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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

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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Glossary of commonly used words and terms

25th May 2022

The Standards Commission has produced a list or glossary of the abbreviations and technical terms it uses, with an explanation of what each means. 

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2nd May 2022

With recent news stories highlighting the issues faced by women in politics, it is timely to pause and consider the consequences. Despite over a century having passed since women have had the right to stand for election, they remain underrepresented at both national and local levels. As it stands[1], only 35% of MPs in Westminster and 29% of local councillors in Scotland are female. Representation in the Scottish Parliament is slightly better at 45%, but is still short of a 50/50 split...

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Surveys of Standards Officers and Board Members of Public Bodies

28th April 2022

The Standards Commission issued surveys today to all Standards Officers and Board Members of public bodies asking about their experiences with the ethical standards framework and in particular members compliance with, and awareness of, the provisions of the Model Code of Conduct. We intend to use the information gathered to inform any future training events and/or identify the need for any further educational material or guidance. We are also keen to see if we can improve how we handle enquir...

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Summary of Councillors and Monitoring Officers Survey Responses

27th April 2022

The Standards Commission issued surveys to councillors and the Monitoring Officers of all 32 Scottish local authorities in February 2022. The intention was to learn about both councillors’ and Monitoring Officers’ experiences with the ethical standards framework and, in particular, their experiences of elected members’ compliance with, and awareness of, the provisions of the Councillors’ Code of Conduct. The Standards Commission intends to use information gathered to i...

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Social Media: Avoid the Pitfalls!

1st April 2022

We have previously noted in this blog that social media has huge advantages in terms of enabling those in public life to engage and interact with the public directly. It gives politicians and members of devolved public bodies an effective way of informing the public about the work their council or public body is proposing or undertaking, and allows them to engage with the public on policy issues. As we all know social media can also be used to combat misinformation and win over hearts...

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