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Standards Commission for Scotland
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1.1 The Standards Commission for Scotland is an independent body whose aim is to encourage high ethical standards in public life through the promotion and if necessary, the enforcement of codes of conduct for councillors and those appointed to the boards of devolved public bodies.
2.1. The Standards Commission has adopted the values and principles enshrined in the Codes of Conduct. These are:
Duty and Public Service
Holders of public office should uphold the law and act in accordance with the law and the public trust placed in them. They should act in the interests of the public body and all the communities served by it.
Holders of public office should act solely in terms of the public interest. They should not do so to gain financial or other benefits for themselves, their family or their friends.
Holders of public office should not place themselves under any financial or other obligation to outside individuals or organisations that might seek to influence them in performance of their official duties.
In carrying out public business, including making public appointments, awarding contracts, or recommending individuals for rewards and benefits, holders of office should make choices on merit.
Accountability and Stewardship
Holders of public office are accountable for their decisions and actions to the public and must submit themselves to whatever scrutiny is appropriate to their office.
Holders of public office should be as open as possible about all the decisions and actions that they take. They should give reasons for their decisions and restrict information only when the wider public interest clearly demands.
Holders of public office have a duty to declare any private interests relating to their public duties and to take steps to resolve any conflicts arising in a way that protects the public interest.
Holders of public office should promote and support these principles by leadership and example.
Holders of public office must respect all other holders of public office and employees of the public body and the role they play, treating them with courtesy at all times.
3.1 We aim to provide you with a good service. The standards you can expect from us are:
To respond promptly
- We will answer all calls quickly, normally within 5 rings and give you our names when speaking to you.
- We will greet you politely and clearly.
- We will use answerphone machines only outside normal office hours, on public holiday or in exceptional circumstances.
- We will return telephone or answerphone messages by the end of the next working day, unless a later time is mutually agreed.
- If the issue cannot be dealt with immediately (for example, it relates to very complicated issues), we will respond fully within 20 working days. If, in exceptional circumstances, we cannot respond fully in 20 working days, we will tell you why, and when we will be able to do so
Correspondence (letters, faxes and e-mails)
- We will acknowledge your correspondence within 5 working days of receiving it and give you a full written response within 20 working days. If, in exceptional circumstances, we cannot reply fully in 20 working days, we will tell you why, and when we will be able to do so
To see you promptly
- Our office is open from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday (Any exceptions or variations will be publicised, including on our answerphone).
- If you make an appointment and come to our office in person, we will see you promptly at the appointed time.
- If you do not have an appointment and come to our office in person, we will take details of your query within 15 minutes of your arrival. We will either deal with your enquiry, or arrange a date for a further meeting or for someone to write to you within 20 working days of your visit or for someone to telephone you within 5 working days.
- When external appointments have been made, staff will ensure that they arrive on time or if exceptionally delayed, that notification of the delay is made as soon as possible.
To provide you with information about Hearings
- A Register will be kept at the offices of the Standards Commission. This Register will contain details of all Hearings held about misconduct relating to councillors and members of devolved public bodies.
- The Register will show the action that was taken and the outcome of such action.
- The Register is open to public inspection without charge during office hours.
We are always pleased to receive feedback, good or bad. Although we work hard to provide a good service, sometimes things go wrong and we want to learn from mistakes.
Our standards for handling complaints are:
Complaints about the service provided by the Standards Commission
If you complain about the service provided by our office:
On the spot response
- If you phone to make a complaint or call in person, we can sometimes put things right straightaway.
- We will write to you to confirm what action we have taken or intend to take.
Investigation and written response
- We will acknowledge a written complaint within 5 working days of receipt, let you know who will be dealing with it and tell you when a full response can be expected.
- We aim to provide a full response within 20 working days of receiving a complaint. If we cannot respond within 20 working days, we will explain why and confirm a date when we will provide a full response.
- If you ask the Convener of the Standards Commission to review the complaint, the Convener will review the complaint and the Standards Commission's response and aim to provide a full written response within 20 working days. If he cannot respond within 20 working days, he will explain why and confirm a date when he will provide a full response.
Complaints about a Member
- The Convener will aim to provide a full written response to the complainant within 20 working days. If he cannot respond within 20 days, he will explain why and confirm a date when he will provide a full response.
If you remain dissatisfied with the way your complaint has been handled, you can contact the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman. The Ombudsman will normally only act once you have explored the other avenues of complaint described above. The contact details of the Ombudsman office are as follows:
The Scottish Public Services Ombudsman
4 Melville Street
Phone: 0870 011 5378
Fax: 0870 011 5379
Textphone: 0790 049 4372
You can find full details of our complaints procedure in the document Complaints about the service provided by the Standards Commission for Scotland.
Any enquiries about this Customer Charter should be referred to:
Standards Commission for Scotland
Room T2.21, Scottish Parliament
Tel: 0131 348 6666
Fax: 0131 557 9243
You can access a lot of information about the Standards Commission on this website by using the menus at the top and left of the site. Here you will find case summaries, Hearing decisions, Annual Reports and Corporate Plans, as well as copies of the Codes of Conduct and relevant legislation.