full-time employment. Female unsuccessful candidates were also more likely to be retired than their male counterparts and women constituted the majority of those unsuccessful candidates looking after the home or family. There was little difference by gender across the remaining categories (Table 17).

2.78 Gender differences in employment status are similar for councillors, as 61% of males are employed compared to 55% of female councillors. Male councillors are more likely to be in full-time work or self-employed than females, and women are more likely to be working part-time or looking after the home and/or family. One difference from the unsuccessful candidate data discussed above is that female councillors are less likely to be retired than their male counterparts, which is related to their lower average age.

Table 17 Employment status of unsuccessful candidates and councillors by gender, 2007 (%)

Employment status

Unsuccessful candidates (n=783)

Councillors* (n=715)

Males

Females

Males

Females

Full-time employed

40

28

27

21

Part-time employed

8

19

13

20

Self-employed

20

12

22

15

Unemployed and seeking work

7

6

2

1

Permanently retired from work

17

24

27

22

In full-time education

3

3

0

0

Permanently sick or disabled

3

1

1

1

Looking after the home or family

1

8

1

15

Unable to work due to short-term illness

1

1

0

1

Other

1

1

8

6

Note to Table
2007 figures for councillors relate to paid employment other than duties as an elected member, although 55.6% of female councillors and 53.5% of male councillors who indicated 'Other' added comments regarding their council duties.

Employment Status by political affiliation

2.79 As shown by Figure 14, the Greens and the SSP have the greatest proportion of unsuccessful candidates in full-time employment, while Independent and 'Other' party respondents are particularly likely to be self-employed (as farmers, for example). The Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and 'Other' parties have the highest proportion of unsuccessful candidates who are permanently retired from work. Other differences are the high proportion of SSP candidates in full-time education (probably due to their young average age) and the higher proportion of unemployed unsuccessful candidates among Labour and Solidarity respondents.

Figure 14 Employment status of unsuccessful candidates by political affiliation, 2007 (%)(n=783)

Figure 14 Employment status of unsuccessful candidates by political affiliation, 2007

Current or Most Recent Employment Category

2.80 The highest percentage (almost 30%) of unsuccessful candidates are in modern professional occupations such as software design. A further 15.1% are in more traditional professional occupations, such as being a doctor, and 13.6% are senior managers or administrators. Only 10.8% of unsuccessful candidates are in routine or semi-routine manual occupations. The remainder are fairly evenly split between technical and craft roles (such as farming), middle or junior management positions and clerical or intermediate occupations (Figure 15).

2.81 Councillors also tend to be concentrated in modern (28.9%) or traditional (15.7%) professional occupations, but are even more likely to be in senior manager/administrator roles than unsuccessful candidates (19.2% compared to 13.6%). The majority of remaining councillors are in intermediate or clerical occupations (10%), middle or junior management roles (7.8%) or technical/craft occupations (7.8%).

2.82 Comparisons with 2003 figures are not possible as a different categorisation system has been used for the 2007 survey.

Figure 15 Employment category of unsuccessful candidates and councillors, 2007 (%)

Figure 15 Employment category of unsuccessful candidates and councillors, 2007

Note: Figures for councillors relate to employment other than duties as an elected member.

Employment category by gender

2.83 Of female unsuccessful candidates, 14 percentage points more are in modern professional occupations compared to their male counterparts, but the percentages of men and women in traditional professional occupations are similar. Men are over three times more likely to be in manual or technical and craft occupations, whereas women are three times as likely to be in clerical and intermediate roles. Males are slightly more likely to be in senior manager or administrator roles, but the percentages of men and women in middle or junior management positions are about the same (Table 18).

Table 18 Employment category of unsuccessful candidates and councillors by gender, 2007 (%)

Employment category

Unsuccessful candidates (n=767)

Councillors* (n=688)

Males

Females

Males

Females

Modern professional occupations

26

40

27

37

Traditional professional occupations

15

14

18

7

Clerical and intermediate occupations

6

18

7

21

Senior managers or administrators

15

10

19

19

Technical and craft occupations

12

2

10

1

Semi-routine manual and service occupations

8

3

6

6

Routine manual and service occupations

5

1

2

1

Middle or junior managers

10

9

9

5

Other (including never been in paid employment)

2

3

2

3

Note to Figure
Figures for councillors relate to employment other than duties as an elected member.

