Humanists call on faith bodies to boycott recruitment of religious rep for Aberdeen Schools

Humanist Society Scotland have today (16th March) called on the members of Aberdeen’s minority faith groups to boycott the recruitment process for a new religious representative to the City Council Education Committee.

At present the Church of Scotland and the Roman Catholic Church each have a representative. Council officers are advertising for a member of any other faith body to fill the vacant third seat. Religious reps have full voting rights in committee meetings but cannot be voted out by the community and are not required to adhere to Ethical Standards in Public Life (Act).

HSS are campaigning to change the law that compels councils in Scotland to appoint three church reps. They are urging supporters to sign an online petition at

Vanessa Smith, Convener of Aberdeen Humanists, part of HSS, said:

“Church representatives are unelected, unrepresentative and unaccountable. And yet they are still able to vote on every council decision about education in the City.

Vanessa Smith - Convener of Aberdeen Humanists

Vanessa Smith – Convener of Aberdeen Humanists

“Aberdeen Council are simply doing what is required of them by law but there is nothing to compel Aberdeen’s faith community to take up the vacant seat. I hope we can persuade members of the faith community to leave the vacant seat empty and instead seek to work together to hold our democratically elected councillors to account for the choices they make about schools across the city.

“Removing church representatives further ensures an opportunity for children from different backgrounds to learn and socialise together, breaking down the barriers that divide us and promoting social cohesion.”


1. The Humanist Society Scotland exists to support people to live an ethical life along Humanist values of empathy, and rationalism. We campaign for an ethical, rational and secular Scotland. HSS has over 14,000 members and carries out 3,000 Humanist Funerals and the weddings of 3,200 Humanist members.

2. Aberdeen City Council announced its recruitment of a third religious rep on its Education and Children Services Committee on Tuesday.

3. For interviews and queries contact HSS Campaigns and Communications Manager Fraser Sutherland on 07477 692109 or


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