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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

Dispensations Granted for Members of Cairngorms National Park Authority and Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park Authority

10th October 2023

Following a request to do so from both Cairngorms National Park Authority and Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park Authority, the Standards Commission decided to grant a dispensation to allow the Members of both to take part in any discussion, decision-making and voting, without being bound by the provision on collective responsibility, on the Scottish Government’s consultation on the future governance of National Parks in Scotland and the future governance arrangements of Nation...

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Standards Update September 2023

28th September 2023

Our latest Standards Update is now available.

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Scottish Government’s Consultation on Mandatory Training for Councillors on their role in the Planning System

23rd September 2023

The Scottish Government’s is currently consulting on mandatory training for councillors on their role in the planning system. The consultation closes on 26 October 2023. The Government notes that elected members have a crucial role in the decision-making process within the planning system, by carrying out specific planning functions including the determination of certain planning applications for their local authority. It notes, however, that elected members do not necessarily ha...

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Eligibility Direction

22nd August 2023

The Standards Commission issued a Direction, on 1 March 2021, to the former Ethical Standards Commissioner (ESC) outlining the criteria for assessing the eligibility of complaints about councillors and members of devolved public bodies. Following consultation and agreement with the current ESC, the Standards Commission has now rescinded the Direction. The eligibility criteria are now outlined in the ESC’s Investigations Manual, a copy of which can be found on his

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Volunteering at The Yard

17th August 2023

The Standards Commission recently signed up to a Social Impact Pledge, aimed at increasing the social impact of public sector organisations in Scotland. As part of its pledge, the Standards Commission decided that its staff would give back to the community by spending a day working for a charity. On 16 August 2023, staff spent the day working for The Yard, a Scottish charity, supporting disabled children and young people, and their families, through adventure play. Staff really enjoyed...

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Confidentiality

10th August 2023

Confidentiality Local authorities and public bodies in Scotland spend public money and provide services to the public. The public cannot, however, hold local authorities and public bodies to account unless they are open and transparent about their work, performance and how they use their resources. But does this mean that, as constituents, service users and stakeholders, we should expect local government councillors and those appointed, nominated or elected to t...

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Sanctions

31st July 2023

As part of its adjudicatory function, the Standards Commission holds Hearings to determine whether councillors or members of devolved public bodies have breached their Codes of Conduct. Hearings arise if Standards Commission members, following their consideration of an investigation report referred by the Ethical Standards Commi...

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Consultation on Section 31 of the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973

6th July 2023

Following a request to do so by the Standards Commission, the Scottish Government is currently seeking views on making changes to Section 31 of the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973, which outlines the circumstances in which individuals are automatically disqualified for nomination, election and holding office as member of local authority. The Government is seeking views regarding whether individuals subject...

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Standards Update June 2023

29th June 2023

Our latest Standards Update is now available.

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Making a complaint

19th June 2023

Making a Complaint We’ve noted in previous blogs, the importance of those elected and appointed to serve as local government councillors and board members of public bodies adhering to the key principles of public life and complying with their Codes of Conduct. But what happens if they don’t? Well… anyone can make a complaint about the conduct of a councillor or a member of a public body in Scotland. We would encourage anyone who is considering making a...

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