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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

Appeal to the Sheriff Principal

11th June 2024

Following a Hearing on 17 January 2024, Councillor M. Tauqeer Malik, an elected member of Aberdeen City Council, was found by the Standards Commission on 23 January 2024 to have breached the Councillors’ Code of Conduct. Cllr Malik was quoted in Aberdeen Live on 14 October 2022 as stating the Convener of the Council’s Pension Committee, had “shown his prejudice” in refusing to sign Cllr Malik’s nomination to the Local Authority Pension Fund Forum. The Standards C...

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New Commission Member

5th June 2024

The Standards Commission is delighted to welcome a new member, Morag Ferguson. A solicitor for more than 30 years, Ms Ferguson has worked mostly in the public sector in both the NHS Central Legal Office and a number of local authorities. Latterly, she was Head of Corporate Support at East Lothian Council, with responsibility for Governance, People Services, HR and Corporate Communications. Over her career, Ms Ferguson has gained extensive experience of local government governanc...

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Language Matters

24th May 2024

The Councillors’ Code of Conduct in Scotland requires elected members to behave in a respectful manner towards their colleagues, council officers and members of the public, and to treat them with courtesy at all times when they: are acting as a councillor; have identified as a councillor (for example, by stating they are a councillor on a social media account or in the sign-off to correspondence); or could objectively be considered to be acting as a counci...

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New Commission Member

29th April 2024

The Standards Commission is delighted to welcome a new member, Lezley Stewart. Dr Stewart is a graduate of University of St Andrews and University of Edinburgh, and Princeton and Pittsburgh Seminaries, USA.  She worked for the Church of Scotland for over 25 years in Dundee and Edinburgh, serving as an ordained Office Holder. Most recently, Dr Stewart was employed as the Recruitment & Support Secretary and Ministries Support Manager for the Church of Scotland with oversi...

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New E-Learning Module: What is Confidential Information?

26th April 2024

The Standards Commission has produced a new e-learning module covering confidentiality, sitting alongside the existing modules on the applicability of the Code and the identification and declaration of interests.  The new module can be accessed here: If there are any topics...

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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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