Scotland’s ethics watchdog has welcomed the ‘progressive’ changes made to the Code of Conduct that Councillors must adhere to.
Following well documented indiscretions concerning allegations of impropriety in politics and entertainment, the Scottish Parliament approved a new provision on bullying and harassment.
The Standards Commission for Scotland (SCS) has heralded the new provision which reiterates that bullying and harassment will not be tolerated and would be a breach of the Code.
In light of the changes, the SCS has now produced and issued an advice note to provide further guidance for councillors on the subject.
Professor Kevin Dunion, Convener of the SCS, said: “The Councillors’ Code of Conduct plays a vital role in setting out the standards councillors must apply when carrying out their working duties.
“There have been a number of high profile allegations of improper conduct by those in politics and show business so we are pleased to note that progressive changes have been made to the Code to reiterate that such behaviour is unacceptable.
“We have produced an advice note for councillors to make it clear what behaviour would constitute bullying and harassment under the amended Code and will continue to work closely with the Scottish Government to identify other potential improvements that could help ensure the highest ethical behaviour in local government is achieved.”
The advice note to councillors states that ‘everybody has the right to be treated with dignity and respect and to work in an environment which is free from harassment, bullying, discrimination and victimisation.’
The amended version of the Councillors’ Code of Conduct agreed by the Scottish Parliament was issued by the Scottish Government and is effective from July 9th.
The SCS has updated its guidance on the Code to reflect the changes. The advice note on bullying and harassment and updated guidance are both available on the SCS’s at: WEBSITE