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Local Government (also known as Councils or Local Authorities) are responsible for day to day running and management of various functions within regional areas. These functions include education, social services and housing.

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Local Government in Scotland

Local government in Scotland consists of 32 councils (or local authorities) which spend billions every year to provide local services with funding coming from Central Government, business and taxes. They are tasked with promoting the social, economic and environmental well-being of their local community.

Policies are developed and implemented to bring together local organisations such as the council, police and health service to improve the quality of life for local residents.

Local authorities are controlled by directly-elected councillors, and employ a huge range of people in a variety of roles.

Social services and health

Social Work is one of a council’s major responsibilities. Local authorities in Scotland employ around 40,000 Social Workers to provide care and support services to children, families and vulnerable adults. They also coordinate fostering and adoption services.

Read more about working in Social Services

Education and lifelong learning

An important role of local government is to provide primary and secondary schooling as well as adult education and support services. Councils therefore employ large numbers of teachers and educational support staff.

Read more about education and teaching jobs in Scotland


Councils are responsible for transport management within their local area, including traffic regulation, parking, road safety and provision of quality and affordable public transport for all. To achieve transport objectives, councils require skilled employees to work in planning and administration departments.


Strategies for housing in local authority areas are created based on assessment of needs, homelessness and available resources. Local authorities are responsible for maintaining and developing housing in their area as well as funding housing associations to build new housing.

Arts, sports and culture

Councils have a wide-ranging involvement in the cultural provision of their local communities. This includes local libraries, entertainment venues, sport and leisure facilities and event management. In addition to this, they are closely involved in developing policies to improve the health of local residents - sports and leisure staff are available to provide coaching and advice to residents as well as developing local sports initiatives.


Councils have a number or areas of responsibility loosely grouped around the Environment. They include street-cleaning, refuse disposal, food safety, occupational health and safety, public safety and consumer protection. They also manage local parks.


Councils employ large numbers of planning officials and administrators to deal with planning applications and guide development in accordance with local regulations.

Economic Development

Working closely with local business and tourism groups, councils support and drive economic development, whether it involves attracting commercial business or developing tourist initiatives. Roles within this department are often at a strategic level and require employees with business and development skills.