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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

Standards Update December 2023

20th December 2023

Our latest Standards Update is now available. 

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Standards Commission’s Draft Strategic Plan 2024/28

20th November 2023

The Standards Commission is required, under Schedule 1 of the Ethical Standards in Public Life etc. (Scotland) Act 2000, to lay before the Parliament a strategic plan setting out how it proposes to exercise its functions during a four-year period.  A draft plan to cover the period from 1 April 2024 to 31 March 2028 can be found

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New Advice Note for Members of College Boards

15th November 2023

The Standards Commission has produced an Advice Note for members of college boards and regional strategic bodies, which has been prepared with the assistance of the Good Governance Steering Group. The aim of the Advice Note is to provide members with an overview of their responsibilities under the ethical standards framework. It seeks, in particular, to assist such members in recognising and dealing with potential conflicts of interest. This is to help minimise the risk of the impact o...

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When do the Codes of Conduct apply?

9th November 2023

All councillors and board members of devolved public bodies in Scotland are required to abide by Codes of Conduct, which outline how they should behave. The Codes cover general conduct and require councillors and members to behave respectfully towards members of the public, council or devolved public body employees, and their colleagues. The Codes state that councillors and members should not bully or harass anyone, require them to maintain confidentiality, and to only accept gifts and...

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Dispensations Granted for Members of Cairngorms National Park Authority and Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park Authority

10th October 2023

Following a request to do so from both Cairngorms National Park Authority and Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park Authority, the Standards Commission decided to grant a dispensation to allow the Members of both to take part in any discussion, decision-making and voting, without being bound by the provision on collective responsibility, on the Scottish Government’s consultation on the future governance of National Parks in Scotland and the future governance arrangements of Nation...

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Standards Update September 2023

28th September 2023

Our latest Standards Update is now available.

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Scottish Government’s Consultation on Mandatory Training for Councillors on their role in the Planning System

23rd September 2023

The Scottish Government’s is currently consulting on mandatory training for councillors on their role in the planning system. The consultation closes on 26 October 2023. The Government notes that elected members have a crucial role in the decision-making process within the planning system, by carrying out specific planning functions including the determination of certain planning applications for their local authority. It notes, however, that elected members do not necessarily ha...

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Eligibility Direction

22nd August 2023

The Standards Commission issued a Direction, on 1 March 2021, to the former Ethical Standards Commissioner (ESC) outlining the criteria for assessing the eligibility of complaints about councillors and members of devolved public bodies. Following consultation and agreement with the current ESC, the Standards Commission has now rescinded the Direction. The eligibility criteria are now outlined in the ESC’s Investigations Manual, a copy of which can be found on his

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Volunteering at The Yard

17th August 2023

The Standards Commission recently signed up to a Social Impact Pledge, aimed at increasing the social impact of public sector organisations in Scotland. As part of its pledge, the Standards Commission decided that its staff would give back to the community by spending a day working for a charity. On 16 August 2023, staff spent the day working for The Yard, a Scottish charity, supporting disabled children and young people, and their families, through adventure play. Staff really enjoyed...

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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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