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Solicitor is new Commissioner for Ethical Standards in Public Life

6 December 2013

Solicitor William (Bill) Thomson has been approved by the Scottish Parliament as the new Commissioner for Ethical Standards in Public Life in Scotland.

Mr Thomson will replace the outgoing Commissioner, Stuart Allan, from 1 April 2014.

The Commissioner is an independent officeholder, appointed by the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body (SPCB) with the agreement of the Scottish Parliament, responsible for investigating complaints about the conduct of MSPs, local authority councillors and members of public bodies, and regulating how people are appointed to the boards of public bodies in Scotland.

Mr Thomson has 25 years’ experience in senior posts in the Scottish public sector, in local government law and administration, and since 1999 in the Scottish Parliament, where he is currently an assistant chief executive. He was an adviser to the Standards Committee in the Parliament’s early years and was involved in the reforms which led to the creation of the post of Scottish Parliamentary Standards Commissioner in 2003.

He has also worked in private legal practice and at the Scottish Law Commission, and is a member of the council of the Hansard Society.

The appointment is a full time one for a fixed term of five years, with a salary of £73,000 per annum.

Moving approval of the appointment in the chamber yesterday, Liam McArthur MSP of the SPCB said: “William Thomson is the panel’s choice from a very strong field of candidates invited to interview…. The SPCB believes that the skills that Bill has deployed in the Parliament and his previous local government experience will more than equip him for his new role. The panel believes that he will bring to the post enthusiasm, professionalism, fairness and integrity, and I am sure that the Parliament will want to wish him every success for the future in his role.”

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