Councillors' remuneration and expenses: recommendations

Scottish Local Authorities Remuneration Committee (SLARC) was reconvened in April 2023 to undertake an independent review of councillor remuneration, having last reported in 2011.

Role Comparisons

The Committee compared the roles, remits and total remuneration packages available to councillors with those of MSPs, MPs and members appointed to other public bodies. Given the nature of appointments to public bodies compared to the elections of politicians, it was difficult to draw direct comparisons between these roles.


Our evidence indicates some key similarities in the roles of councillor, MSP and MP. These include representing constituents, contributing to the formulation of policy and strategy or working in partnership with key stakeholders. However, there were also differences between the roles, particularly in the scale and reach of activities. A further point of difference is that while MSPs and MPs have direct responsibilities for managing offices, budgets and staff, councillors typically do not.

At different stages in the Committee’s engagement processes, particularly in our conversations with Senior Councillors, we heard views expressed that the complex portfolios carried by Senior Councillors involved far greater responsibilities than some parliamentary roles and that Council Leaders’ remits were more comparable with those of MSPs.

While the roles have some similarities the allowances and expenses differ. Role profiles for councillors, Senior Councillors, Civic Heads and Council Leaders are set out in Appendix 5 and a comparison of councillor, MSP and MP expenses is set out in Appendix 6.

Public Bodies

In Scotland, there are currently 115 public bodies, of which 92 are regulated. These ministerial appointments are usually for a fixed duration and specific purpose. Each standard public appointment is allocated to one of three tiers by reference to the significance of the body, based on its size (staff numbers) and the resources managed (budget/grant), as well as consideration of its public profile. Different daily fees are paid to the respective Chairs and Members of the body, depending upon which tier is applicable and there is a separate framework for Tribunal appointments. The Committee could draw no conclusions in relation to the allowances paid to those in other public bodies.



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