A public appointment is generally a ministerial appointment to the board of a public body or advisory committee.
Public bodies across the UK deliver important and essential public services. This includes large public bodies managed by boards of directors and small, advisory committees made up of lay members, experts and specialists.
An appointee to the board of a public body will often be involved in:
- Providing direction and leadership – this includes setting the organisation’s strategy, agreeing business plans to deliver the strategy and recruiting key staff;
- Holding senior staff to account – this includes holding managers to account on how the body is managed, how business plans are delivered and how the budget is spent; and
- Representing the work and views of the body – this might be to ministers, parliamentarians, key stakeholders and the wider public.
Those appointed to advisory bodies provide independent, expert advice to government departments and ministers on specific issues.
A public appointment could give you a chance to:
- Give something back and contribute your expertise to help the community and influence decisions that affect everyone’s lives;
- Return from a career break;
- Meet people from all walks of life who also want to make a difference; and
- Develop your career, gain board experience and boost your skills.
Government Ministers typically make public appointments, although certain roles are appointed directly by HM The Queen and the Prime Minister. All appointments follow a recruitment process regulated by the Commissioner for Public Appointments.
Departments advertise posts on the Cabinet Office website and in some cases recruitment consultants will be employed to assist in finding candidates and receiving applications.
Those interested in a particular role will be required to submit a CV and expression of interest setting out your suitability for the role and demonstrating how you meet the required criteria.
A selection panel will shortlist candidates based on the requirements of the job and will invite shortlisted candidates to interview. Panels vary in size and composition, however each panel comprises a Chair and at least one independent member, normally with no connection to the organisation or the department in question.
Panels will shortlist candidates based on the requirements of the job and will invite shortlisted candidates to interview. Following interviews, the panel will prepare a report setting out which candidate(s) are capable of carrying out the role and therefore appointable. The Minister may choose to interview all appointable candidates prior to coming to a final decision.
Unsuccessful candidates can seek feedback on their application.
Diversity in public appointments
The Government has an aspiration that half of all new appointees are women. However, this is not just about gender; diversity is about encouraging applications from candidates with the widest range of backgrounds.
The Cabinet Office has devised an action plan which identifies potential barriers to appointments and puts in place a number of actions to overcome them.
The Cabinet Office’s Centre for Public Appointments provides leadership and guidance to departments both to improve the quality of the appointments process and also to widen the pool of candidates applying for vacancies, thereby increasing the diversity of public boards.
The Centre has responsibility for:
- Promoting public appointments
- Improving diversity
- Developing policy
- Identifying and supporting talent
All Public Appointments are advertised on this website and many are featured in the Public Appointments newsletter which is published fortnightly; to sign up to the newsletter, register or log in here.
The Centre for Public Appointments can be contacted at:
Centre for Public Appointments
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