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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

Standards Commission's Response to the Scottish Government's Consultation on the Review of the National Outcomes

31st May 2023

Response to the Scottish Government's Consultation on the Review of the National Outcomes The Scottish Government is consulting on the National Performance Framework. The consultation and review are designed to ensure the National Outcomes reflect what matters most to communities in Scotland. On 31 May 2023, the Standards Commission submitted a response to the consultation. The response is outlined below: The Standards Commission notes that the current...

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Preferential Treatment

22nd May 2023

We’ve noted, in previous blogs, that the success of public bodies, including local authorities, in delivering effective services relies in no small part on them having constructive relationships with the public, key stakeholders and service users. This is because a lack of trust in those in public life does not just affect the reputation of any one individual, it can also erode confidence in public messaging, public bodies and the delivery of public services. Mutual respect, comm...

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Distinguishing between lobbying and helping constituents or service users

28th April 2023

For local authorities and public bodies to be as accessible, approachable and responsive as possible to the people they serve, they should aim to put the public interest at the forefront of all decision-making. This can mean seeking the views of and engaging with service users, constituents, stakeholders and members of public in general. There is, however, a difference between on the one hand, engaging with and helping those who might be affected by the work of a council or public body...

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New Standards Commission Member - Helen Donaldson

5th April 2023

We are delighted to welcome another new Standards Commission Member, Helen Donaldson. Helen enjoyed a long career in education, working locally and nationally, initially as an English teacher in Stirling and in Angus. Thereafter she moved to more strategic roles firstly as a literacy development officer before taking on leadership responsibilities in Aberdeenshire as a Quality Improvement Officer then Acting Head of Early Years. Helen continued in local authority work as Head of Educat...

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Standards Update March 2023

30th March 2023

Our latest Standards Update is now available.

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Multiple Roles: Conflicts of Interest?

17th March 2023

Councillors and members of devolved public bodies in Scotland often have multiple roles. A councillor might, for example, also be a member of the local health board or regional transport partnership. Similarly, a member of a health board may also be a member of the local health and social care partnership, or they may sit on the board of a college or enterprise organisation. Being a member of two or more organisations can bring real benefits to both, in terms of a councillor or member...

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New Standards Commission Member

13th March 2023

We are delighted to welcome a new Standards Commission Member, Anne-Marie O'Hara, who started in post today. Anne-Marie has worked in various property, charity and grant-giving roles. She was Head of the Capital Team at The BIG Lottery Fund and led the Property Planning, Projects and European Funding Team at the National Trust for Scotland. Anne-Marie retired recently from her post as CEO of an Edinburgh-based charity and social enterprise providing affordable space for the third secto...

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Standards Commission’s Response to Scottish Government’ Electoral Reform Consultation

28th February 2023

Standards Commission’s Response to Scottish Government’ Electoral Reform Consultation  The Scottish Government is currently consulting on potential reforms to electoral law. The consultation sets out proposals on how to increase voter registration and how to improve accessibility in elections. The consultation closes on 15 March 2023. Details of the consultation and how to respond can be found

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Polarisation in Politics

15th February 2023

The resignation of Nicola Sturgeon as First Minister of Scotland has dominated today’s news cycle. In her resignation speech, she spoke about the ‘intensity’ and ‘brutality’ of being a politician, and about polarisation in politics, calling on all political parties to take an opportunity to: “de-polarise public debate just a bit; to focus more on issues than on personalities; and to reset the tone and tenor of our discourse.”...

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The Ethical Standards Framework

9th February 2023

Did you know that Scotland has an ethical standards framework? What is the ethical standards framework? Has one always been in place? The framework was introduced by the Ethical Standards in Public Life etc. (Scotland) Act 2000 (the 2000 Act), which was one of the first pieces of legislation enacted by the Scottish Parliament. The 2000 Act provided for the introduction of a

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