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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

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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The Auditor General’s Report on the Ethical Standards Commissioner: Statement from the Standards Commission for Scotland

31st January 2023

The Standards Commission's statement on the Auditor General’s Report on the Ethical Standards Commissioner can be found here.

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Social Impact Pledge

30th January 2023

The Standards Commission has signed up to a Social Impact Pledge, which is aimed at increasing the social impact of public sector organisations in Scotland. The pledge is a Scottish Government initiative that asks public sector organisations to commit to increasing their social impact by making a public commitment to change their current operations or policies. The pledge should include actions that the organisation was not already undertaking. The Standards Commission has pledg...

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Appointment of new Ethical Standards Commissioner

27th January 2023

The Standards Commission is pleased to note that the Scottish Parliament had approved the appointment of Ian Bruce, the Acting Commissioner, as the new Ethical Standards Commissioner. We wish Ian every success in the role and look forward to continuing to work with him and his team.

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The Committee on Standards in Public Life's Report "Leading in Practice"

27th January 2023

LEADING IN PRACTICE The Committee on Standards in Public Life (CSPL) has this week published its latest report, entitled ‘Leading in Practice’. The report contains insights from leaders in the public, private and charitable sectors and also includes scenarios based on real examples. It can be downloaded from the CSPL’s website. The report focuses...

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Blog: Quasi-Judicial and Regulatory Decision-Making

13th January 2023

Why the Councillors’ Code has a Separate Section on Quasi-Judicial and Regulatory Decision-Making Section 7 of the Councillors’ Code of Conduct outlines what councillors should do when making decisions on quasi-judicial or regulatory matters. These types of decisions typically involve planning or licensing applications, such as ones concerning planning, alcohol licensing, applications for betting and gaming premises, and taxi licences. Why is...

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