Frequently Asked Questions

What is a public appointment?

What is a public body?

What type of work does a public appointee do?

What difference can a public appointee make?

Who takes on a public appointment?

What is the role of the Commissioner for Public Appointments?

How can I apply?

How can I get more information?

What is a public appointment?

Whilst there is no strict definition of what a public appointment is, typically the appointment will be for a chair or non-executive director for a board of a public body or for a member of an advisory committee. Appointments advertised on this website are those that are made by or on behalf of Government ministers and are subject to a fair, open and transparent recruitment process.

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What is a public body?

A public body is generally thought of as an organisation that delivers a public service, is not a government department and operates to a greater or lesser extent at arm’s length from Ministers. The types of public bodies that have public appointments include:

  • Executive non-departmental public bodies e.g. ACAS (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service)
  • Advisory non-departmental public bodies e.g. National DNA Database Ethics Group
  • Independent Monitoring Boards e.g. ‘Members of the public who monitor the welfare of prisoners.
  • Non-ministerial departments e.g. the Charity Commission

For further information on public bodies please follow the link: http://www.civilservice.gov.uk/about/resources/information-on-public-bodies

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What type of work does a public appointee do?

The roles of public appointees vary but often require them to provide leadership, strategic direction, independent scrutiny and, in some cases, specialist expertise in important areas of public life. Input from a non-executive board or committee member is always more strategic than hands on. Key responsibilities may include: agreeing strategy; overseeing performance targets; ensuring the finances of the organisation are managed properly; and ensuring the organisation works in the public interest.

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What difference can a public appointee make?

Taking on a public appointment allows people to play a real part in shaping and influencing our society and make decisions that affect all our lives. Each role is different and time commitment will vary. A non-executive director role, for example, may typically require two and a half days per month but there are many others that require more or less than this. A public appointment is for a fixed term, and the length of the term will depend on the specific body.

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Who takes on a public appointment?

Public bodies play an important role in public life, making decisions and delivering the essential services that benefit the communities they serve. To be truly effective public bodies need to draw from a mix of people with different skills, experiences and backgrounds to serve on their boards.
There is a real need for more people from all walks of life and all professions – and with talents as wide-ranging and varied as our public services – to take on the different kinds of posts. The Government is committed to attracting a strong and diverse field of candidates to public appointments and has a specific aspiration to increase the number of women on the boards of public bodies.
Evidence shows that the most successful boards embrace a range of perspectives delivered by those with an understanding of the local issues as well as the bigger picture – those who reflect and connect with their local community.

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What is the role of the Commissioner for Public Appointments?

The Commissioner for Public Appointments regulates ministerial appointments to the boards of public bodies. The Commissioner’s regulatory functions include: monitoring compliance of the Governance Code; investigating specific complaints relating to appointment processes; and promoting equal opportunities and diversity in the procedures for making public appointments.
For more information on the Commissioner for Public Appointments visit their website http://publicappointmentscommissioner.independent.gov.uk/

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How can I apply?

Each public appointment has its own application process and if you see an advertisement on this website please follow the links to apply for the role. If you are looking more generally for what is available you can follow us on Twitter @publicappts for regular alerts of new opportunities. Alternatively you can register your email address for a weekly email.

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How can I get more information?

If you require any further information please contact us: publicappointments@cabinetoffice.gov.uk

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