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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, and has since been revised on a number of occasions. The most recent version became effective on 7 December 2021. 

The Councillors’ Code of Conduct plays a vital role in setting out, openly and clearly, the standards councillors must apply when undertaking their Council duties.  It is paramount 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.

Advice for members of the public

The Standards Commission has produced a user-friendly Advice Note for members of the public on the Councillors' Code of Conduct. This advice covers:

  • the different sections of the Codes and what they mean;
  • what is and isn’t covered by the Codes and the complaints process;
  • how to make a complaint about a breach of a Code; and
  • the Hearings process.

The Advice Note can be downloaded as a PDF from the table below. 

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 (2021)

Councillors' Code of Conduct (2021)

7th December 2021

Advice Note for Members of the Public on the Councillors' Code of Conduct

Advice Note for Members of the Public on the Councillors' Code of Conduct

Councillors' Code of Conduct (2018)

Councillors' Code of Conduct (2018)

9th July 2018

Councillors’ Code of Conduct (2010)

Councillors’ Code of Conduct (2010)

1st December 2010