Foreword by the First Minister
I am pleased to issue this new edition of the Scottish Ministerial Code. In my foreword to the Ministerial Code of June 2008, I underlined the strength of my personal commitment to serving the people of Scotland in an open, honest and transparent way. That principle remains a strong connecting thread, binding Ministers to the Scottish Parliament and then onwards to the people whom we are elected to serve.
Parliament and the people demand, rightly, that the conduct of Ministers in the service of our nation should be characterised by the highest standards of probity, propriety and accountability.
Maintaining an up-to-date version of the Ministerial Code, and keeping its contents under review over time, is one of the essential backroom disciplines of Cabinet government. But such efforts will only be worthwhile if Ministers, in their turn, ensure that they know the Code well and respect its terms, seeking clarity in any case of doubt and behaving according to the spirit, as well as the letter, of the Code.
As we work together to take Scotland forward, this new edition of the Code, which is designed to be as clear and easy to consult as possible, should be the guide of each Minister. More than this, however, the Code is intended to contribute to an atmosphere of public trust in our political institutions. Not everyone will agree with each decision that Ministers take, but it remains an imperative that all, regardless of their personal view, should feel that they have confidence in the manner in which Ministers arrive at their decisions.
As well as expecting all Ministers to abide by the Code as they seek to fulfil their official duties, I wish to make it clear that I too am bound personally by its terms. Ministers - both MSPs and Law Officers - are also bound by the terms of the Interests of Members of the Scottish Parliament Act 2006, and all MSPs must adhere at all times to the Code of Conduct for Members of the Scottish Parliament.
When I accepted Parliament's nomination to serve again as First Minister in May 2011, I set out my personal commitment to the continual struggle for fairness, equality, tolerance, rights of free speech and thought - the "unwon cause" of every society. I reflected that maintaining these values will require constant vigilance and courage.
This Code will help guide us in this mission, and I ask that Ministers and civil servants adhere to it.
Rt Hon Alex Salmond MSP
First Minister of Scotland