Collection on the Study of Government in Scotland

Scope and Content

Collection composed of: circa 200 separate copies of reports of investigation into complaints against the various Scottish local government councils, regional and district, carried out by the Commissioner for Local Administration in Scotland, mainly 1970s; various planning documents, reports and news-sheets, including those on transport, community land schemes, Clyde recreation, crime, community councils, school and college councils, regional councils, housing, special housing, role of district councils, and re-organisation of the National Health Service in Scotland, mostly from the 1970s; earlier digests and reports including a 1953 Digest of Scottish Statistics, a 1948 report from the North of Scotland hydro Electric Board, material relating to the 1979 referendum on devolution for Scotland, Scottish National Party (SNP) promotional ephemera, copies of local financial returns from the 1930s through to the 1950s and beyond; publications and election ephemera of the SNP including several numbers of the Scots independent from the 1930s, and Scottish news and comment from the 1940s, and several pamphlets published by the SNP in the 1940s and 1950s on Scotland's relationship with the rest of the UK; circa 50 pamphlets and booklets by various Scottish publishers on Scottish themes, notably Scotland's relationship with the rest of the UK, 1940s and 1950s and some later; SNP policy documents and reports on the subject of devolution and Scottish independence; and, reports, letters, news-sheets, press releases and other documents issued by various agencies, bodies, associations and councils on their views and attitudes towards Scottish devolution, 1979.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Unit for the Study of Government in Scotland, now subsumed by the Institute of Governance, was acknowledged as the leading centre in the country for studies of Scottish society and politics. At the centre of the Unit's work was the study of policy-making and the political process in Scotland, set in a broad comparative and international context. Constitutional change in Scotland had been one of the Unit's central themes since its founding in the mid-1970s for which it drew on diverse disciplines, notably in Law and Social Sciences. It conducted The Scottish Election Study, which provided an in-depth account of how and why Scotland voted at the 1997 General Election, especially in the context of long-term changes in electoral attitudes and behaviour. A similar study had focused on the Scottish Referendum in September 1997.

The Unit was followed by the Governance of Scotland Forum in 1998, and then by the Institute of Governance in 2002

A number of publications had emanated from the Unit throughout the 1980s and 1990s on a variety of issues, including pieces on the re-organisation of Scottish local government, management of councils, financing Scottish home rule, gender and Scottish society, labour market policy in Britain, citizenship, Scottish churches and the political process, women in Scottish politics, data protection and privacy, and democratic participation in the Scottish Parliament.

Access Information

Open to bona fide researchers, but please contact repository for details in advance

We strongly encourage you to contact us before your visit as special access conditions and restrictions apply to some collections. Please see our information on requesting material

Acquisition Information

Accession No: E2006.02; 26 January 2006


The biographical/administrative history was compiled using: (1) University Launches The Governance Of Scotland Forum. Full-text [online]. University Launches The Governance Of Scotland Forum [Accessed 26 January 2006].

Other Finding Aids

None prepared for this collection

Archivist's Note

Compiled by Graeme D Eddie, Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections