Standards Commission for Scotland

The Standards Commission for Scotland is an independent body that has the purpose of advancing high ethical standards in public life. Its main tool is the promotion and enforcement of Codes of Conduct for councillors (approved by the Scottish Parliament) and those appointed to devolved public bodies.

The Standards Commission is concerned with ethical conduct. It deals with complaints of misconduct against individual members. It does not deal with issues of maladministration; these are matters for the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman.

The Commission was established under the Ethical Standards in Public Life etc. (Scotland) Act 2000. The Commission Members are appointed by the Scottish Parliament but are expected to be independent of government in its workings. The current convener is Kevin Dunion.

Codes of Conduct

The Commission provide guidance and training on the application of the Codes to assist in promoting high standards of conduct.[1]

The Commission publishes a Code of Conduct for Councillors, which sets out the standards of behaviour expected of councillors in Scotland.[2] The first version came into force in May 2003. The most recent version came into force on 21 December 2015.[3] Local authorities are encouraged also to establish their own codes of conduct (consistent with the Standards Commission's) and to enforce these codes themselves.[4]

There is a model code of conduct produced for members of devolved bodies.[5]

Commission membership

The Commission comprises a Convener and four Commission Members who are appointed by the Scottish Parliament. Kevin Dunion is the current Convener, taking up the position on 1 February 2017.[6]

The Commissioner for Ethical Standards in Public Life in Scotland

In addition to the Commission, the Ethical Standards in Public Life etc. (Scotland) Act 2000 established the office of the Commissioner for Ethical Standards in Public Life in Scotland (formerly known as the Chief Investigating Officer). The Commissioner is not a part of the Commission but has a duty to investigate complaints of misconduct referred to him. He is not entirely independent though; he must comply with any directions given by the Commission, which may not however direct him as to how to carry any particular investigation out.

Public Bodies under the Standards Commission's Supervision

The Commission has authority over:

32 local authorities and 105 other public bodies.[7] Community councils are not under this authority.

The Devolved Public Bodies[8] over which the Commission has authority are:

See also


  1. Gordon, Ian (4 June 2015). "High ethical standards are more important than ever in Scottish public life". Holyrood. Retrieved 3 January 2016.
  2. "Code of Conduct for Councillors, 3rd Edition" (PDF). Scottish Government. December 2010. Retrieved 3 January 2016.
  3. "Codes of Conduct: Councillors' Code of Conduct". Standards Commission for Scotland. Retrieved 3 January 2016.
  4. "Which Bodies Have Codes?". Standards Commission for Scotland. Archived from the original on 23 April 2014. Retrieved 6 September 2014.
  5. "Model Code of Conduct for Members of Devolved Public Bodies, 3rd Edition" (PDF). Scottish Government. February 2014. Retrieved 3 January 2016.
  6. Hutcheon, Paul (27 November 2016). "Former FOI tsar to head standards watchdog". The Sunday Herald. Retrieved 16 February 2017.
  7. "About The Standards Commission". Standards Commission for Scotland. Retrieved 6 September 2014.
  8. Section 38 and Schedule 3 of the Ethical Standards in Public Life etc. (Scotland) Act 2000
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