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COSLA will be asked to approve a new Code of Conduct for Local Government Employees in Scotland when its strategy f...
COSLA will be asked to approve a new Code of Conduct for Local Government Employees in Scotland when its strategy forum meets on Friday.

The move follows the recommendation from the joint COSLA/Scottish Office Task Force on the Conduct of Local Government that there should be an employees' code in line with the existing code for councillors.

A working group comprising senior officers from councils across Scotland, the Accounts Commission, the Scottish Office and COSLA has developed the code to incorporate the seven principles of public life identified by the Nolan Committee on Standards in Public Life.

COSLA chief executive Douglas Sinclair, who chaired the working group, says that the public expected a high standard from everyone involved in public life.

'There is already a code for councillors,' he says, 'and it is only right that there should be one for employees. It is essential there is a benchmark by which the public can measure our standards and against which we in local government can measure ourselves.

'The National Code sets out the standards which are expected of local government employees and individual councils will now be developing their local codes in line with the national one, but taking into account local circumstances. The local code must be as stringent as the national one.'

The Seven Principles of Public Life which the Code encompasses are:

-- selflessness

-- integrity

-- objectivity

-- accountability

-- openness

-- honesty

-- leadership

It looks at a wide range of issues including employees' relations with the public, councillors and contractors; conflicts of interest; hospitality and gifts; corruption; and political neutrality.

'Employees want to know where they stand in relation to these issues,'

Mr Sinclair comments, adding: 'The code tells them that and also what rights they have as employees. It is there to help employees, the employers and the public.'

-- Copies of the National Code of Conduct for Local Government Employees in Scotland, which the Forum will consider, are available from the COSLA Public Affairs Office.

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