Former City chief to oversee election process

Former city council chief executive Dame Sue Bruce. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

Former city council chief executive Dame Sue Bruce. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

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FORMER city council boss Sue Bruce is set to be appointed as Scotland’s member of the UK body overseeing elections and referendums.

Dame Sue, 60, who stepped down as Edinburgh chief executive last year, will join the ten-strong Electoral Commission, which regulates party funding, helps decide the wording for referendums and reports on the running of elections.

She will take up the role in January and the first task she is expected to have will be helping to supervise next year’s council elections in May.

Dame Sue will work collectively with the other commissioners, but will have responsibility for Scotland and take the lead on Scottish issues.

Commissioners are paid around £370 a day and are expected to spend between 1.4 and 4.8 days per month on commission duties.

She will succeed John McCormick, former controller of BBC Scotland, who has served as a commissioner for the maximum eight years.

Before that, Scotland’s commissioner was Sir Neil McIntosh, a former chief executive of Strathclyde Regional Council.

Dame Sue’s appointment has to be confirmed by the UK parliament before it is formally announced, but confirmation is expected soon after MPs return next month.

The selection process, which falls under the remit of the Speaker’s Committee, chaired by Commons Speaker John Bercow, involved recruitment consultants, a public advertisement for potential candidates and an independent panel including a nominee of the Scottish Parliament.

The panel produced a long list of seven candidates, then a shortlist of four, with interviews conducted in Edinburgh. A report from the Speaker’s Committee said: “The unanimous view of the panel was that Dame Susan Bruce DBE should be appointed as an Electoral Commissioner with special responsibility for Scotland.”

Dame Sue had been chief executive of East Dunbartonshire and Aberdeen before coming to Edinburgh in 2011.

She was credited with a major role in sorting out the Edinburgh trams project and was instrumental in setting up the Edinburgh Guarantee, which promises every school leaver in the city the chance of a job, training or further education.

She won awards, including Chief Executive of the Year in 2013 and UK City Leader of the Year in 2014.

Since leaving the council, she has set up a “mediation, negotiation and contract solutions” company and her own consultancy.

She is also a Deputy Lord Lieutenant, able to stand in for Lord Provost and Lord Lieutenant Donald Wilson to represent the Queen at ceremonial occasions in the Capital.

Dame Sue is chair of youth citizenship organisation Young Scot and of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, as well as vice-chair of the Scottish Council for Development & Industry, a non-executive director of energy company SSE, a trustee of the Merchant Company Schools Trust and visiting professor at Strathclyde University’s International Institute of Public Policy.