2.84 The proportion of councillors in each employment category does not follow the same pattern as that of unsuccessful candidates. There are similarities, since female councillors are also most likely to be in modern professional roles followed by clerical/intermediate occupations. However, in contrast to the unsuccessful candidate figures, male councillors are considerably more likely to be in traditional professional occupations than females, and the proportions of men and women who are senior managers/administrators are the same.

Current or Most Recent Employment Sector

2.85 A considerable proportion (46.7%) of employed unsuccessful candidates come from the public sector, while 40.3% work in the private sector. More specifically, sizable proportions work in local government and education (16.3% and 12.1% respectively) while 9.7% are employed by voluntary organisations.

Figure 16 Employment sector of unsuccessful candidates and councillors, 2003 and 2007 (%)

Figure 16 Employment sector of unsuccessful candidates and councillors, 2003 and 2007

Note to Figure
2007 figures for councillors relate to employment other than duties as an elected member, although 2.4% councillors have never been in other paid employment.

2.86 The proportions of councillors in each employment sector are similar to those of unsuccessful candidates, but councillors are 6.9 percentage points more likely to work in the private sector. Although 3.5 percentage points more councillors work in local government than unsuccessful candidates, this may be partly due to their status as elected members since 2.4% of councillors have never been in any other paid employment.

2.87 Directly comparable data for the population is not available, but Labour Force Survey results for Scotland show that 70% of Scottish employees work for the private sector (Office of National Statistics ( ONS) 2007b). Therefore, unsuccessful candidates and councillors are considerably more likely to be employed in the public, voluntary and 'Other' sectors than the wider population (Figure 17).

Figure 17 Employment sector of unsuccessful candidates, councillors and the Scottish population, 2007 (%)

Figure 17 Employment sector of unsuccessful candidates, councillors and the Scottish population, 2007

Notes to figure:
Figures for councillors relate to employment other than duties as an elected member, although 2.4% of councillors have never been in other paid employment.
† Data for population drawn from ONS (2007b)

2.88 In 2003 over 57% of unsuccessful candidates worked in the private sector, compared to 40% in 2007. This is particularly interesting given the decline in the percentage of female unsuccessful candidates, who are (and were) more likely to work in the public or voluntary sectors. Furthermore, the percentage of candidates working for central government has also fallen, while the percentage of unsuccessful candidates working for local government has risen by over 10 percentage points.

2.89 The fall in the percentage of unsuccessful candidates from the private sector may be due to a decline in the number of paper candidates though this cannot be confirmed here. In previous elections, parties may have been more likely to ask private sector employees to stand as paper candidates, as they are more likely to work long hours than public sector workers which might have prevented them campaigning and actually sitting as a councillor. This data suggests this may be a valid explanation since the proportion of councillors in the private sector has remained about the same, which suggests there has been little change in successfully standing for election between candidates from different employment sectors.

Employment sector by gender

2.90 A considerably higher proportion of male unsuccessful candidates work in the private sector than females - 45% of men compared to 28% of women. This is principally due to the higher proportion of female unsuccessful candidates working in education, the NHS and the voluntary sector (as the proportions of male and female respondents working in other parts of the public sector are about the same) (Table 19).

2.91 Forty one percent of female councillors work in the private sector. By comparison 28% of unsuccessful female candidates work in the private sector, which may suggest a higher rate of election success for women employed in the private sector than those working in the public or voluntary sectors but further research would be required to ascertain whether it is the fact that they work in the private sector that is the key factor or some other factor.

2.92 Among councillors, the proportion of males in the private sector is also higher than that of females, but gender differences do not match those of unsuccessful candidates across all the sectors. Women councillors are more likely to be working in local government than men, and they are less likely to be working in central government or in 'Other' parts of the public sector, whereas the proportions of unsuccessful men and women are similar for all three categories.

