This section includes information about the Ethical Standards Acts and publications provided by the Standards Commission. This includes the Commission's Strategic Plan, Business Plan, Annual Reports, Annual Accounts and other miscellaneous information published under legislative requirements.
The Standards Commission is obliged by legislation to publish certain information. Details about the legislation is noted below, along with required information.
Public Sector Equality Duty
The Standards Commission for Scotland is aware of and complies with its duties under the Equality Act 2010.
In its decisions and operations, the Standards Commission has regard to the need to:
- Eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation and any other conduct prohibited by the Act;
- Advance equality of opportunity between people who share a protected characteristic and people who do not share it; and
- Foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and people who do not share it.
Examples of how the Standards Commission has regard to these factors include the holding of meetings and events in venues that are accessible to people with disabilities and, where a Hearing is held under section 16(b) of the Ethical Standards in Public Life etc. (Scotland) Act 2000, ensuring that people with disabilities are able to participate in the Hearing process on equal terms. The Standards Commission will make any reasonable adjustment necessary to the Hearings process to make this possible, such as providing equipment, practical assistance, or adjusting the process.
Public Services Reform (Scotland) Act 2010
The Standards Commission for Scotland (Standards Commission) is a statutory body that encourages high ethical standards in public life through the promotion of an ethical standards framework and the enforcement of Codes of Conduct for councillors and members of devolved public bodies.
The Standards Commission issues guidance and advice to aid understanding and interpretation of the requirements of the Codes of Conduct for members of devolved public body boards and councillors. The Standards Commission also assists and supports local authorities and devolved public bodies with their work to promote the ethical standards framework through the provision of guidance, educational material and participation in local training events.
The Ethical Standards Commissioner (ESC) is responsible for investigating complaints about councillors and members of devolved public bodies. The ESC reports to the Standards Commission on the outcome of their investigations. The Standards Commission responds to these reports by asking for further investigation to be undertaken, by holding a Hearing or by deciding to take no further action.
Hearings are held to identify if a councillor or member of a devolved public body has contravened their respective Code of Conduct. If the Standards Commission determines at a Hearing that a councillor or member has breached the relevant Code of Conduct it is obliged to impose a sanction.
The combination of the Standards Commission’s educational and adjudicatory roles helps to ensure high ethical standards in public life are achieved, which in turn ensures public confidence in local government, public bodies, and the democratic process itself, is maintained.
With effect from April 2011, the Standards Commission is required to provide information on certain types of expenditure and also about how it worked towards achieving specific statutory functions. Part 3 of the Public Services Reform (Scotland) Act 2010 (the PDSR Act) sets out the details about which information we must publish to meet this requirement.
Statements of expenditure (section 31)
As soon as reasonably practicable after the end of each financial year we must publish information about the following types of expenditure:
- public relations
- overseas travel
- hospitality and entertainment
- external consultancy
- individual payments greater than £25,000
- numbers of staff who receive remuneration in excess of £150,000
Statements on exercise of functions (section 32)
After the end of each financial year we must also publish statements to identify how, through the exercise of our functions, steps have been taken to:
- promote and increase sustainable growth
- improve efficiency, effectiveness and economy
To view a PDF of the Section 31 and Section 32 statements for particular years please click on the appropriate links below:
Sustainable Growth and
Efficiency, Economy and Effectiveness
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Section 31 & 32 statements have been produced since 2010/11. Earlier versions of the reports not shown on our website can be obtained by contacting:
Standards Commission for Scotland
Room T2.21, The Scottish Parliament
Tel: 0131 348 6666
Records Management Plan
The Public Records (Scotland) Act 2011 required Scottish Public Authorities to produce and submit a records management plan setting out proper arrangements for the management of an authority’s public records to the Keeper of the Records of Scotland, for his agreement.
The Standards Commission's Records Management Plan was agreed by the Keeper of the Registers of Scotland on 15 September 2015. The Standards Commission's Records Management Plan can be downloaded as a pdf.
Biodiversity Duties and Actions
2.1 The Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act 2004 requires all public bodies in Scotland to further the conservation of biodiversity when carrying out their responsibilities. The Wildlife and Natural Environment (Scotland) Act 2011 requires all public bodies in Scotland to provide a publicly available report on the actions which they have taken to meet this biodiversity duty. The Standards Commission's Biodiversity Report 2020-2023 can be downloaded as a pdf.