Public appointment: Convenor and Members appointed to the Scottish Local Authority Remuneration Committee

Public appointment news release.

The Minister for Local Government Empowerment and Planning, Mr Fitzpatrick, today announced the appointment of Angela Leitch as Convenor and Peter Argyle, Rosemary Docherty, David Heaney, Martin McElroy and Laura Simpson as Members of the Scottish Local Authority Remuneration Committee.


Angela Leitch has significant leadership experience gained over many years in several local authorities of different sizes and with different demographics. Latterly she was Chief Executive  of East Lothian council before being appointed to lead the new national public health body, Public Health Scotland. She has worked closely with elected representatives and appreciates the time commitment and diversity of responsibilities that councillors can be required to undertake. She has chaired a number of national groups and fora and is a past chair of Solace. In addition Angela has experience of job evaluation and remuneration policy making.

Angela said:

“I’m very much looking forward to taking up this important appointment and leading SLARC to review councillor remuneration. The committee is made up of individuals with complimentary knowledge and experience which we will draw upon to inform the recommendations that will go forward to the minister later this year.”


Peter Argyle served as a councillor on Aberdeenshire council from 1991 to 2022, holding a number of senior roles including Chair of the Infrastructure Services Committee (2008-15 and 2017-22) and Deputy Leader of the Council (2017-22). He also served as a member of the Cairngorms National Park Authority from 2015-18. Peter has an excellent understanding of the role of a councillor, gained through experience of the challenges and the satisfaction of public services, together with a deep knowledge of the work of Local Government and its partners.

Rosemary Docherty has more than 35 years’ experience working in the public sector as a management consultant in salary benchmarking. She has supported Scottish local government since 19998 as an independent technical expert in job evaluation, pay and grading, and gender equality. Rosemary provides training for Job Analysts and JE Appeal Panel Members in relation to the application of the Scottish Joint Council (SJC) JE Scheme for Local Government Employees; and Support Councils in undertaking reward structure design and equality impact assessments most recently in embedding the Scottish Local Government Living Wage in grading and pay structures.  She served for more than 20 years as a member of the ACAS Panel of Independent Experts (Equal Value).

David Heaney is a graduate of the University of Strathclyde, and joined Strathclyde Regional Council Social Work Department in 1985. He later went onto work for Glasgow City, East Lothian and Fife Councils. In his most recent role, before retiring, David was Divisional General Manager with Fife Health and Social Care Partnership. In this role, he was responsible for a wide range of social work and NHS services, and led a series of complex service redesign programmes and large scale capital projects. As well as his local government experience, David worked for Audit Scotland, leading full council Best Value audits, was director of a national charity and worked for the NHS, developing strategic partnerships with local authorities. During his time at East Lothian Council he was seconded to the Scottish Government to develop support systems for emerging health and social care partnerships.

Martin McElroy was first elected to Glasgow City Council in 2012 and served until 2022. During this time he served as the Labour Group Spokesperson for Personnel, a member of Glasgow's Workforce Board, and a COSLA delegate to SOLACE. He is particularly interested in tackling the barriers that young people and people with caring responsibilities face when considering elected office. Outwith elected politics, Martin has held management roles in the charitable and housing sector, and is currently the Chief Executive of a development trust in Glasgow. Martin is a graduate of Strathclyde University (BSc (Hons) Natural Sciences, 2009) and Queen Margaret University (MSc Strategic Communications, 2019).  

Laura Simpson possess a comprehensive knowledge and extensive experience of democratic processes and the role of Elected Members, having worked effectively with Councillors for over 25 years.  As the former Head of HR & OD at Aberdeenshire Council, she was responsible for Councillors’ induction, learning and development as well as pay and remuneration.  As the Professional Adviser to the Council on all workforce matters, she worked closely with the recognised Trade Unions to maintain effective employee relations and to also ensure collaborative working between the Unions and Councillors.  During her career, Laura led the successful implementation of new pay and grading structures as well as revised terms and conditions for local government employees.


The appointments will be for one year and will run from 6 April 2023 to 5 April 2024.

The appointments are regulated by the Ethical Standards Commissioner.


The appointment for the Convenor is part-time and attracts a remuneration of £229.43 for a time commitment of six days per month. The Member appointments are part-time and attract a remuneration of £183.93 for a time commitment of six days per month.

Other ministerial appointments

Angela Leitch, Peter Argyle, Rosemary Docherty, David Heaney, Martin McElroy and Laura Simpson  do not hold any other public appointments.

Political activity

All appointments are made on merit and political activity plays no part in the selection process.  However, in accordance with the original Nolan recommendations, there is a requirement for appointees’ political activity within the last five years (if there is any to be declared) to be made public.

Peter Arglye has been a member of the Scottish Liberal Democrats since March 1999 and served as a Scottish Liberal Democrat Councillor (Aberdeenshire Council) from May 1999 to May 2022. He has not held office in the local party during the past five years but has contributed to its work.   

Martin McElroy was elected member of Glasgow city Council from 2012 – 2022. He stood as the Scottish Labour Candidate for Glasgow Provan in 2022 Scottish Parliament election. He was secretary of Glasgow Provan CLP until June 2022.

Angela Leitch, Rosemary Docherty, David Heaney and Laura Simpson have had no political activity within the last five years.


SLARC was established in legislation to advise Scottish Ministers on the payment by Local Authorities of remuneration (including pensions), allowances and the reimbursement of expenses incurred by Councillors in accordance with criteria specified by Scottish Ministers from time to time. The Committee was last convened in 2013.

SLARC is now being reconvened to undertake a one-off independent review of Councillor remuneration. Both the Scottish Government and the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) recognise the need for a review of Councillor pay to ensure that terms and conditions truly reflect the responsibilities of a modern-day Councillor, and that remuneration does not act as a barrier to encouraging a diverse range of people to stand for elected office

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