Table 19 Employment sector of unsuccessful candidates and councillors by gender, 2007 (%)

Employment sector

Unsuccessful candidates

Councillors*

Males

Females

Males

Females

Local government

16

16

14

18

Central government

3

4

9

5

NHS

5

10

3

6

Education

9

20

7

12

Other public sector

9

9

8

6

Private sector

45

28

49

41

Voluntary sector

9

12

6

10

Other

4

1

4

3

Note to Table
Figures for councillors relate to employment other than duties as an elected member, although there may be incidents of respondent error.

Hours Worked

2.93 On average (median), employed male unsuccessful candidates work 37 hours a week, and females work 35 hours per week. Female unsuccessful candidates are much more likely to work part-time than males; just under half (45%) work 30 hours or less a week compared to around a fifth of male respondents. At the other end of the spectrum, 20% of employed male unsuccessful candidates and 6% of females work long hours (49 hours or above) (see Table 20).

Table 20 Hours worked per week by unsuccessful candidates, councillors and the Scottish population by gender, 2007 (%)

Hours worked per week

Unsuccessful candidates

Councillors*

Population†

Males

Females

Males

Females

Males

Females

Between 1 and 15 hours

6

13

15

31

5

13

Between 16 and 30 hours

14

33

41

41

6

28

Between 31 and 37 hours

30

32

18

20

39

42

Between 38 and 48 hours

30

17

21

5

41

15

49 hours or more

20

6

5

3

8

1

Notes to Table
Figures do not include elected member duties.
† Population figures drawn from ONS (2007a).
Note: figures refer to those in paid employment.

2.94 Councillors were asked regarding their working hours for paid employment, other than their duties as an elected member. The median of weekly hours for men is 30, and the median for women is 22 hours. The differences between male and female councillors' working hours follow a similar pattern to those of unsuccessful candidates, as women are more likely to be working 15 hours a week or less, and are less likely to be working 38 hours or more. However, there is an exception, as similar proportions of male and female councillors work between 16 and 30 hours per week, whereas for unsuccessful candidates these hours are much more common among females.

2.95 Comparing this data with the population shows that male unsuccessful candidates and councillors work shorter hours than men in the population as a whole (who work a median of 38 hours per week). Female unsuccessful candidates work the same hours as women in the population (35 hours), but female councillors work fewer hours before their elected member duties are taken into account. The median only shows part of the picture however, as higher percentages of both male and female unsuccessful candidates work short hours (30 or less) and long hours (over 49) than the population as a whole.

2.96 The Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings 2006 shows that UK public sector employees have shorter working hours and do less paid overtime than private sector employees ( ONS 2007a). This may help to explain the slightly shorter average (median) hours of male unsuccessful candidates as they are less likely to work in the private sector than Scottish men in general. Labour Force Survey ( ONS 2007b) figures show that 79.5% of the male population work in the private sector compared to just 44.6% of unsuccessful candidates. Councillors also have their elected member duties in addition to these median hours, so their shorter working hours are likely to be necessary so they can also fulfil their elected member and personal responsibilities.

2.97 Since 2003, average hours worked has fallen for both male and female unsuccessful candidates and councillors (although this has been calculated using a mean average, as this was how the 2003 data was presented). This may be a result of parties fielding fewer candidates in this election, as perhaps only those who have more time are encouraged to stand by their parties.

Annual Household Gross Income

2.98 A quarter of unsuccessful candidates live in households with incomes over £40,000 per annum. At the other end of the spectrum, one-third of unsuccessful candidates live in households with a gross annual income of £20,000 or less, while for over 10% this figure is equal to or under £10,000 (Figure 18).

2.99 Direct comparisons between the household incomes of unsuccessful candidates and councillors are problematic since councillors were asked to omit their councillor remuneration and expenses. Councillors are more likely to be working part-time and are more likely to be retired than unsuccessful candidates, which results in them having a lower household income than unsuccessful candidates (Figure 19).

