What do local authorities do?

An overview of what the 32 Scottish councils do

In Scotland local authorities, or local governments as they can also be known, are made up of the 32 Councils who are funded by the Scottish Government to deliver public services to their residents, businesses and visitors.

Councils perform a range of functions and they are perhaps best known as service providers, delivering services either directly through their employees or by commissioning services from outside organisations. Councils also play a regulatory role, protecting consumers and the environment through issuing licences for taxis and pubs for example, and providing regulatory services such as trading standards, environmental health and determining planning applications.

Some of these other services include:

  • Roads and transportation
  • Education, from pre-school to secondary and adult and community education
  • Leisure, library and cultural services
  • Waste management
  • Planning and the local environment
  • Regulatory and protective services
  • Housing
  • Economic development
  • Health and social care

Health and social care is delivered in partnership between councils and the NHS. These services include care provided in care homes for older people, day centres for those with learning disabilities and difficulties, and community care such as home care for those requiring help in their own homes. The social work service provides support to help and protect both children and vulnerable adults in the community.

Local authorities offer a wide range of jobs across these different sectors. You can explore these on our career options page.

As employers, Councils promote an inclusive and welcoming culture. Under the Public Equality Duty, all Councils must demonstrate they are integrating the consideration of equality and good relations into all aspects of daily business. This can be achieved with a workforce that understands the importance of inclusion and the respect of others.

Councils achieve this in many ways. They promote the importance of equality and diversity across the workforce.  They support various initiatives to provide routes into work and ongoing support to employees such as the Disability Confident SchemeArmed Forces CovenantFamily Friendly Working ScotlandCarer PositiveHealthy Working LivesScotland Works for You. They also monitor the equality information with their workforce, which is published and publicly accessible.

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