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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

Freedom of Expression

14th November 2022

Freedom of Expression You may have heard the terms ‘freedom of expression’ or ‘freedom of speech’ before, often used in the context of politics and public life. But what does freedom of expression mean, why is it important, and does it have limits? What does freedom of expression mean? The right to freedom of expression is not a new concept – it is understood that a democratic principle of ‘free speech’ m...

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The Ethical Standards Commissioner’s Public Consultation on its draft Investigations Manual

10th November 2022

The Ethical Standards Commissioner (ESC) is currently seeking the public's views on its draft Investigations Manual, which consolidates all of the procedures and policies for the different types of complaints that are within its remit. This includes complaints about the conduct of Councillors and Members of devolved bodies. The Standards Commission welcomes the introduction of the manual and the opportunity to provide comments on it.

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Standards Update September 2022

29th September 2022

Our latest Standards Update is now available.

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Progress of Investigations Direction

27th September 2022

Following a consultation with the Acting Ethical Standards Commissioner (ESC), the Standards Commission has renewed its Direction on the Progress of Investigations issued to the ESC under sections 10 and 11 of the Ethical Standards in Public Life etc. (Scotland) Act 2000. The Direction requires the ESC to provide the Standards Commission with reports on the progress of investigations into complaints about councillors and members of devolved public bodies every three months. The re...

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Why duty is still relevant

22nd September 2022

The recent passing of Her Majesty the Queen led many to note that she led a life of public service, dedication and duty. The late Queen continued to perform her official duties until the very end of her life, even accepting the resignation of the former Prime Minister and appointing a new one in her last week. In 1995, the Committee on Standards in Public Life (the Nolan Committee) identified seven principles of conduct underpinning public life; being: ·   ...

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Annual Report 2021/22

22nd September 2022

The Standards Commission's Annual Report for 2021/22 has been laid before the Scottish Parliament. A copy can be found here. The Annual Report contains information about performance against strategic aims; case statistics; summaries of decisions made at Hearings; and governance and financial information

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Her Majesty the Queen

9th September 2022

The Standards Commission has suspended its public Hearings as a mark of respect following the death of Her Majesty The Queen. We extend deep and sincere condolence to the His Majesty King Charles III and members of the Royal Family.

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9th August 2022

Importance of Objectivity One of the key principles of public life, commonly known as the ‘Nolan Principles’, is objectivity. The key principle of objectivity obliges those in public life, including politicians, to make decisions solely on merit, impartially and without discrimination or bias. Local government councillors and members of devolved public bodies make decisions that affect all communities and everyone’s daily lives. These include d...

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What is Lobbying?

30th June 2022

What is Lobbying? Lobbying is a word that is frequently mentioned in the news, particularly in connection to politicians. But do many people know what it means and whether it is allowed? “Lobbying” is the term used to describe where an individual, organisation or a group tries to influence politicians and other elected representatives to support a particular policy or make a certain decision. Lobbying can be done in person, by sending letters...

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Leadership and Culture

31st May 2022

Leadership and Culture One of the key principles of public life (sometimes known as ‘the Nolan principles’) is leadership. Holders of public office, including politicians, should demonstrate the other key principles of selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness and honesty in their own behaviour and treat others with respect. Those in public life are required to actively promote and robustly support the key principles and to challenge poor behaviour wh...

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