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Codes of Conduct

The Codes of Conduct outline the standards of conduct expected of councillors and members of devolved public bodies.

Councillors' Code of Conduct


The Scottish Parliament approved one Code of Conduct which is applied to every Scottish councillor. The Councillors’ Code of Conduct applies to all 1227 councillors elected to the 32 Local Authority areas within Scotland.

The Scottish Parliament demonstrated its commitment to the promotion of high standards in public life by passing the Ethical Standards in Public Life etc. (Scotland) Act 2000 as one of its earliest statutes.  The Act introduced an ethical framework which required Scottish Ministers to issue a Code of Conduct for Councillors and a Model Code of Conduct for members of the devolved public bodies listed in schedule 3 of the Act.   

The original Councillors’ Code of Conduct came into force in May 2003.  During 2009 the Scottish Government undertook a limited review of the Code of Conduct  to address two key areas:

  • the implications for the Code of the legislative reform of the Scottish Planning System, which came into effect during 2009; and
  • to review those areas of the Code which would benefit from clarification or reconsideration, drawing on experience gained in its application.

To assist with this work the Scottish Government set up a review group whose members included the Standards Commission and representatives of Scottish local government.  A public consultation was then carried out on a revised Code of Conduct. 

The Revised Councillors' Code of Conduct

The Code of Conduct was then revised to reflect legislative changes relating to the planning regime and in light of experience gained in its first years of operation.  The Revised Code of Conduct came into force on 21 December 2010.  The Revised Councillors' Code of Conduct was further amended in July 2018 and a new version came into force on 9 July 2018.  The Councillors' Code of Conduct can be accessed by clicking on the link below.

The Councillors’ Code of Conduct continues to play a vital role in setting out, openly and clearly, the standards councillors must apply when undertaking their Council duties.  It is vital that the Code continues to give assurance to the public that their elected members are acting in accordance with high ethical standards.

The Standards Commission publishes guidance for councillors on how to interpret the provisions within the Code of Conduct.  For more information and to access the Guidance, please click on 'Guidance' in the Menu above.

British Sign Language version of the Councillors’ Code of Conduct

We have created a British Sign Language video outlining and explaining the main provisions in the Councillors’ Code of Conduct. The video, which can be viewed below, covers:

  • The key principles
  • General conduct including respect, confidentiality and gifts and hospitality
  • Registering and declaring interests
  • Lobbying and access
  • Taking quasi- judicial and regulatory decisions (such as decision on planning and licensing matters)
  • How to make a complaint and who to contact

Councillors' Code of Conduct 2018

Councillors' Code of Conduct 2018

9th July 2018

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Councillors’ Code of Conduct (2010)

Councillors’ Code of Conduct (2010)

1st December 2010

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