Scottish Local Government

Councils image

Scottish local government provides many of society's most valued services. Councils help children grow and learn, protect and care for the vulnerable, and provide the essential day-to-day services that allow people to work, live in or visit Scotland's communities.

There are 32 directly elected Councils in Scotland. Their geographical coverage ranges from 26 square miles in Dundee to 12,437 square miles in the Highlands, while their population ranges from under 20,000 people in the Orkney Islands Council area to over 600,000 in the Glasgow City Council area. Across Scotland, there are 1,227 councillors who are elected to 353 wards until 2022.

Councils are responsible for the delivery of a wide range of vital public services including:

  • Education, including pre-school and school education, and adult and community education
  • Social Work, including Community Care
  • Tackling inequalities and promoting social inclusion
  • Roads and transportation
  • Planning and the environment
  • Economic Development
  • Regulatory and protective services
  • Housing
  • Leisure and library services
  • Cultural services
  • Waste management

Scottish councils co-operate through, and are represented collectively by COSLA. By providing a forum to discuss common issues and develop shared agendas, we gather the views of member councils and communicate these to key stakeholders including the Scottish, UK and European Parliaments.

For a full list of Scottish councils including contact details and names of Council Leaders and Chief Executives, please search our database on this page.