New Electoral Commissioner for Scotland appointed

Information on the new Electoral Commissioner for Scotland

Dame Sue Bruce has been appointed as the new Electoral Commissioner with special responsibility for Scotland.

The UK Parliament has approved a motion to appoint Sue Bruce, following a selection process overseen by the Speaker’s Committee on the Electoral Commission. The independent recruitment panel included a nominee from the Scottish Parliament, at the request of the Speaker’s Committee. The motion passed by the House of Commons presents the new Commissioner for appointment by Her Majesty the Queen.

Sue Bruce has held a number of senior positions in local government in Scotland, most recently as the Chief Executive of The City of Edinburgh Council from 2011 to 2015. She has also served as Chief Executive at both Aberdeen and East Dunbartonshire Councils. During her tenures as Chief Executive of the three councils she was also the Returning Officer for elections and was appointed as the Deputy Chief Counting Officer for the 2014 Scottish independence referendum.

She currently holds a number of senior non-executive positions in Scotland, crossing the public and private sector including as a non-executive director of SSE PLC and until recently, the Scottish Council for Development and Industry. She is also Chair of both Young Scot and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra.

Commenting on her appointment, Sue Bruce said:

I am delighted to have been appointed to the Electoral Commission with special responsibility for Scotland. I am looking forward to joining the Commission at this interesting time. With the upcoming local government elections in Scotland it will be a busy and challenging time for democracy in Scotland.

Jenny Watson, Chair of the Electoral Commission, said:

Sue brings a wealth of experience from the most senior level in Scottish local government along with impressive insight gained from other roles in both the private and voluntary sectors. This experience and leadership will be invaluable in helping us take forward our ambitious agenda to meet the changing needs of democracy in Scotland.

Sue Bruce will take up her post in January 2017 following the departure of the current Commissioner for Scotland, John McCormick, who has served the maximum two consecutive terms as Commissioner, having joined the Commission in 2008.

Jenny Watson continued:

I would also like to record my gratitude to John McCormick for the invaluable expertise and advice that he has contributed, to our work in both Scotland and the UK over the last nine years. It has been a pleasure to work with him and I wish him every success for the future.

The UK Parliament has also approved a motion to appoint Sir John Holmes as the new Chair of the Electoral Commission. Sir John is currently the Director of the Ditchley Foundation and UK Chair of the International Rescue Commission.

Sir John will take up his new post at the end of the year, when he replaces the outgoing Chair, Jenny Watson.


For further information contact Electoral Commission press office:

For further information on the appointment of Sir John Holmes see our press release here.

Extra notes

Notes to editors

  • The Electoral Commission is an independent body set up in 2000. Our aim is integrity and public confidence in the UK’s democratic process. We regulate party and election finance and set standards for well-run elections and are responsible for the conduct and regulations of referendum held under the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act (2000). For Scottish Parliament and local government elections in Scotland, we take on a number of roles to administer the elections for which we report directly to the Scottish Parliament.
  • Biography of Dame Susan Bruce DBE:
    • Sue Bruce is a non- executive director with SSE PLC; Chair of Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO); Chair of Young Scot, and is a Deputy Lieutenant of the City of Edinburgh. She is also a member of the Audit Committee of the University of Strathclyde.
    • Sue Bruce served in Local Government for almost 40 years, finishing in 2015. Her most recent post was as Chief Executive of The City of Edinburgh Council having previously served as Chief Executive at Aberdeen City Council and Chief Executive at East Dunbartonshire Council. Amongst her noteworthy achievements was the turnaround of the Edinburgh Tram Project, the establishment of the Edinburgh Guarantee and prior to that, the performance improvement of Aberdeen City Council.