Model code of conduct for members of devolved public bodies: consultation

This consultation presents proposals which will bring about important amendments to the Model Code of Conduct for Members of devolved public bodies since it was last reviewed in 2014.

Section 1: Introduction to The Model Code of Conduct

1.1 The Ethical Standards in Public Life etc. (Scotland) Act 2000, “the Act”:

  • provided for the introduction of new codes of conduct for local authority councillors and members of relevant public bodies;
  • imposed a duty on Councils and relevant public bodies to help their members to comply with the relevant code; and
  • established an independent body to oversee the new framework and deal with alleged breaches of the codes.

1.2 The Act requires Scottish Ministers to lay a Code of Conduct for Councillors and a Model Code for Members of Devolved Public Bodies before Parliament. This Model Code was first introduced in 2002 and has now been revised following consultation and the approval of the Scottish Parliament. These revisions will make it consistent with the relevant parts of the Code of Conduct for Councillors, which was also revised in 2020 following the approval of the Scottish Parliament.

1.3 The provisions of this Model Code have been developed in line with the key principles listed in Section 2 and set out how the principles should be interpreted and applied in practice.

My Responsibilities

1.4 The public has a high expectation of those who serve on the boards of public bodies and the way in which they should conduct themselves in undertaking their duties. I will meet those expectations by ensuring that my conduct is above reproach.

1.5 I will comply with the provisions of this Code in all situations where I am acting as a board member of my public body, have referred to myself as a board member or could reasonably be perceived as acting as a board member.

1.6 I will comply with the provisions of this Code in all my dealings with the public, employees and fellow board members, whether formal or informal.

1.7 I understand that it is my personal responsibility to be familiar with the provisions of this Code and that I must also comply with the law and my public body’s rules, standing orders and regulations. I will also ensure that I am familiar with any guidance issued by the Standards Commission.

1.8 I will not, at any time, advocate or encourage any action contrary to this Code. I will meet the public’s expectations by ensuring that my conduct is above reproach.

1.9 I understand that no written information can provide for all circumstances. If I am uncertain about how the Code applies, I will seek advice from the Chair, Chief Executive or Standards Officer of my public body. I note that I can also seek external legal advice or advice from the Standards Commission on how to interpret the provisions of the Code.

1.10 I will familiarise myself with the Standards Commission’s guidance and the Scottish Government publication “On Board – a guide for members of statutory boards”. I will take advantage of any training and continuing professional development offered, either by my organisation or otherwise, on this area.


1.11 Part 2 of the Ethical Standards in Public Life etc. (Scotland) Act 2000 sets out the provisions for dealing with alleged breaches of this Code of Conduct, including the sanctions, up to and including suspension or disqualification, 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 A.



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