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Frequently Asked Questions

When are public appointments made?
How can I apply?
Is there an age limit?
What is the time commitment?
Would I be required to give up full time employment if I were appointed?
I already sit on the Board of a public body, does this mean I am unable to apply for other appointments?
I have never sat on a Board before, is this a barrier to me applying for a public appointment?
I have gaps in my employment history. Will this affect my chances of being appointed?
What is the length of a public appointment?
What is the role of the Ethical Standards Commissioner?
How do I make a complaint?
Are appointments made as favours to friends?
Does being a member of a political party prevent me from applying for a Board position?
What sort of person should apply for a public appointment?
What steps are being undertaken to increase the diversity of public appointments?
I would like to apply for a public appointment in the future. What skills and experience should I look to build upon?
Where can I find more information of what is involved in being a Board member?
How long does the appointment process take?
Will I receive payment for the role?
Will expenses, childcare and dependant's care costs be met when attending Board meetings?


When are public appointments made?

A public appointment is made when there is a requirement to fill a Board vacancy for a Board member or Board Chair.

In 2017, we made 107 appointments (13 Board Chairs and 94 Board members).

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How can I apply?
Each public appointment has its own application process. The supporting application pack will give full details of the role, skills required along with details on how to apply for the position. All vacancies are listed in the vacancies section of this website.

If there are no opportunities in the field in which you are interested, you can register to receive notifications as opportunities arise.

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Is there an age limit?
You must be at least 16 years of age to hold a public appointment. There is no prescribed maximum age limit.

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What is the time commitment?
Public appointments are normally part-time, requiring a commitment of between one to three days per month. For some public appointments a greater time commitment may be required. Board Chair positions usally require more time (up to two to three days a week). This time commitment takes into account attending Board meeetings, committee meetings, preparation for meetings and attending stakeholder events when required. 

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Would I be required to give up full time employment if I were to be appointed?
This is dependent both on your current job, if you have one and the appointment for which you apply. Some positions may involve more time than others. Some people fit their Board duties around full-time jobs or have agreed flexible working arrangements with their employer. Most employers are supportive, as you will gain useful experience and skills if you are appointed. It is always advisable to check with your employer before considering an application for a Board position. 

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I already sit on the Board of a public body, does this mean I am unable to apply for other appointments?
Assuming there is no conflict of interest, it is possible to hold more than one public appointment. This may also depend if there are any restrictions attached to your employment or the public body to which you are applying.

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I have never sat on a Board before, is this a barrier to me applying for a public appointment?
No. What we are looking for are people who can contribute effectively to the Boards. The skills you bring may have been developed in quite different contexts.

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I have gaps in my employment history. Will this affect my chances of being appointed?
Your employment status has nothing to do with how well you meet the requirement of the role. For some public appointments there may be a requirement to be employed in a specialist role (for example, being a practising lawyer in order to join an organisation involved in legal matters). How you gained your skills and knowledge is not important. What matters is that you have the ability to fill the role concerned as outlined in the role description.

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What is the length of a public appointment?
Terms of appointment vary from role to role and are usually between one and five years. A non-executive member's total period of appointment will not exceed eight years.

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What is the role of the Ethical Standards Commissioner?
The Ethical Standards Commissioner regulates ministerial public appointments to the Boards of Scotland's public bodies administered by the Public Appointments Team. The Commissioner provides guidance on the Code of Practice for Ministerial Appointments to Public Bodies in Scotland, investigates complaints and monitors appointment rounds to make sure that the Code is followed in every appointment round.

(Please be aware that not all public bodies come within the Commissioner's remit. You will be able to recognise a regulated body by the Ethical Standards Commissioner's regulated logo, which will appear on all publicity for a regulated appointment).

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How do I make a complaint?
If you are unhappy about your experience of the public appointments process, further details on how to make a complaint can be found at the complaints section of this website.

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Are appointments made as favours to friends?
No. The Ethical Standards Commissioner regulates most appointments. All public appointment rounds we run, regardless of what the process includes, comply with the Code of Practice for Ministerial Appointments to Public Bodies in Scotland - they are fair and open with successful applicants appointed on merit. 

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Does being a member of a political party prevent me from applying for a Board position?
No. Political affiliation play no part in the appointment process. You will be required to declare any political activity once you have been selected for appointment. This information will be included in the press release announcing the appointment.

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What sort of person should apply for a public appointment?
Public bodies need a variety of people with different skills, experience and background. Public body Boards should reflect the communities they serve.

It is clear that not everyone will have the right skills and knowledge to run a public body. However, you may have gained this experience through your work, hobbies, volunteering or home life - there is no set pattern to follow.

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What steps are being undertaken to increase the diversity of public appointments?
The Scottish Government and Ethical Standards Commissioner are looking at ways in which perceived 'barriers' as to why people do not apply for public appointments can be removed, and to encourage more applications from a more diverse range of applicants.

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I would like to apply for a public appointment in the future. What skills and epxerience should I look to build upon?
Listed below are some activities that will make you better prepared for a role on a Board. For example:

The skills, knowledge, experience and personal qualities required will depend on the role you wish to apply for. Boards require a balance of different skills and knowledge. Therefore, any in-depth knowledge in one area might outweigh your inexperience in another area.

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Where can I find more information of what is involved in being a Board member?
There is a range of information on this website about the roles of Board members - from testimonials by current Board members and Chairs, to the information contained in the application pack. Further information on the role of the Board member and Board Chair can be found in 'On Board - A guide for members of statutory Boards'

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How long does the appointment process take?
It is essential the Boards of organisations have the right people with the rights skills. Therefore the appointments process can take some time. The application pack will include a timetable, outlining the interview dates and the the date the appointment will start.

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Will I receive payment for the role?
This is dependent on the public body concerned. Information on any remuneration offered will be outline in the application pack.

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Will expenses, childcare and dependant's care costs be met when attending board meetings?
In many cases, you may be able to claim back any reasonable travel, subsistence and care costs incurred in carrying out your duties.

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