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The Standards Commission is an independent body whose purpose is to encourage high ethical standards in public life through the promotion and enforcement of Codes of Conduct for councillors and those appointed to the boards of devolved public bodies.

Cancellation of Hearing

15th February 2017

The Standards Commission for Scotland has cancelled a Hearing that was due to take place on 21 March 2017 in respect of Councillor Kathleen Howie of Perth and Kinross Council.

The Commissioner for Ethical Standards in Public Life (CESPLS) referred a complaint to the Standards Commission for Scotland about the alleged conduct of Councillor Kathleen Howie of Perth & Kinross Council.  The substance of the allegation was that Councillor Howie had contravened the Councillors’ Code of Conduct and, in particular, a provision relating to the registering of an interest in a directorship.  The Standards Commission considered the report referred by the CESPLS and decided to hold a Hearing.

The Standards Commission has been advised by the CESPLS that he is now satisfied that Councillor Kathleen Howie’s directorship was not remunerated.  In terms of paragraph 4.3 of the Councillors’ Code of Conduct, councillors are only required to register being a director if it is a remunerated position.  As such, the CESPLS now accepts the directorship did not require to be registered and, accordingly, there has been no breach of the Councillors’ Code of Conduct.  On that basis, the CESPLS indicated that he wished to withdraw his Report.

The Standards Commission considers it is evident that there was a material deficiency in the original Report.  In the exceptional circumstances of this case where it is now clear that there has not been a breach of the Councillors’ Code, the Standards Commission does not consider it is in the public interest to proceed with the Hearing and has agreed to the withdrawal of the Report.

It is the Standards Commission’s understanding that the CESPLS will be issuing a new non-breach report in due course, which will be published on his website at http://www.ethicalstandards.org.uk/.  The non-breach report will not be referred to the Standards Commission.