Local Government Political Restrictions Exemptions Adjudicator for Scotland

Applying for the Lifting of Restrictions

Who May Apply?

The Local government and Housing Act 1989 section 3 sets out the right to apply to the Adjudicator for exemption from political restriction. Anyone who holds a post under a local authority which has been or is about to be specified by the authority as a politically restricted post in terms of section 2(2) of the Act (see descriptions below) has this right. The Adjudicator is obliged to consider any such request. The holders of posts specified as politically restricted in terms of section 2(1) of the Act do not have the right to apply for adjudication.

Section 2(1) politically restricted posts are:

  • Chief Executive
  • Statutory Chief Officers
  • Non-Statutory Chief Officers
  • Deputy Chief Officers
  • Monitoring Officer
  • Political Assistants

Section 2(2) politically restricted posts are those deemed to be restricted because the holder, on a regular basis, either:

  • gives policy advice to the authority; or
  • deals with the media on behalf of the authority.

Further clarification of these descriptions is given in the 'Guidance' paragraphs 33 to 36 (see Publications)

How To Apply

The application should:

  • be prepared by the post-holder and contain the following information:
    • name of applicant;
    • job title and job description;
    • the basis upon which the post is politically restricted;
    • why the applicant thinks the post should not be politically restricted;
  • at the discretion of the post holder,
    • either be sent direct to the adjudicator
    • or be passed through the relevant officer of the authority who may be the Head of Legal Services, Head of Human Resources, Head of Administration, or equivalent;
  • be sent either by post or email to the Adjudicator at the address given on the home page.

Adjudicator's Response

The Adjudicator will acknowledge the application on receipt. If the application has reached him direct from the applicant, he may contact the relevant officer of the authority concerned to seek the authority's view of the application. He will give his adjudication as soon as possible but, at any event, no later than one calendar month from the date of receipt of the application.


The legislation gives no right of appeal against the Adjudicator's findings. Post-holders or authorities may, if they feel that proper procedures have not been followed, query the process by which he reached his findings through the office of the Scottish Public Service Ombudsman.