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About Us

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.

News and Blog

To share or not to share!

2nd August 2021

To share or not to share – that is the question! One of the key principles of public life in Scotland is openness. This places a duty on politicians and individuals appointed to public positions to be as open and transparent as possible about their decisions and actions. It requires them to give reasons for decisions and to only restrict information if there is a wider public interest in doing so. So does this mean that the public is entitled to all informatio...

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Why Respect is Key

6th July 2021

One of the nine key principles of public life in Scotland is that of respect. Councillors and members of devolved public bodies are expected to behave in a respectful manner towards their colleagues, employees and members of the public, and to treat them with courtesy at all times. If they fail to do so, they run the risk of being found in breach of their respective

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Standards Update June 2021

30th June 2021

Our latest Standards Update is now available.

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Why Transparency Matters

26th May 2021

Politicians and other individuals in public life are expected to register and declare both their interests, and any gifts and hospitality received. This can sound like red tape - just another annoying and pointless task for them to remember to do. Surely requiring someone who is already busy or overworked to do so is simply bureaucratic nonsense? Well… no! The requirement to register and declare interests allows the public to have confidence that those who are resp...

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Striking a balance!

29th April 2021

Councillors are expected to provide strategic leadership and management. Sounds very grand, but what do we mean by this? One good example might be setting strategy and making major decisions that concern the Council as a whole. Another would be scrutinising the Council’s performance and the service it is providing. Councillors have a right to ask for good quality information to allow them to undertake their strategic and scrutiny roles effectively. What Councillors...

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Standards Update March 2021

31st March 2021

Our latest Standards Update is now available.

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Pause before you post!

26th March 2021

We are all aware of the huge advantages and pitfalls of social media and its impact in terms of political debate. On the one hand, candidates and politicians can use social media to engage and interact with the public directly. They can keep the public informed about work and policy issues and can even combat misinformation. It gives them a chance to demonstrate they are interested, that they care and even that they have a sense of humour. Essentially, social media allows politicians t...

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BSL video on Councillors' Code of Conduct and Guidance - Advice for Members of the Public

25th March 2021

We have created a British Sign Language video outlining and explaining the main provisions in the Councillors’ Code of Conduct. The video covers:⦁ The key principles⦁ General conduct including respect, confidentiality and gifts and hospitality⦁ R...

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Direction on the Eligibility of Complaints

1st March 2021

The Standards Commission has issued a Direction to the Ethical Standards Commissioner (ESC) requiring her to carry out an investigation into every complaint about a councillor and member of a devolved public body she receives, unless: the conduct referred to in the complaint would not, even if it could be established to have occurred, constitute a contravention of the councillors', or as the case may be, the members' code; the councillor or a member of a devolved public...

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Appeal Decision

11th February 2021

At a hearing on 4 February 2021, a Sheriff Principal considered an appeal lodged by a Respondent against a decision made by a Panel of the Standards Commission, at a Hearing on 10 September 2020, to find him in breach of the Councillors’ Code of Conduct and to disqualify him. The Sheriff Principal did not consider, or make any finding, on the Panel’s decisions on breach and sanction, but determined that it should not have proceeded with the Hearing in the absence of the Respondent...

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