Calling all potential (and current) community councillors!

(adapted from a communication from Edinburgh Council)

Community council elections 2019 – briefing note for community councillors

1          Background

This briefing note gives an outline of the process and rules by which councillors are elected to the City of Edinburgh’s Community Councils. Community councillors are elected on a four-year cycle. Elections will next take place in September to October 2019. Each election is managed by a separate independent returning officer – generally a local ward councillor.

2          Timetable for the Community Council Elections 2019

The timetable for the elections in 2019 is as follows:

2.1     Individual Community Councillors

The timetable for the election of individual community councillors is as follows:

Monday 9 Sept Publication of Notice of Election (start of nomination period)
Monday 30 Sept 4pm Deadline for nominations (forms to Returning Officer)
Monday 30 Sept 4pm Deadline for withdrawal of nominations
Thursday 10 October Publication of Notice of Poll (if a poll is required)
Thursday 31 Oct Polling Day (if a poll is required)

2.2     Nominated Representatives

Community councils have both elected members and representatives from recognised local interest groups. The timetable for the election of representatives of local interest groups is as follows:

Monday 9 Sept Notice of Election
Monday 30 Sept Close of Registration

3          Distribution of nomination forms and other materials

Individuals seeking election to a community council must be nominated by a proposer and seconder, both of whom mustbe on the electoral register for the community council area. Each elector may only propose one nominee and second one nominee.Nominations require to be submitted with the candidate’s consent. Self-nomination is not permitted. Individuals who wish to be nominated as elected members are sent the following by the Returning Officer or can obtain them from the Council website:

  1. Nomination form for Elected Member
  2. Copy of publicity leaflet
  3. Copy of the City of Edinburgh Scheme for Community Councils. (Also available online

Local interest groups who wish to put someone forward as a nominated member must be registered with the Council. They will be sent the following by the Returning Officer:

  1. Nomination/Registration form for Local Interest Groups
  2. Copy of publicity leaflet
  3. Copy of the Scheme for Community Councils; which contains Procedure for the Appointment of Community Council Nominated Members. (Also available online

4          Close of nomination period – 30 September 2019

Nominations close on 30 September 2019 at 4pm. Nomination forms submitted to the Returning Officer will then be checked to ensure that nominees, proposers and seconders are all registered electors for the relevant community council area.The Returning Officer will count the number of validly completed nomination forms.

At this point there can be three outcomes:

  1. Uncontested election – if the number of nominees is equal to or more than half the number of permitted members but does not exceed the maximum number of permitted members the candidates will be declared duly elected and no poll will need to be held.
  2. Contested election – if the number of nomineesis more than the maximum number of permitted members then a poll is required. Where an election is contested it will be conducted by secret ballot of local electors, organised by the Returning Officer in accordance with the Scottish Local Election Rules but subject to modification. Voting in a contested election will be a combination of e-voting and postal voting. Polling day would be 31 October 2019.
  3. Unsuccessful elections – If the number of nominees is less than half number of permitted membersno community council will be established.

5          Local interest group – nominated members

Registration forms for local interest groups should be returned to the Council’s Elections Team who will ensure that qualifying organisations are appropriately registered by the close of nominations (30 September 2019).The Elections Team will inform the Returning Officer of the number of valid application forms received. Where the number of nominations does not exceed the maximum number of nominated members those nominees will be declared duly elected.

Should the number of nominees registered exceed the maximum number of nominated members, the Returning Officer will convene a meeting of representatives from all registered local interest groups and the elected members of the community council. Participants at this meeting will vote by ballot to determine which local interest groups will become members.

6          Promotion of the 2019 community council elections

The Council will take the lead on the promotion of the elections. It is not the role of individual community councils to prepare their own leaflets or spend their funds on publicity about the election. This does not however preclude the use of the community council’s newsletters or social media accounts to raise awareness of the election.

Information about the elections will appear on plasma screens in libraries and Council offices. Posters, leaflets and flyers will be available to the public in libraries, community centres, Council offices and GP surgeries. This information will also be distributed to Registered Tenants Organisations, Edinburgh Voluntary Organisations Council, the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations and a range of voluntary groups.

Online promotion will include information on the Council website and through social media, with media releases issued at the beginning, middle and end of the nomination period.

The Council will produce a pack of materials that community councils can use to promote the election in their local area. This will include the posters and leaflets.

Further promotional opportunities are being explored by the Local Community Planning Team and the Council’s Communication Service.

7          Questions and advice

If you have any questions about the election process please contact the Elections Team


Tel: 0131 469 3126

Ross A Murray | Governance Officer| Strategy & Communications Division | Chief Executive | City of Edinburgh Council | Business Centre 2.1 | 4 East Market Street, Edinburgh | Tel 0131 469 3870 | email