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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

Improvement Service and Standards Commission Briefing Note for Councillors on the Right to Access Information

14th February 2024

This Briefing Note outlines the circumstances under which an elected member has a right of access to information held by the council. It also highlights some of the provisions in the Councillors’ Code of Conduct that may apply and should be considered when an elected member is exercising their right to access information.

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Why have Codes of Conduct for Board Members?

13th February 2024

Why have Codes of Conduct for Board Members? The Standards Commission’s remit covers both local government councillors and board members of devolved public bodies in Scotland. Few would argue with the need to ensure high ethical standards in local government – after all, local authorities have responsibility for a wide range of matters that affect almost every aspect of our day to day lives. But why is it important for members of devolved public bodi...

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Updated Guidance on the Councillors' Code of Conduct

8th February 2024

The Standards Commission has updated its Guidance on the Councillors’ Code, in light of feedback and issues that have arisen during the Ethical Standards Commissioner’s investigations and at Hearings. Thank you very much to everyone who helped us with suggestions and feedback. A copy of the updated Guidance can be found on our website at:

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Standards Commission Convener and Member Vacancies

25th January 2024

The Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body (SPCB) is to sit as a selection panel to appoint, with the agreement of the Scottish Parliament, an individual to be the Convener of the Standards Commission to fill a vacancy which will arise when the current Convener, Paul Walker, demits office on 6 May 2024. The SPCB is also seeking to appoint a Member of the Standards Commission, for a period of six years, to fill another vacancy. More information about the roles and how to...

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Standards Commission / Improvement Service - joint webinars

4th January 2024

You are invited to join two webinars hosted by the Improvement Service (IS) and the Standards Commission on following the ethical standards of public life when engaging with the public. The webinars will cover the key issues elected members need to be aware of when engaging with the public, including guidance around the use of language, data protection and confidentiality contained in the Councillors' Code of Conduct. The first webinar will provide an overview of the key points...

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Key Principles of Public Life

3rd January 2024

Both the Councillors’ Code of Conduct and the Model Code of Conduct for Members of Devolved Public Bodies are based on the nine key principles of public life in Scotland. But what are the key principles, and where did they come from? The nine key principles of public life in Scotland are: 1.       Selflessness 2.       Integrity 3.       Objectivity 4.  ...

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Standards Update December 2023

20th December 2023

Our latest Standards Update is now available. 

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Standards Commission’s Draft Strategic Plan 2024/28

20th November 2023

The Standards Commission is required, under Schedule 1 of the Ethical Standards in Public Life etc. (Scotland) Act 2000, to lay before the Parliament a strategic plan setting out how it proposes to exercise its functions during a four-year period.  A draft plan to cover the period from 1 April 2024 to 31 March 2028 can be found

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New Advice Note for Members of College Boards

15th November 2023

The Standards Commission has produced an Advice Note for members of college boards and regional strategic bodies, which has been prepared with the assistance of the Good Governance Steering Group. The aim of the Advice Note is to provide members with an overview of their responsibilities under the ethical standards framework. It seeks, in particular, to assist such members in recognising and dealing with potential conflicts of interest. This is to help minimise the risk of the impact o...

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When do the Codes of Conduct apply?

9th November 2023

All councillors and board members of devolved public bodies in Scotland are required to abide by Codes of Conduct, which outline how they should behave. The Codes cover general conduct and require councillors and members to behave respectfully towards members of the public, council or devolved public body employees, and their colleagues. The Codes state that councillors and members should not bully or harass anyone, require them to maintain confidentiality, and to only accept gifts and...

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