Councillors' code of conduct: December 2021

Code of conduct for councillors setting out standards of behaviour to be followed by elected members of local authorities, issued by Ministers under the Ethical Standards in Public Life etc. (Scotland) Act 2000. This version is effective from 7 December 2021.

Section 1: Introduction To The Code Of Conduct

1.1 This Code has been issued by the Scottish Ministers, with the approval of the Scottish Parliament, as required by the Ethical Standards in Public Life etc.(Scotland) Act 2000 (the “Act”).

1.2 The purpose of the Code is to set out the conduct expected of every elected member of a local authority in Scotland.

1.3 The Code is also directed at co-opted members of committees and sub-committees who are not elected councillors, including religious representatives on Education Committees.

1.4 The Code has been developed in line with the nine key principles of public life in Scotland. The principles are listed in Section 2 and set out how the provisions of the Code should be interpreted and applied in practice.

My Responsibilities

1.5 I understand that the public has a high expectation of councillors and the way in which they should conduct themselves in undertaking their duties. I will always seek to meet those expectations by ensuring that I conduct myself in accordance with the Code.

1.6 I will comply with the substantive provisions of this Code, being sections 3 to 7 inclusive and Annex A, in all situations and at all times where I am acting as a councillor, have referred to myself as a councillor or could objectively be considered to be acting as a councillor.

1.7 I will comply with the substantive provisions of this Code, being sections 3 to 7 inclusive and Annex A, in all my dealings with the public, employees and fellow councillors, whether formal or informal.

1.8 I understand that it is my personal responsibility to be familiar with the provisions of the Code and that I must also comply with the law and my council’s rules, standing orders and regulations. I will also ensure that I am familiar with any guidance or advice notes issued by the Standards Commission for Scotland (“Standards Commission”) and my council, and endeavour to take part in any training offered on the Code.

1.9 I will not, at any time, advocate or encourage any action contrary to the Code.

1.10 I understand that no written information, whether in the Code itself or the associated Guidance or Advice Notes issued by the Standards Commission, can provide for all circumstances. If I am uncertain about how the Code applies, I will seek advice from my council’s Monitoring Officer or other senior council employees. I note that I may also choose to seek external legal advice on how to interpret the provisions of the Code.


1.11 Part 2 of the Act sets out the provisions for dealing with alleged breaches of the Code, including the sanctions that can be applied if the Standards Commission finds that there has been a breach of the Code. More information on how complaints are dealt with and the sanctions available can be found at Annex C.



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