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Advice Notes & Resources

The Standards Commission provides training and support to councillors, members of devolved public bodies and other stakeholders to promote the Codes of Conduct and assist them in attaining the highest possible ethical standards.

Other Key Organisations within the Ethical Standards Framework

The Standards Commission works with other organisations within the ethical standards framework in order to promote the Codes of Conduct and ensure the highest possible standards are attained in public life in Scotland.

These organisations include:

The Ethical Standards Commissioner 

The Standards Commission cannot begin an investigation into a councillor or member of a devolved public body, or advise how an existing investigation is progressing. This is the remit of a separate organisation called the Ethical Standards Commissioner (ESC). Complaints about breaches of the Codes of Conduct are investigated by the ESC. Following the conclusion of their investigation, the ESC will submit a Report for the consideration of the Standards Commission.

Further information about the role of the of the ESC and how to make a complaint can be found on their website at:

The Scottish Government

The Scottish Ministers approved one Code of Conduct which is applied to every Scottish councillor. Each designated devolved public body is obliged to have a Code of Conduct for their appointed Members, to reflect the functions and characteristics of the individual body. These individual Codes are approved by Scottish Ministers and adapted from a model Code approved by the Scottish Parliament. The Codes of Conduct are produced by the Scottish Government on behalf of the Scottish Ministers. Any requests for changes to be made to the Codes of Conduct, or for information on the background decisions on what has or has not been included within the Codes should be directed to the Scottish Government.

Requests in respect of the Councillors' Code of Conduct

Requests in respect of the Model Code of Conduct for Members of Devolved Public Bodies

The Accounts Commission

The Accounts Commission is the public spending watchdog for local government. The Accounts Commission audits the accounts of councils to secure financial propriety and seeks to promote best value in the delivery of council services.  In doing so, they hold councils in Scotland to account and help them improve.

Contacting the Accounts Commission


The Scottish Public Services Ombudsman

The Scottish Public Service Ombudsman (SPSO) handles complaints about maladministration and service failure on the part of an organisation. The SPSO is the final stage for complaints about councils, the National Health Service, housing associations, colleges and universities, prisons, most water and sewerage providers, the Scottish Government and its agencies and departments and most Scottish authorities.

Contacting the SPSO

The Scottish Parliament

The Scottish Parliamentary Commissions and Commissioners etc. Act 2010 provided that the Standards Commission is supported by the Parliamentary corporation. An annual budget bid is submitted by the Standards Commission to the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body (SPCB), together with the supporting detail relating to each item of planned expenditure. This information is used by the SPCB in the preparation of its own budget submission to the Scottish Parliament. The Standards Commission's office is located within the Scottish Parliament and we work with the SPCB to share services and to ensure uniformity of standards and best practice in relation to human resources, IT, finance, and procurement.

Contacting the Scottish Parliament

The Improvement Service

The Improvement Service helps councils and their partners to improve the health, quality of life and opportunities of all people in Scotland through community leadership, strong local governance and the delivery of high quality, efficient local services. They do so by providing a range of products and providing advisory services including consultation and facilitation, learning and skills, performance management and improvement, and research.

Further information about the Improvement Service can be found on their website at

A briefing note on the Standards Commission for elected members, published by the Improvement Service, can be downloaded as a pdf.