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.
- What We Do
- Who We Are
- Standards Commission Meetings
- Audit and Risk Committee
- Who We Cover
- Our Service
- Policies & Procedures
News and Blog
- Health and Social Care IJBs - Standards Officer Appointments
- Survey on the Hearing Process
- Feedback on the Hearings Survey
- Advice Note for Councillors on ALEOs
- Updated Standard Presentation to Elected Members
- New Convener Appointed
- Consultation on the Councillors' Code of Conduct
- How Councils Work - Follow Up Report Nov 2016
- New Member of the Commission - Mr Michael McCormick
- Appointment of New Commission Member
- Updated Standard Presentation to Board Members
- Application of Article 10 of ECHR at Hearings of the Standards Commission
- Consultation on Draft Advice Note on Application of Article 10
- Advice for Councillors on How to Declare Interests
- A Councillor's Responsibilities to the Council as a Member of the Public
- Standards Commission's Regional Roadshows
- Revised Guidance on the Councillors' Code of Conduct
- Advice Note for Councillors on the Application of Article 10 of the ECHR
- Festive Closure
- January 2018 Professional Briefing
- Consultation on draft Advice Note for Councillors on Distinguishing Between Strategic and Operational Management
- Member vacancy
- Administrative Assistant Vacancy
- Flowchart on Making Declarations of Interest
- April 2018 Professional Briefing
- Proposed changes to the Councillors' Code of Conduct
- Standards Commission - BSL Plan
- New Standards Commission Member appointed
- Advice Note for Councillors on Distinguishing between their Strategic Role and any Operational Work
- Health & Social Care Integration Joint Board Members' Workshop 24 Sept 2018
- BSL Video on role of the Standards Commission
- British Sign Language Event reminder
- Response to Committee on Standards in Public Life's Review of Ethical Standards in Local Government in England
- June 2018 Professional Briefing
- Amended Councillors' Code of Conduct
- Amended Guidance on the Councillors' Code of Conduct
- Annual Report 2017/18
- Regional Roadshows on the Councillors' Code of Conduct
- Draft British Sign Language (BSL) Plan - consultation
- Standards Commission - Role and Remit (BSL Video)
- British Sign Language (BSL) Plan
- Sept 2018 Professional Briefing
- Interim Suspensions
- Survey of Members of Devolved Public Bodies
- Standards Commission Member Recruitment
- Standards Update December 2018
- Change of Venue - Regional Roadshow
- Assisting Constituents Card
- Further Analysis of Responses to Survey of Members of Devolved Public Bodies
- New Standards Commission Member appointed
- Hearings Flowchart
- Standards Update March 2019
- Ethical Standards Act Section 19(6) Policy
- Standards Update July 2019
- Appeal Judgement
- Annual Report 2018-19
- Standards Update September 2019
- Interim Suspensions
- Advice Note for Members of IJBs
- Draft Strategic Plan 2020-24
- Standards Update December 2019
- Standards Officers' Workshop
- Suspension Guidance
- Postponement of Standards Officers' workshop on 23 March 2020
- Hearing in Stornoway on 18 March 2020 postponed
- Standards Commission - remote working arrangements
- Standards Update March 2020
- Amended Advice Notes
- Standards Update July 2020
- Standards Commission Hearings
- Advice Note for Public on Councillors’ Code
- Standards Update September 2020
- Scottish Government Consultations on the Councillors' Code of Conduct and the Model Code of Conduct for Members of Devolved Public Bodies
- Direction on the Outcome of Investigations
- Recruitment for a new Convener
- Committee on Standards in Public Life Public (CSPL) Consultation: Standards Matter 2
- Standards Update December 2020
- Business Manager & Caseworker Recruitment
- Appeal Decision
- "You're on Mute!"
- Direction on the Eligibility of Complaints
- BSL video on Councillors' Code of Conduct and Guidance - Advice for Members of the Public
- Pause before you post!
- Standards Update March 2021
- Striking a balance!
- Why Transparency Matters
- Standards Update June 2021
- Why Respect is Key
- To share or not to share!
- Consultation on Revised Guidance
- New Convener
- Annual Report 2020/21
- Holding Hearings in Public
- Standards Update September 2021
- Standards Commission Decision to Disqualify Councillor Upheld by Court
- Vacancy - New Member of the Standards Commission
- Respect is Still Key
- Standard Training Presentations on the Revised Codes of Conducts
- New Codes of Conduct Issued
- Honesty and Trust
- Standards Update December 2021
- Audit Scotland’s Section 22 Report on the Ethical Standards Commissioner - Statement from the Standards Commission for Scotland
- New Standards Commission Member
- Similar names, different roles.....
- Outcome of Appeal to Court of Session
- Standards Update March 2022
- Social Media: Avoid the Pitfalls!
