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The Councillors' Code of Conduct: 3rd Edition - December 2010



1.1 The Scottish public has a high expectation of councillors and the way in which they should conduct themselves in undertaking their duties in the Council. You must meet those expectations by ensuring that your conduct is above reproach.

1.2 The Ethical Standards in Public Life etc. (Scotland) Act 2000 provides for the introduction of new codes of conduct for local authority councillors and members of relevant public bodies; imposes on Councils and relevant public bodies a duty to help their members to comply with the relevant code; and establishes a Standards Commission for Scotland to oversee the new framework and deal with alleged breaches of the codes. The Act requires the issue of a Code of Conduct for councillors - this Code - which was originally prepared by COSLA at the invitation of Scottish Ministers and approved by the Scottish Parliament. The Code has since been reviewed and re-issued in 2010 by the Scottish Government, following consultation and the approval of the Scottish Parliament.

1.3 This Code applies to every member of a local authority in Scotland. As a councillor, it is your responsibility to make sure that you are familiar with, and that your actions comply with, its provisions.

1.4 This Code reflects the legal framework of Scottish Councils at the date of the Code's publication. Councillors and employees should interpret it in the context of their individual Council's decision making structure.

Guidance on the Code of Conduct

1.5 Councillors hold public office under the law and must observe the rules of conduct stemming from the law, this Code and any guidance from the Standards Commission and the rules, standing orders and regulations of the Council. It is your personal responsibility to comply with these and review regularly, and at least annually, your personal circumstances with this in mind, particularly when your circumstances change. You must not, at any time, advocate or encourage any action contrary to the Code of Conduct.

1.6 The sections of the Code which follow have been developed in line with the key principles listed in Section 2 and provide additional information on how the principles should be interpreted and applied in practice. No written information can provide for all circumstances and if you are uncertain about how the rules apply, you should seek advice from senior Council employees. You may also choose to consult your own legal advisers, and on detailed financial and commercial matters, to seek advice from other relevant professionals.


1.7 Part 2 of the Ethical Standards in Public Life etc. (Scotland) Act sets out the provisions for dealing with alleged breaches of the Code and for the sanctions that will be applied if the Standards Commission for Scotland finds that there has been a breach of the Code. In respect of councillors, those sanctions are set out in Annex A.