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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.

How to make a complaint about a breach of the Councillors' Code of Conduct or the Code of Conduct for Members of Devolved Public Bodies

The Ethical Standards in Public Life etc. (Scotland) Act 2000, as amended, established the Standards Commission for Scotland and the post of Ethical Standards Commissioner (ESC). The Standards Commission and ESC are separate and independent, each with distinct functions. Complaints of breaches of these Codes are investigated by the ESC and adjudicated upon by the Standards Commission.

The independence of the investigatory role undertaken by the ESC and the adjudicatory role undertaken by the Standards Commission is a crucial principle. The reason for, and benefit of, the separation of these functions between the two distinct organisations is to ensure impartiality, fairness and objectivity in the decision-making process.

The Standards Commission does not have the power to investigate a complaint unless it has been referred to us by the ESC.  Therefore, if you wish to make a complaint about a councillor or member of a devolved public body, you must make it to the ESC. Information on how to do so is available on the ESC's website at  Alternatively, please contact their office on 0300 011 0550.

Before making a complaint, you may wish to review the Codes of Conduct. It is important to note that the key principles within the Codes of Conduct are there for guidance. Councillors and members of devolved public bodies should ensure that they have regard to, and follow, these principles. However, a breach of one or more of the key principles does not in itself constitute evidence of a breach of the Code of Conduct.

It is also important to note that a breach of a Code is just that; regardless of the motivation of the complainer.

It should be noted that anyone can make a complaint, regardless of whether or not they have been directly affected by the alleged conduct. There is, however, no obligation on anyone, including council or public body officers / employees to do so, even if they consider a breach of the Code has occurred.