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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


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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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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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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