Figure 18 Annual household gross income of unsuccessful candidates, 2007 (%)

Figure 17 Employment sector of unsuccessful candidates, councillors and the Scottish population, 2007

Note to figure
Gross income = income from all sources before tax/ NI deductions.

Figure 19 Annual household gross income of councillors, 2007 (%)

Figure 19 Annual household gross income of councillors, 2007

Note to figure
Gross income = income from all sources before tax/ NI deductions.

2.100 The Scottish Household Survey (Scottish Executive 2007, pp.141-142) provides us with net household income data which can be used to demonstrate that unsuccessful candidates are less likely to be living in low-income households. The results from the Scottish Household Survey show that 25% of Scottish households have a net income of £10,000 or less. The closest comparable gross figure (from the surveys of unsuccessful candidates and councillors) is £15,000, though after tax this works out at slightly higher than £10,000. Of unsuccessful candidates, 21.5% live in households with gross incomes of £15,000 or less, compared to the 25% of the population who live in households with net incomes of £10,000 or less, so fewer unsuccessful candidates live in households at the lowest end of the income distribution.

2.101 Although there are difficulties in comparing councillors' incomes with those of the population (as discussed above), it is possible to observe that the gross basic pay for a councillor (£15,452) by itself means that councillors have higher individual incomes than the 25% of households in Scotland with incomes of £10,000 or less, even after tax.

2.102 Salaries of unsuccessful candidates and councillors for 2007 cannot be compared with those of 2003, since both groups were asked regarding their individual income in 2003, rather than their household income.

2.103 The fact that unsuccessful candidates are less likely to be living in the lowest-income households would suggest that the policy of paying councillors has not been effective in encouraging people from lower income groups to stand for election. However, this point is arguable as the effect of providing the salary could be seen as making it possible for anybody to be able to afford to stand, with the loss of income from elsewhere being better cushioned that the previous system would have allowed. In addition, since 9.5% of both unsuccessful candidates and councillors included 'the position of councillor is paid' as one of their reasons for standing (Figures 22 and 23), and the percentage of unsuccessful candidates who are unemployed has doubled since 2003, it appears that the salary has had some effect in encouraging people to stand.

Annual household gross income by gender

2.104 Variations in household income between men and women are slight (Figures 20 and 21), as the proportion of male and female unsuccessful candidates with household gross incomes below £10,000 per annum varies by just 0.1 percentage point difference. Where a household has an income of over £40,000 per annum the gender difference is also slight, as just 1 percentage point fewer women live in such high-income households.

2.105 The councillor data shows that the gender differences in councillors' household incomes are also small. There are 1.1 percentage points more female councillors living in households with gross incomes of £10,000 or less, but there are also 3.2 percentage points more females living in households with gross incomes over £40,000.

2.106 Since we do not know the percentage of Scotland's low-income households which are occupied by women, it is difficult to compare female unsuccessful candidates' and councillors' household incomes with those of the population. However, since 58.2% of households with net incomes of £10,000 or less are headed by a female (and 80.4% of these low income households are occupied by a single person), the available data suggests that women in the wider population are more likely to live in low-income households than men. This would suggest that women with low incomes are more likely than men not to be fully represented among unsuccessful candidates and councillors, and therefore do not have a voice in local government.

Figure 20 Annual household gross income of female unsuccessful candidates, 2007 (%)

Figure 20 Annual household gross income of female unsuccessful candidates, 2007

Note to figure
Gross income = income from all sources before tax/ NI deductions.

Figure 21 Annual household gross income of male unsuccessful candidates, 2007 (%)

Figure 21 Annual household gross income of male unsuccessful candidates, 2007

Note to figure
Gross income = income from all sources before tax/ NI deductions.

Annual household gross income by age

2.107 Turning to the variation in candidates' household incomes at different ages, the data shows that income tends to peak in the 25-34 age bracket (Table 21). Only 3% of unsuccessful candidates aged under 25 are in the highest income bracket, as compared to 36% of candidates aged 25 to 34. Retirement-age respondents (over 65) are less likely to be earning over £40,000 per annum than those in all other age groups apart from 18-24 year olds who are considerably more likely to earn £10,000 or less.

