Role and Remit

Our 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.
We are a statutory body established under The Ethical Standards in Public Life etc. (Scotland) Act 2000 (‘the Ethical Standards Act’). The Ethical Standards Act created a framework whereby Councillors and Members of Devolved Public Bodies are required to comply with Codes of Conduct and also Guidance which is issued by us. Complaints about breaches of these Codes are investigated by the Commissioner for Ethical Standards in Public Life in Scotland (CESPLS) and thereafter adjudicated upon by us. For more information on how to make a complaint, please click here.

  • Information on the Ethical Standards Framework

    In this video our Convenor, Kevin Dunion, talks about the Ethical Standards Framework in Scotland and outlines the role and remit of both the Standards Commission and the Commissioner for Ethical Standards in Public Life.

  • Introduction to the Standards Commission:

    We have two key strands of work:

    A proactive educational role around the ethical standards framework, including publishing Guidance and Advice Notes on the relevant Codes of Conduct; and

    An adjudicatory role in holding public Hearings to decide on alleged breaches of the Codes of Conduct, and where a breach is found, to then determine the appropriate sanction.


    Both the Councillors’ Code of Conduct and the Model Code of Conduct for Board members of devolved public bodies are based on key principles. The following videos introduce these key principles.

  • BSL - What We Do

    We have created a British Sign Language video explaining our role and remit. The video also explains how to make a complaint that a councillor or member of a devolved public body has breached their respective Code of Conduct.

  • Respect

    Councillors and Board members must treat the public, officers and colleagues with respect and courtesy at all times.

  • Duty and Leadership

    Councillors and Board Members have a duty to uphold the law and act in accordance with the law and the public trust placed in them. They have a duty to promote and support these principles by leadership and example, and to maintain and strengthen the public's trust and confidence in the integrity of the Council/public body and its councillors/members in conducting public business.

  • Accountability and Stewardship

    Councillors and Board members are accountable to the public for their decisions and actions. They have a duty to consider issues on their merits, taking account of the views of others, and must ensure that the Council/public body uses its resources prudently and in accordance with the law.

  • Openness and Objectivity

    Councillors and Board members have a duty to be as open as possible about their decisions and actions, giving reasons for their decisions and restricting information only when the wider public interest clearly demands. They must make decisions solely on merit when carrying out public business including making appointments, awarding contracts or recommending individuals for rewards and benefits.

  • Selflessness, Honesty and Integrity

    Councillors and Board members have a duty to take decisions solely in terms of the public interest. They must not act in order to gain financial or other material benefit for themselves, family or friends.

    They have a duty to act honestly. They must declare any private interests relating to their public duties and take steps to resolve any conflicts arising in a way that protects the public interest.

    Councillors and Board Members must not place themselves under any financial or other obligation to any individual or organisation that might reasonably be thought to influence them in the performance of their duties.