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PROFILE OF SCOTLAND'S COUNCILLORS 2003

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A major report looking at the profile of councillors elected at the 2003 Scottish local government elections has be...
A major report looking at the profile of councillors elected at the 2003 Scottish local government elections has been published today by the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities.

The report, Scotland's Councillors, 2003 was jointly funded and published with the Scottish Executive. The report complements a second report, the National Survey of Local Government Candidates, 2003, which has been published by the executive.

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.

They are both available here.

COSLA president Pat Watters said:

'COSLA recognises that more needs to be done to increase the representation of women and young people in Scotland's council chambers. We welcome the increase in representation of ethnic minorities but here too more needs to be done.

'I am not surprised that the survey shows that there has been a decrease in the number of councillors who have jobs and an increase in the number of 'full-time councillors'. The pressures that councillors - especially those with additional responsibilities - now face mean that it is increasingly difficult to combine council duties with a career outside the council chambers.

'I hope that the report will help inform the work of the Widening Access Progress Group and also consideration of the 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.

* The proportion of councillors from ethnic minority communities has doubled from 0.5% in 1999 to just over 1%. But ethnic minorities are still under represented as 2% of the Scottish population are from ethnic minority communities.

* 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 hours 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.

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