Table 21 Annual household gross income of unsuccessful candidates by age category, 2007 (%)(n=714)

Age Category

£0 - £5,000

£5,001 - £10,000

£10,001 - £15,000

£15,001 - £20,000

£20,001 - £25,000

£25,001 - £30,000

£30,001 - £35,000

£35,001 - £40,000

Over £40,000

18-24

13

17

23

10

17

0

13

3

3

25-34

2

7

9

9

14

9

11

2

36

35-44

4

5

7

7

14

11

14

9

29

45-54

1

4

9

12

16

9

7

12

30

55-64

3

9

11

14

13

11

10

6

23

65-74

0

13

14

9

17

8

13

6

20

75 +

0

20

20

10

10

10

0

10

20

All ages

3

8

11

11

14

10

11

7

25

Note to table
Gross income = income from all sources before tax/ NI deductions.

2.108 Councillors' household incomes appear to follow similar age patterns (Table 22).

Table 22 Annual household gross annual income of councillors by age category, 2007 (%)(n=686)

Age Category

£0 - £5,000

£5,001 - £10,000

£10,001 - £15,000

£15,001 - £20,000

£20,001 - £25,000

£25,001 - £30,000

£30,001 - £35,000

£35,001 - £40,000

Over £40,000

18-24

29

14

14

14

0

14

14

0

0

25-34

3

0

13

29

10

13

7

7

19

35-44

12

8

7

7

7

9

11

7

33

45-54

8

4

12

11

11

7

13

9

26

55-64

5

12

9

11

12

11

12

8

20

65-74

6

13

13

9

18

9

5

5

24

75 +

0

25

25

13

13

13

0

13

0

All ages

7

9

10

11

12

10

11

7

23

Note to table
Gross income = income from all sources before tax/ NI deductions.

Chapter Summary

  • While the number of councillors elected under the new proportional system in 2007 remained the same as under first-past-the-post in 2003 at 1,222, the number of candidates standing for election fell by almost 40% from 4,195 in 2003 to 2,606 in 2007.
  • Of unsuccessful candidates, 54% had sought election previously and 27% had previously served as a councillor. Councillors were considerably more likely to have served as councillors in the past. The number of new faces elected to Scotland's councils, however, was substantially increased from previous years. In 2003 three quarters (76%) of incumbents were re-elected to their seats, whereas in 2007 this had dropped to half (51%).
  • The proportion of candidates who were female fell between 2003 and 2007, although the proportion elected stayed the same at 21.8%.
  • Local government candidates tend to be older than the general population and the average age of unsuccessful candidates rose slightly between 2003 and 2007 from 51 years to 52.5. Over the same period the average age of councillors fell slightly from 55 to 54, although new councillors were, on average, five years younger than their re-elected counterparts (52 and 57 years respectively).
  • Taking the findings on gender and age alongside the findings above regarding the number of 'new faces' on Scotland's councils, it appears that, although there has been considerable success in bringing new faces to council membership, these new faces are not substantially different to the old ones in terms of their age or gender; the average councillor continues to be a male in his 50s.
  • The percentage of non-white candidates was roughly proportional to the ethnic background of Scotland's population overall.
  • Candidates for election to local government tend to be considerably more educated in terms of formal qualifications than the wider population.
  • They are more likely to be married or in civil partnerships and to own their home than the Scottish population, which is likely to be due to the over-representation of people aged 55-64 among them.
  • Both unsuccessful candidates and councillors are considerably less likely to have a long-term health issue than the wider population.
  • Only 33% of unsuccessful candidates and 34% of councillors are economically inactive compared to 48% of the population. Notably, both unsuccessful candidates and councillors are more likely to be self-employed than the wider population.
  • To summarise, the results indicate that candidates will require different kinds of support depending on their gender, age, employment status and likely care responsibilities. Particular care is required when considering the interaction of such factors.