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.
Direction on the Outcome of Investigations
17th November 2020
The Standards Commission has issued a Direction to the Ethical Standards Commissioner (ESC) requiring her to provide a report to the Standards Commission, at the conclusion of every investigation into a complaint about a councillor or member of a devolved public body received on or after 12 November 2020, outlining her findings and conclusions as to whether or not there has been a contravention of the relevant Code. The Direction means that the Standards Commission will make the final decision, under Section 16 of the Ethical Standards in Public life etc. (Scotland) Act 2000, on all complaints that have been investigated. The Direction ensures there is a clear separation of functions between the investigatory and adjudicatory functions of the two organisations and will hopefully remove any concerns about fairness of process or inconsistencies between the two organisations as to how the Codes should be interpreted. The Direction will allow any disputed evidence or representations on how the provisions of the Codes should be interpreted to be tested fully at a Hearing (if one is to be held), where evidence is taken on oath or affirmation and where the participants and the Panel can question witnesses and respond to submissions made. The implementation of the Direction should also make the procedures for the adjudication of complaints about councillors and members of devolved public bodies more consistent with the approach taken in respect of complaints about MSPs.