- Summary of Councillors and Monitoring Officers Survey Responses
- Surveys of Standards Officers and Board Members of Public Bodies
- Glossary of commonly used words and terms
- Leadership and Culture
- What is Lobbying?
- Her Majesty the Queen
- Annual Report 2021/22
- Why duty is still relevant
- Progress of Investigations Direction
- Standards Update September 2022
- The Ethical Standards Commissioner’s Public Consultation on its draft Investigations Manual
- Freedom of Expression
- Recruitment of two new Commission Members
- Effective Relationships
- Standards Update December 2022
- Ethical Standards Commissioner - Job Opportunities
- Festive Office Hours
- Blog: Quasi-Judicial and Regulatory Decision-Making
- The Committee on Standards in Public Life's Report "Leading in Practice"
- Appointment of new Ethical Standards Commissioner
- Social Impact Pledge
- The Auditor General’s Report on the Ethical Standards Commissioner: Statement from the Standards Commission for Scotland
- The Ethical Standards Framework
- Polarisation in Politics
- Standards Commission’s Response to Scottish Government’ Electoral Reform Consultation
- New Standards Commission Member
- Multiple Roles: Conflicts of Interest?
- Standards Update March 2023
- New Standards Commission Member - Helen Donaldson
- Distinguishing between lobbying and helping constituents or service users
- Preferential Treatment
- Standards Commission's Response to the Scottish Government's Consultation on the Review of the National Outcomes
- Making a complaint
- Standards Update June 2023
- Consultation on Section 31 of the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973
- Volunteering at The Yard
- Eligibility Direction
- Scottish Government’s Consultation on Mandatory Training for Councillors on their role in the Planning System
- Standards Update September 2023
- Dispensations Granted for Members of Cairngorms National Park Authority and Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park Authority
- When do the Codes of Conduct apply?
- New Advice Note for Members of College Boards
- Standards Commission’s Draft Strategic Plan 2024/28
- Use of Personal Information
All councils and those devolved public bodies listed under Schedule 3 to the Ethical Standards in Public Life etc. (Scotland) Act 2000 (the 2000 Act) are obliged to have a Code of Conduct for their elected and appointed members. The Codes of Conduct have a key role in setting out, openly and clearly, the standards of conduct that must be adhered to by those in public office.
The Standards Commission’s vision is to achieve the highest possible ethical standards in public life so that the public in Scotland has confidence in those elected to local councils and those appointed to the board of devolved public bodies.
The Standards Commission promotes awareness of, and adherence to, the Codes of Conduct by providing guidance, support and training to key stakeholders and by maximising engagement opportunities with the public and media.
The Standards Commission is independent of government, political institutions and political parties and as such is able to make impartial decisions, free from any influence, on the enforcement of the Codes of Conduct.
The Standards Commission is aware that there are many instances of exemplary work being undertaken across Scotland and the intention is always to add value rather than duplicate existing work. This involves partnership working, seeking opportunities to share services, and influencing policy development and implementation at national and local level.
The Standards Commission will provide value for money by continually seeking to improve policies and procedures, maintain efficiency and reduce costs.
The 2000 Act provided for a framework to encourage and, where necessary enforce, high ethical standards in public life. A later Act established the separate and distinct post of the Ethical Standards Commissioner (ESC).
In essence, the 2000 Act creates a framework whereby local authorities and devolved public bodies are required to adopt Codes of Conduct for their members. Complaints about breaches of these Codes are investigated by the ESC. Once the ESC has concluded their investigation, they will report the matter to the Standards Commission for adjudication.
The Standards Commission's functions as provided for by the 2000 Act are to:
- issue guidance to councils and devolved public bodies to assist them in promoting high standards of conduct;
- Review reports from the ESC on the outcome of their investigations and determine whether to hold a Hearing or to take no action. The Standards Commission can also to direct the ESC to carry out further investigations.
The Standards Commission will hold a Hearing to determine:
- whether a councillor or member of a devolved public body has contravened the Councillors' or the Members' Code of Conduct;
- the sanction to be applied where, following a Hearing, the Panel find that a councillor or member has breached the relevant Code of Conduct.
Who we are
The Standards Commission comprises a Convener and four Commission Members who are appointed by the Parliamentary corporation. The Standards Commission employs four staff, led by an Executive Director. The organisation's current structure can be downloaded as a pdf.
The Scottish Parliamentary Commission and Commissioners etc. Act 2010 provided that with effect from 1 April 2011 the Standards Commission is supported by the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body.
The Standards Commission's Standing Orders outline the arrangements for the discharge of the organisation's functions. They are reviewed biennially.
The Standards Commission has produced a list or glossary of the abbreviations and technical terms it uses, with an explanation of what each means.