Code of Practice

Under the Public Appointments and Public Bodies etc. (Scotland) Act 2003 the Commissioner is required to prepare and publish a Code of Practice. The first Code specifically for Scotland, was published in April 2006. The Code in force regulates the process used by the Scottish Government to make public appointments to specified public bodies. A revised Code, published in April 2011, came into force on 1 September 2011. This Code was superseded by the 2013 Code which came into force on 1 October 2013.

The Code includes clear guidelines on the practices that must be followed by the Scottish Government to ensure that appointments are made fairly and openly.

The Commissioner has also produced guidance to assist the Scottish Government with understanding and implementation of the Code. The new code and guidance can be downloaded from the links provided below.

2013 Code of Practice for Ministerial Appointments (266 KB PDF File)

Revised and Updated Guidance on the 2013 Code (229 KB PDF File)



Principles underpinning the 2013 Code of Practice

The Code’s Principles

  • Merit

All public appointments must be made on merit. Only persons judged best able to meet the requirements of the post will be appointed.

  • Integrity

The appointments process must be open, fair and impartial. The integrity of the process must earn the trust and have the confidence of the public.

  • Diversity and Equality

Public appointments must be advertised publicly in a way that will attract a strong and diverse field of suitable candidates. The process itself must provide equality of opportunity.


The public appointments process will be outcome focused and applicant focused.