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Update: We have moved to hybrid working and our staff are not always on site. As a result we only have intermittent access to postal deliveries. Please note that it may take longer to process items sent by post. For a quicker response please email or phone us or use our website

Our Statutory Powers

The Ethical Standards Commissioner and their team:

  • investigate complaints about the conduct of MSPs, local authority councillors, board members of public bodies and lobbyists
  • regulate how people are appointed to the boards of public bodies in Scotland

The Commissioner's role is under-pinned by legislation 

The Commissioner's functions in relation to conduct are set out in

The Commissioner's functions in relation to public appointments are set out in the Public Appointments and Public Bodies etc. (Scotland) Act 2003 (the Public Appointments Act)

1. The Ethical Standards Act assigned specific functions to the Chief Investigating Officer (2000).

2. The Parliamentary Standards Act assigns functions to the Scottish Parliamentary Standards Commissioner (2002)

3. The Public Appointments Act assigns functions to the Commissioner for Public Appointments in Scotland (2003).

4. The Scottish Parliamentary Commissions and Commissioners Etc. Act 2010 establishes the Commission for Ethical Standards in Public Life in Scotland (the Commission) and brings these functions together as follows:-

The Commission is launched on 1 April 2011 and has two members:

  • the Public Standards Commissioner for Scotland who is responsible for the functions previously undertaken by the Chief Investigating Officer and the Scottish Parliamentary Standards Commissioner and 
  • the Public Appointments Commissioner for Scotland who is responsible for the functions previously undertaken by the Commissioner for Public Appointments in Scotland. 

5. The Public Services Reform (Commissioner for Ethical Standards in Public Life in Scotland etc.) Order 2013 (Scottish Statutory Instrument 2013/197)

  • abolishes the post of Public Standards Commissioner for Scotland 
  • abolishes the post of Public Appointments Commissioner for Scotland 
  • dissolves the Commission for Ethical Standards in Public Life in Scotland and 
  • creates the post of Commissioner for Ethical Standards in Public Life in Scotland

The functions of the Commissioner for Ethical Standards, Public Standards Commissioner and Public Appointments Commissioner are transferred to the Commissioner for Ethical Standards.

The Commissioner for Ethical Standards is established on 1 July 2013.

6. The Lobbying Act assigns functions to the Commissioner for Ethical Standards (2016)

The Commissioner is independent of the Scottish Parliament and the Scottish Government 

Incumbents

Chief Investigating Officer

 

17 January 2002 to 31 March 2011

 

Mr D Stuart Allan

Scottish Parliamentary Standards Commissioner

 

1 April 2003

to 31 March 2009

 

Dr Jim Dyer

Commissioner for Public Appointments in Scotland

 

1 June 2004 to

31 March 2011

 

Dr Karen Carlton

Scottish Parliamentary Standards Commissioner

 

1 April 2009 to

31 March 2011

 

Mr D Stuart Allan

Public Standards Commissioner

 

1 April 2011 to 30 June 2013

 

Mr D Stuart Allan

Public Appointments Commissioner

 

1 April 2011 to

31 May 2012

 

Dr Karen Carlton

Public Appointments Commissioner (Acting)

 

1 June 2012 to

30 June 2013

 

Mr D Stuart Allan

Commissioner for Ethical Standards in Public Life in Scotland

 

1 July 2013 – 31 March 2014

 

Mr D Stuart Allan

Commissioner for Ethical Standards in Public Life in Scotland

 

1 April 2014 – 31 March 2019

 

Mr Bill Thomson

Commissioner for Ethical Standards in Public Life in Scotland

 

1 April 2019 – 30 April 2022

 

Ms Caroline Anderson

Acting Commissioner for Ethical Standards in Public Life in Scotland

 

20 April 2021 to date

 

Mr Ian Bruce