Local government in Scotland: Overview 2020


The Local government in Scotland: Overview 2020 was published in June 2020. The report and the Tableau visualisation below, illustrate the challenges and performance of councils prior to the Covid-19 pandemic.

View data visualisation on Tableau 

About the data

We use data from the following sources:

  • Local Government Benchmarking Framework (LGBF): The Improvement Service, in partnership with COSLA, SOLACE and councils, collates and reports on the LGBF annually. The LGBF provides comparative performance information for councils to help them improve. The framework includes over 70 performance indicators. These are not designed to comprehensively cover all council activities, however they cover a broad range of service areas. We have used a sample of indicators from the time period between 2013/14 and 2018/19.
  • For education indicators, because school leaver data is not available when the LGBF reports annually, the LGBF uses data based on the year pupils are expected to leave school rather than the actual year they left. This means there are some small differences between it and data published by the Scottish Government later in the year.
  • Scottish Government: Scottish index of multiple deprivation (SIMD) data. The chart shows each local authority’s local share of the most deprived 20 per cent in Scotland. Local share is calculated by dividing the number of deprived data zones in the area by all data zones in this area.
  • National Records of Scotland: Projected population change data 2018-2043, broken down by age group.
  • Scottish Government: Local government finance circulars 2020 were used to calculate core funding per head of population based on individual revenue allocations for 2020/21.
  • Scottish Government: Urban rural classification rurality data.
  • Scottish Government: Dependency ratio data.
  • End Child Poverty: Regional estimates for local authorities of the proportion of children living in poverty after housing costs, based on data for 2017/18.

How to use our graphics

All the graphics are interactive:

  • Hovering over the map and graphs will give you more detailed information.
  • You can select the council you are interested in using either the map or the drop- down filter menu.
  • To access the data behind the graphics, click on the graph you're interested in, then click 'Download' at the bottom of the graphics and select the format.

Point 1 – Context:

  • Several council areas are forecast to experience a reduction in their overall population level. Core revenue funding is largely based on population levels. All council areas are expected to have increases in the proportion of the population that is 65 years or older, whilst some areas expect a reduction in the working-age population. Many council areas are also expected to see a reduction in the proportion of children in the population.

Point 2 – Context:

  • As well as population change, the need for council services will be impacted by other factors, such as rurality, how much of the population is economically active, and deprivation. Child poverty is also a significant issue for many councils.

Point 3 – Social Care:

  • Since 2013/14, councils have continued to improve their performance in social care indicators. But this improvement has stalled in the last year, with many councils only maintaining their performance levels and some worsening.

Point 4 – Education:

  • There have been improvements in education indicators since 2013/14, but progress in 2018/19 has slowed. The attainment gap between children living in areas of greater deprivation and those living in less deprived areas is reducing slightly.

Point 5 – Sickness absence

  • Sickness absence has fluctuated since 2013/14, but in many council’s this has increased in the past year for both teachers and council staff.