Scottish Borders Council

Agenda and minutes

Venue: Council Chamber, Council Headquarters, Newtown St Boswells TD6 0SA

Contact: Pauline Bolson 01835 826503  Email:

No. Item


Minute pdf icon PDF 70 KB

Minute of the meeting of 12 December 2014 to be approved and signed by the Chairman.  (Copy attached.)


There had been circulated copies of the Minute of the meeting of the Standards Committee of 12 December 2014.



AGREED the Minute for signature by the Chairman.



Annual Report on Councillors' Compliance with the Ethical Standards Framework for 2014-15 pdf icon PDF 140 KB

Consider report by the Monitoring Officer.  (Copy attached.)


2.1     With reference to the decision at paragraph 5(c) of the Minute of 12 December 2014, there had been circulated copies of a report by the Monitoring Officer which provided details on Scottish Borders Council's compliance with the Ethical Standards Framework for 2014 - 2015 and also considered matters relating to Training, Register of Interest and the Hospitality Register.   Members were advised of the background to the report and noted that, following the Internal Audit report in 2005, it had been agreed that it would be good practice to report annually on the Councillors' Code of Conduct.  A planned audit carried out by the Council's Internal Audit section in March 2010 resulted in agreement to report on general compliance with the overall Ethical Standards Framework.  These annual reports considered the Councillors' Code of Conduct compliance, training, the Members' Register of Interests and their Hospitality Register.


2.2     During 2014 – 15, the Commissioner for Ethical Standards in Public Life (the Commissioner) received a total of 692 complaints of which 680 were against Councillors within Scottish Local Authorities.  This represented a significant increase from previous years however 524 of these related to a single case and when these were removed, there was actually a reduction in the total from preceding years.  The report provided information on the types of case brought forward to the Commissioner and these included alleged misuse of Council resources for the publication of politically contentious material, misconduct on individual planning applications, failure to declare an interest and failure to show respect to Councillors, officials or employees.  The Commissioner determined that 11 cases constituted a breach of the Code of Conduct and these were therefore referred to Standards Commission for Scotland (the Commission).


2.3     During 2014 – 15, 8 complaints were lodged against 7 Scottish Borders Councillors, 4 of which were internal (submitted by a Councillor or Officer) and 4 external (submitted by a member of the public or external organisation.)  These related to inappropriate expenses claims, misuse of Council facilities/equipment, Conflict of Interests/Declarations of Interests and conduct/respect.   Seven of the complaints were resolved internally.  One new complaint was referred to the Commissioner but no further action was taken as the Commissioner took into consideration the internal investigation that had already been conducted and the apology and actions that had resulted from this.  With regard to the case referred from the previous year, the Commissioner found that the Councillor had breached the Code of Conduct by failing to declare an interest and referred the case to the Commission.  Following a Hearing, the Councillor was suspended from participating in all Council, Committee and Sub-Committee meetings for a period of 3 months.


2.4     The report went on to explain that the Elected Members’ Registers of Interests were published on the Council’s website and were also available to view in paper format from Democratic Services.  The Registers were reviewed every six months and were amended according to the information provided by the Members.  They were maintained in accordance with the Ethical Standards  ...  view the full minutes text for item 2.



Scottish Borders Council

Council Headquarters Newtown St. Boswells Melrose TD6 0SA

Tel: 0300 100 1800


For more Contact Details