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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

Elected Member Safety

8th April 2024

It has been well-documented that the polarisation of politics and relative anonymity afforded to users of social media has led to an increase in the abuse and vitriol directed at politicians, including elected members of local authorities. Politicians and others in public life know that not everyone will agree with their views and decisions, and understand that members of the public have a right to make their own opinions known. It is not acceptable, however, for elected members to fac...

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Standards Update March 2024

28th March 2024

Our latest Standards Update is now available.

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Standards Commission's Strategic Plan 2024-28

29th February 2024

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.  The Strategic Plan 2024-28 was laid before the Scottish Parliament on 29 February 2024 and can be found 

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Parliament’s Finance and Public Administration Committee's call for views on Scotland’s commissioner landscape

28th February 2024

The Parliament’s Finance and Public Administration Committee has launched a call for views as part of an inquiry into Scotland’s commissioner landscape. The deadline for responses is Monday 11 March 2024. The inquiry will consider whether a more coherent and strategic approach is needed for the creation of such commissioners in Scotland. More about the Committee’s inquiry can be found

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Improvement Service and Standards Commission Briefing Note for Councillors on the Right to Access Information

14th February 2024

This Briefing Note outlines the circumstances under which an elected member has a right of access to information held by the council. It also highlights some of the provisions in the Councillors’ Code of Conduct that may apply and should be considered when an elected member is exercising their right to access information.

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Why have Codes of Conduct for Board Members?

13th February 2024

Why have Codes of Conduct for Board Members? The Standards Commission’s remit covers both local government councillors and board members of devolved public bodies in Scotland. Few would argue with the need to ensure high ethical standards in local government – after all, local authorities have responsibility for a wide range of matters that affect almost every aspect of our day to day lives. But why is it important for members of devolved public bodi...

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Updated Guidance on the Councillors' Code of Conduct

8th February 2024

The Standards Commission has updated its Guidance on the Councillors’ Code, in light of feedback and issues that have arisen during the Ethical Standards Commissioner’s investigations and at Hearings. Thank you very much to everyone who helped us with suggestions and feedback. A copy of the updated Guidance can be found on our website at: https://www.standardscommissionscotland.org.uk/guid...

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Standards Commission Convener and Member Vacancies

25th January 2024

The Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body (SPCB) is to sit as a selection panel to appoint, with the agreement of the Scottish Parliament, an individual to be the Convener of the Standards Commission to fill a vacancy which will arise when the current Convener, Paul Walker, demits office on 6 May 2024. The SPCB is also seeking to appoint a Member of the Standards Commission, for a period of six years, to fill another vacancy. More information about the roles and how to...

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Standards Commission / Improvement Service - joint webinars

4th January 2024

You are invited to join two webinars hosted by the Improvement Service (IS) and the Standards Commission on following the ethical standards of public life when engaging with the public. The webinars will cover the key issues elected members need to be aware of when engaging with the public, including guidance around the use of language, data protection and confidentiality contained in the Councillors' Code of Conduct. The first webinar will provide an overview of the key points...

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Key Principles of Public Life

3rd January 2024

Both the Councillors’ Code of Conduct and the Model Code of Conduct for Members of Devolved Public Bodies are based on the nine key principles of public life in Scotland. But what are the key principles, and where did they come from? The nine key principles of public life in Scotland are: 1.       Selflessness 2.       Integrity 3.       Objectivity 4.  ...

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