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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 2020/21

10th September 2021

The Standards Commission’s Annual Report for 2020/21 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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New Convener

1st September 2021

We are delighted to report that Paul Walker has been appointed as the new Convener of the Standards Commission. Paul has been a member of the Standards Commission since May 2018. His early career encompassed both the public and private sectors, as well as acting as a bridge builder between them when working for trade and employer bodies, including the Confederation of British Industry. He is active in a number of voluntary and community capacities, being engaged in charity-related work, such...

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Consultation on Revised Guidance

19th August 2021

The Standards Commission is currently seeking feedback on Guidance it has drafted to support both the revised Councillors’ and Model Codes of Conduct, which are shortly to be put before Parliament for approval. The draft Guidance, Codes and information on how to provide feedback can be found on the ‘Consultations’ page of this...

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To share or not to share!

2nd August 2021

To share or not to share – that is the question! One of the key principles of public life in Scotland is openness. This places a duty on politicians and individuals appointed to public positions to be as open and transparent as possible about their decisions and actions. It requires them to give reasons for decisions and to only restrict information if there is a wider public interest in doing so. So does this mean that the public is entitled to all informatio...

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Why Respect is Key

6th July 2021

One of the nine key principles of public life in Scotland is that of respect. Councillors and members of devolved public bodies are expected to behave in a respectful manner towards their colleagues, employees and members of the public, and to treat them with courtesy at all times. If they fail to do so, they run the risk of being found in breach of their respective

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Standards Update June 2021

30th June 2021

Our latest Standards Update is now available.

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Why Transparency Matters

26th May 2021

Politicians and other individuals in public life are expected to register and declare both their interests, and any gifts and hospitality received. This can sound like red tape - just another annoying and pointless task for them to remember to do. Surely requiring someone who is already busy or overworked to do so is simply bureaucratic nonsense? Well… no! The requirement to register and declare interests allows the public to have confidence that those who are resp...

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Striking a balance!

29th April 2021

Councillors are expected to provide strategic leadership and management. Sounds very grand, but what do we mean by this? One good example might be setting strategy and making major decisions that concern the Council as a whole. Another would be scrutinising the Council’s performance and the service it is providing. Councillors have a right to ask for good quality information to allow them to undertake their strategic and scrutiny roles effectively. What Councillors...

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Standards Update March 2021

31st March 2021

Our latest Standards Update is now available.

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Pause before you post!

26th March 2021

We are all aware of the huge advantages and pitfalls of social media and its impact in terms of political debate. On the one hand, candidates and politicians can use social media to engage and interact with the public directly. They can keep the public informed about work and policy issues and can even combat misinformation. It gives them a chance to demonstrate they are interested, that they care and even that they have a sense of humour. Essentially, social media allows politicians t...

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