Running electoral registration - Scotland

Encouraging participation

Encouraging participation

You have a duty to take such steps as you think appropriate to encourage the participation of electors in your area in the electoral process. In doing this, you must have regard to any guidance issued by the Electoral Commission.1  You also have a duty to encourage participation in any referendum held throughout Scotland in pursuance of a provision made by or under an Act of the Scottish Parliament.2

Throughout the year you should work to identify people who are not registered and encourage them to register. You should also have specific plans to carry out registration activity in advance of scheduled elections or referendums.

You should have a public engagement strategy and registration plan which sets out your approach to identifying and targeting potential new electors.
Further information about encouraging participation is contained in our guidance on planning for registration and public engagement throughout the year

Local authorities have a specific duty to promote awareness of how to register as local government electors for children that are looked after by that council (who can be up to the age of 18) and to provide assistance to help such young people to register.3  You need to engage with other departments and staff in local authorities and other bodies with responsibilities of care to promote these arrangements. Looked after children are children that:4

  • the council is providing living accommodation for because no-one has parental responsibility for the child, the child is lost or abandoned, or the person who had previously been caring for the child cannot provide suitable accommodation or care
  • the council is required to supervise under a supervision requirement of a children’s panel or a sheriff
  • the council has responsibilities for under a legal order, authorisation or warrant, issued in Scotland by a children’s hearing or sheriff, or, in the rest of the UK, by a court
Last updated: 27 October 2023