Elected members development

The IS works with councils and other partners to provide high quality and cost-effective training and development opportunities for elected members.

We aim to:

  1. provide local, regional and national direction in meeting the current needs, and anticipating the future needs, of elected members
  2. provide programmes, expertise, advice and support to elected members and councils to meet these needs
  3. encourage collaboration and the sharing of resources to provide high quality and cost-effective development opportunities for elected members.

What support is available to elected members?

The team provides a non-partisan role in supporting all elected members in Scotland. The Elected Members’ Development programme provides the following support:

Standing for election

If you are considering standing for election, this website will help you understand the many different aspects of a councillor's role, provide you with information to help you decide if being a councillor is for you and ensure you are well prepared should you be elected.

Induction materials for newly elected members

If you are newly elected, the IS produced induction resources for elected members. Each council has their own set, which can be requested from officers in your council. Alternatively, you can access our generic induction resources.

Political Skills Assessment

We offer a Political Skills Assessment for elected members, as part of a structured process for member development activity within councils.

Please speak to a council officer to ask if your council uses this as part of its ongoing member development activity. If your council doesn’t use it, you can complete the assessment but you may not get the full benefits of the support that could be available to you from the council.

For more information on this please contact


The elected members' briefing series has been developed by the IS to help elected members keep apace with key issues affecting local government.


The elected members' webinar series has been developed by the IS to provide elected members with further development opportunities. They are live recorded so elected members that could not join in on the day, can access and view the content.

Coaching for Senior Elected Members

Coaching provides elected members with a confidential space, with a qualified, professional and impartial coach that will support and challenge them to achieve greater impact in their role as an elected member. Further information can be found on our coaching pages.

Administration self-assessment and improvement planning support

The IS can provide a facilitated self-assessment and improvement planning session to Administrations, using agreed checklists of key statements to critical review how the Administration operates. The checklists explore areas such as leadership, communication, working relationships with officers, and roles and responsibilities, but will be tailored to the needs of each Administration

Find out more about the process and enquire about support.


We provide a range of training offers to elected members to help them carry out their roles and responsibilities in the council. Other consultancy services are available upon request.

Please contact David Barr to discuss your requirements.


Keep up to date with the IS and the elected members team by reading our newsletters. You can also subscribe to get the newsletters to your inbox.

Other resources

In addition to our own briefings and guidance for elected members, many of the organisations we work with also produce information and advice for councillors. We've gathered some of the resources that we consider useful for elected members.

David Barr - Programme Manager, Governance