Local government finance statistics: methodology and background

Methodology and background information to Local Government Finance statistics.


The Statistical Support for Local Government branch is responsible for collecting and preparing statistical information, analysis and advice on local government income and expenditure. We are also expanding our areas of activity into areas of performance, improvement and efficiency in Local Government.

We provide accurate and informative analyses and advice to a wide range of policy customers both within the Scottish Government and in other departments. Typical external customers include the Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe), the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and HM Treasury. We produce an annual publication (Scottish Local Government Financial Statistics) and contribute to other publications - Scottish Transport Statistics and the Annual Abstract. We also receive a large number of ad-hoc requests.

Information is collected from Local Authorities using our statistical returns and validated to ensure a high level of accuracy.

Sources, Uses and Quality of Local Govt Finance National Statistics

This note provides the following information regarding Local Government Finance National Statistics produced by the Scottish Government:

  • the uses made of the statistics, including decisions they inform;
  • the quality and reliability of the statistics in relation to potential uses;
  • the needs of users of these statistics;
  • the data sources used.

Dowmnload the full note below.

Structure and functions of local government

Local Government is responsible for delivering a wide range of services including education, social services, transport, housing, environmental services, cultural services, planning and development and central services. Under the Concordat signed in November 2007, the Scottish Government and Local Government work jointly towards agreed outcomes under a single national purpose.

Local Government in Scotland is comprised of 32 Local Authorities. In terms of population, the largest of these 32 Authorities is Glasgow City Council and the smallest is Orkney Islands Council.

In addition to these 32 Local Authorities, there are also Valuation Joint Boards, Regional Transport Partnerships and the Forth and Tay Bridge Boards. Most of these Boards are the collective responsibility of two or more Councils.

Up to 31 March 2013 Police and Fire Boards were responsible for providing services to their constituent council members. This changed from 1 April 2013 with the move to new single Scottish Police and Fire and Rescue Services.

Regional Transport Partnerships (RTPs) were established by the Transport (Scotland) Act 2005. Seven statutory regional transport partnerships were created across Scotland to lead on regional transport strategy and delivery.

Valuation Joint Boards provide valuation services, primarily maintaining the Valuation Roll for non-domestic properties, and the Council Tax Valuation List for domestic dwellings. The Valuation Roll and Council Tax Valuation Lists are used as the basis for local taxation billing liability (council tax and non-domestic rates).

How we use the data we collect
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