Code of Conduct for MSPs
The Code of Conduct provides a set of principles and standards for Members of the Scottish Parliament.
- Section 1: Registration of interests
- Section 2: Categories of registrable interest
- Section 3: Declaration of interests
- Section 4: Paid advocacy
- Section 5: Lobbying and access to MSPs
- Section 6: Cross-Party Groups
- Section 7: General conduct of MSPs
- Section 8: Engaging with constituents
- Section 9: Enforcement of the rules
- Further information
Section 8: Engaging with constituents
1. This section of the Code of Conduct (the Code) sets out the rules which MSPs must follow when they are engaging with constituents.
Taking on constituents’ cases
2. An MSP must take on a constituent’s case when approached, unless they have a legitimate reason for declining it. Examples of legitimate reasons are —
- The constituent has asked the MSP to take inappropriate action;
- The case would lead to a conflict of interest with the MSP’s existing casework;
- The case is contrary to the MSP’s political beliefs.
3. If an MSP declines to take on a constituent’s case, they would be expected to inform the constituent of this.
4. A MSP must not deal with a constituency case or constituency issue outwith their constituency / region unless by prior agreement.
5. Regional MSPs must work in more than two constituencies within their region.
6. Regional MSPs are expected to deal with any matter raised by any constituent within their region (unless they have a legitimate reason for not doing so).
7. MSPs must respect individual privacy when representing constituents’ interests. The exception is where there are overwhelming and lawful reasons in the wider public interest for disclosure to be made to a relevant authority. An example is where an MSP is made aware of criminal activity.
8. MSPs should not misrepresent the basis on which they were elected or the area they serve.
9. Constituency MSPs should always describe themselves as—
“[Name], Member of the Scottish Parliament for [x] constituency.”
Regional members should always describe themselves as:
“[Name], Member of the Scottish Parliament for [y] region.”
10. Regional MSPs must not describe themselves as a “local” MSP for (or having a particular interest in) only part of the region for which they were elected.
11. Constituency MSPs should not describe themselves as the sole MSP for a particular area or constituency.
12. MSPs must ensure their staff or others working on their behalf with constituents conform to these rules.