On Board - A guide for Board Members of Public Bodies in Scotland (April 2015)

This Guide provides much of the basic information that a Board Member will need to understand their role as a member of the Board of a public body in Scotland.

Key Messages

  • Board members of bodies listed in Schedule 3 of the Ethical Standards Act are subject to the nine key principles outlined in the Model Code of Conduct.
  • It is important to take care when expressing views so you do not compromise your position as a member of a public body.
  • All public bodies have a duty to publish a Register of Board Member Interests. There are specific interests which you must register and it is your personal responsibility to ensure that your entries are current.
  • Board members must declare financial and non-financial interests which might be perceived to influence their contribution to a discussion or decision in Board proceedings. This requirement also applies to interests held by your close family, friends and business associates.
  • The test on making a declaration is whether a member of the public, with knowledge of the relevant facts, would reasonably regard the interest as so significant that it is likely to prejudice your discussion or decision making.
  • You must ensure that the reputation of your public body is not damaged by the receipt (or provision) of inappropriate gifts and hospitality.
  • The Commissioner for Ethical Standards in Public Life in Scotland (the Commissioner) considers complaints about members of devolved public bodies who are alleged to have contravened the Code of Conduct. On finding a contravention of the Code, the Commissioner reports to the Standards Commission for adjudication. Where a hearing is held by the Standards Commission and a contravention of the Code is established, the Standards Commission determines the level of sanction to be applied.
  • Part 4 of The Ethical Standards in Public Life etc. (Scotland) Act 2000 makes provision for Codes of Conduct for bodies not listed in Schedule 3 - such bodies and Board members are not subject to investigation by the Commissioner, or sanction by the Standards Commission.


Email: Gordon Quinn

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