Increasing the diversity of Councillors is a priority shared by COSLA and the Scottish Government.
Councillors are a key part of Scotland’s democratic governance. Therefore, ensuring that varied lived experience from across our communities is represented among Councillors is essential.
In recognition of this, the Scottish Government introduced a new mechanism in 2017 to ensure Councillors' pay is increased annually in line with the percentage increase in the median annual earnings of public sector workers in Scotland. This will ensure that Councillors will receive a pay increase of 5.2% from 1 April 2022, taking the salary of an ordinary Councillor up to £19,571.
However, the current level of remuneration is still one of the major concerns regularly raised as a barrier to recruiting and retaining Councillors, particularly for women.
Both the Scottish Government and COSLA recognise the need for a review of Councillor pay and that this would be an important step towards supporting an increase in the diversity of Scotland’s local elected members. We want to encourage people from across our communities who wish to stand as a Councillor in their local area.
We have therefore jointly committed to undertaking an independent review of Councillor remuneration. This review will be undertaken at pace to examine the terms and conditions of the Councillor role, in particular the current rate of pay. The review will commence as soon as possible after the forthcoming Local Government elections to ensure that terms and conditions truly reflect the responsibilities of the 21st century Councillor.