What is the Standards Commission for Scotland?
The Standards Commission for Scotland is an independent body responsible for enforcing compliance with the Codes of Conduct and providing general guidance on their interpretation. It adjudicates on cases of alleged contravention of the Codes of Conduct referred to it by the CES, and has the power to impose sanctions, in the event that its Members choose to hold a Hearing.
Members of the Standards Commission are appointed by the Scottish Ministers after a public advert and a competitive selection process.
The Standards Commission recognises that there are particular circumstances where it would be unreasonable for the Code to be interpreted in its strictest sense. As a result, it issues dispensations to allow Councillors and Members to participate in discussion and vote on certain matters where, due to financial or non-financial interests, they would otherwise be prohibited from such participation.
When is a Hearing Held?
When the CES has completed an investigation and submitted a Report to the Standards Commission stating that he considers a breach of a Code of Conduct has occurred, the Standards Commission may:
- Direct the CES to carry out further investigation;
- Hold a hearing; or
- Do neither.
in the event that the Standards Commission chooses not to hold a Hearing, or direct the CES to carry out further investigation, the relevant parties will be informed, and that is an end to the matter. If it is decided that a Hearing should be held this will be held in public unless the Members of the Standards Commission determine that it is not in the public interest that the Hearing, in whole or in part, be held in public.
A Panel of Members of the Standards Commission, normally numbering 3, will be selected to sit at the Hearing, and one Member will be appointed Chair of that Hearing Panel.
Statistics can be seen in context in the Standards Commission Annual Report which is available on their website. Prior to 1 April 2011, Annual reports were issued jointly with the CES.