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COUNCILLORS AND CANDIDATES - REPORTS

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Two surveys have been published today which look at the profile of candidates and councillors who stood at the 2003...
Two surveys have been published today which look at the profile of candidates and councillors who stood at the 2003 local government elections.

The first report, Scotland's Councillors, 2003 was jointly funded and published with the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities. The second report, the National Survey of Local Government Candidates, 2003, commissioned by the Executive, represents the first systematic examination in Scotland of the profile of candidates who came forward for election but who were unsuccessful.

Both reports will be used to inform consideration of ways of encouraging a more diverse range of people to come forward for election, a key objective of the Scottish Executive's Renewing Local Democracy agenda.

The councillors' report will also help inform consideration of a new system of remuneration for councillors, as proposed in the Local Governance (Scotland) Bill.

Key findings to emerge from the research include:

Demographics

- Only 27.6 per cent of candidates are female, while 21.8 per cent of councillors are women. This compares with the fact that 52 per cent of the Scottish population are female.

- The average age of Scotland's councillors is 55, while for unsuccessful candidates it is 51. Only around one per cent of councillors are under 30.

- Candidates and councillors tend to come from more well off backgrounds. Around seven in 10 candidates and councillors who are in employment work in managerial or professional occupations.

Councillors Workload

- The average workload of Scotland's councillors amounts to 34 hours a week (a drop of three hours since 1999).

- 26 per cent of councillors class themselves as 'full-time' councillors. A further 52 per cent of councillors have employment outside the council (a fall of 14 percentage points since 1983).

- On average councillors who class themselves as full-time councillors spend 43 ho urs a week on council duties, compared to all other councillors whose average is just over 27 hours a week.

- Councillors who are in employment spend on average a total of 58 hours a week working in their paid employment and in their council duties.

The candidates' report was commissioned by the executive's Local Government Research team. Local Government Research and COSLA jointly commissioned the councillors' report.

Both reports will be available from the Scottish Executive Social Research website.

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