Guidance and resources that you need if you are a candidate or agent at council elections in Scotland

An overview document gives instructions on how to use this guidance and who does what at these elections. 

We have produced a timetable with the relevant deadlines for the 5 May 2022 council elections, which can be viewed here:

The Improvement Service has created a website for prospective candidates which provides a wealth of information about the role of a councillor, including what councillors do and what’s expected of a councillor. There are also videos and short stories of councillors from across Scotland detailing why they became a councillor, the difference they make and their advice if you are thinking of standing.

We issued supplementary guidance in 2021 to support candidates and agents participating in polls during the coronavirus pandemic. This remains available for your reference:

Access to Elected Office Fund

Inclusion Scotland run an Access to Elected Office Fund Scotland that provides financial assistance to disabled candidates standing for election to help with the extra costs they may incur as a result of their disability.

For more information about applying for a grant from the Access to Elected Office Fund Scotland, see Inclusion Scotland.

Scottish Government candidate diversity questionnaire

The Scottish Government are encouraging candidates standing for election at the 2022 council elections to complete a voluntary questionnaire to provide data about the diversity of candidates at Scottish council elections. The data will help the government, and other bodies, to understand how representative candidates and elected members are of the communities they serve and how better to support councillors with a broad range of characteristics and experiences. You can complete the questionnaire online.

Part 1

Can you stand for election?

This part covers:

  • Qualifications for standing for election
  • Disqualifications from standing for election
Part 2a

Standing as an independent candidate

This part covers:

  • Completing and submitting your nomination papers
  • Being nominated in more than one ward
  • What happens after the close of nominations?
  • Appointing your election agent and other agents
  • What happens if a candidate dies?
Part 2b

Standing as a party candidate

This part covers:

  • Completing and submitting your nomination papers
  • Nomination in more than one ward
  • What happens after the close of nominations
  • Appointing your election agent and other agents
  • What happens if a candidate dies?
Part 3

Spending and donations

This part covers:

  • How much you can spend
  • The activities covered by the rules
  • Which donations you can accept
  • How to check donations you receive
  • What information needs to be recorded and reported
Part 4

The campaign

This part covers:

  • Campaigning dos and don'ts
  • Using the electoral register and absent voters' lists
  • Using schools and rooms for public meetings
  • Imprints on campaign publicity materials
  • Polling day dos and don'ts
  • Reporting allegations of electoral malpractice
Part 6

After the declaration of results

This part covers:

  • Making the declaration of acceptance of office
  • Access to election paperwork
  • Submitting your spending returns and declarations
  • Questioning the result through an election petition