There will be council elections in the UK this spring to determine which new council members will support and manage local governments.
Despite historically lower turnout and less intensity than general elections, local council elections offer members of the public a key chance to make tangible local change in their local community.
After the Scottish Labor presence in local government was further reduced in the previous Scottish council elections in 2017, the party led by Anas Sarvar will look to regain lost ground as the SNP looks set to continue its success at the ballot box.
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But given the wide range of issues facing councils across Scotland and the priorities that vary from constituency to constituency, here’s what you need to know about the Scottish council elections, when they take place in 2022 and how they work.
When will the 2022 Scottish Council elections take place?
The 2022 Scottish municipal elections will take place on Thursday 5 May.
The campaign is already underway in many local governments in Scotland, with the purdah kicking off around three weeks before local elections and from 14 April this year.
The convention provides for a period of three to six weeks before the election of “heightened sensitivity” and increased attention to respected current advisers and elected representatives.
How are Scottish Council elections held?
While in the Scottish Parliament elections representatives are elected to Holyrood on behalf of the regions and districts, which are also elected to the UK Parliament in a general election, council elections concern local governments and use a different electoral system.
Scotland has 32 local councils, or authorities, and each council is divided into smaller areas known as wards.
Thus, in local council elections, citizens vote for councilors, with three or four people elected from each district.
The electoral system used to elect local councilors is Single Transferable Vote (STV), which requires voters to rank candidates in order of preference, with “1” being the highest.
Councilors are elected when the successful candidates have the most transferred votes, with the votes being redistributed to other candidates when no candidate reaches the overall vote threshold and the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated, with their votes redistributed to second choice candidates.
This process, seen as more proportional than the system of additional members used in Holyrood elections and the First Past the Post system in the UK general election, then continues until all members of the ward council have been elected.
Who won the last local elections in Scotland?
The last Scottish council elections were held on Thursday 4 May 2017 and all 32 Scottish local authorities took part.
In the 2017 local election results, the SNP lost seven council seats and one local government seat overall, but the party also declared a historic victory by winning Glasgow City Council from Scottish Labor.
For the first time since 1980, Scotland’s largest local government has changed hands with Scottish Labor.
Overall, the SNP came out on top with 431 councilors elected in 2017, compared to 276 Scottish Conservative and 262 Scottish Labor seats.
168 independent councilors were elected, while the Scottish Liberal Democrats and the Scottish Greens received 67 and 19 councilors respectively.
The 2017 local elections marked the emergence of the Scottish Conservatives as the second largest party in local government in Scotland, replicating the party’s success south of the border in England and Wales.
Turnout in the 2017 Scottish council elections also rose by 8%, with an overall turnout of 41%.