Data on who stands for election to Scotland’s councils is currently very patchy. Gaining a better understanding of who stands, and who is elected, is important so that we can understand how representative our candidates and elected members are of the communities they serve. This will help organisations working to increase access to elected office to work with accurate data. It will also help organisations like Cosla and the Improvement Service have a better picture of the characteristics and range of experiences and responsibilities of councillors to help them plan most effectively how to support them.
All candidates standing for election at the 2022 local council elections are being invited to complete a brief voluntary questionnaire on their demographic characteristics, previous experience and any caring responsibilities they have. This will help us to gather a more complete picture of who stands for election to Scotland’s councils.
This page collates information on the survey.
Background and stakeholder engagement
Scottish Government analysts worked with the Electoral Management Board for Scotland (EMB), the Electoral Commission (EC), COSLA and the Improvement Service and a range of equality stakeholders to develop proposals for a new data collection on the diversity of candidates and elected members in Scotland.
We proposed a brief survey disseminated at the candidate nomination stage, with questions mainly mirroring those in the 2022 Census and/or the Scottish Household Survey so that data can be compared with the national picture. We published a paper inviting comments on these proposals in December 2021.
Candidates can respond to the survey online or respond to the survey on paper (returning by post). It should take around 5 minutes to complete.
Candidates (or their agents) collecting nomination papers from council offices will receive an envelope with the questionnaire, an information leaflet and a prepaid reply envelope enclosed.
The questionnaire and information leaflet are also downloadable from the supporting documents as well as the Electoral Commission and Electoral Management Board webpages.
Those who download and print the questionnaire for completion, can either pick up a prepaid reply envelope from their Returning Officer, or contact us at the email address or number below to request one, or post to 2022 SG DDP, APS Group, 21 Tennant Street, Edinburgh, EH6 5NA.
Please only submit a response to the survey if you are standing for election at the 2022 local government elections.
If you would like to receive the questionnaire in any other format please email firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 07973 949 256.
Privacy and data protection
We will treat the information candidates give in accordance with data protection legislation. All responses will be kept confidential and stored securely, to be used solely for statistical and research purposes. For more information please refer to the survey data protection impact assessment and survey privacy notice.
A report and aggregated data tables will be published by the Scottish Government following the results of the 2022 local government elections.