Codes of Conduct
The Codes of Conduct outline the standards of conduct expected of councillors and members of devolved public bodies.
Codes of Conduct for Members of Devolved Public Bodies
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 Model Code for Members of Devolved Public bodies was first introduced in 2002, and has since been revised on a number of occasions, most recently in 2021. The new version was issued on 7 December 2021 and is accessible below.
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 of Conduct approved by the Scottish Parliament.
Codes of Conduct currently apply to the following categories of public bodies:
- National Bodies e.g. the Scottish Legal Aid Board
- Regional Bodies e.g. Highlands and Islands Enterprise
- National Health Service Boards
- Health & Social Care Integration Joint Boards
- Further Education Colleges
- National Parks
- Regional Transport Partnerships
- Community Justice Authorities
There are approximately 1400 Board Members appointed to Devolved Public Bodies.
A list of the Schedule 3 bodies covered by the Standards Commission can be found on the Scottish Government's website at Public Bodies
The Codes of Conduct have a key role in setting out, openly and clearly, the standards of conduct that must be adhered to by those in public office. This is vital to reinforce and strengthen public confidence in members of the boards of devolved public bodies.
On 20 May 2022 the Scottish Government published a letter to all Devolved Public Bodies clarifying an omission in Paragraph 4.20 of the Model Code (regarding Category Six: Interest in Shares and Securities). A copy of this letter is accessible below.
The Standards Commission publishes guidance for members of devolved public bodies on how to interpret the provisions within the Model 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 Model 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 Model Code of Conduct
We have created a British Sign Language video outlining and explaining the main provisions in the Model 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
- How to make a complaint and who to contact
Model Code of Conduct for Members of Devolved Public Bodies (2021)
7th December 2021
Scottish Government - Clarification on Paragraph 4.20
Scottish Government Letter (20 May 2022) clarifying the application of Paragraph 4.20 of the Model Code, re. Category Six: Interest in Shares and Securities
Advice Note for Members of the Public on the Model Code of Conduct (2023)
Model Code of Conduct for Members of Boards of Devolved Public Bodies (2014)
1st February 2014