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Any questions?

Click on any of the following questions for the answers.

How many public appointments are made each year?
When are public appointments made?
Would I have to give up my full-time job 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've never sat on a board before, does that mean I shouldn't bother applying?
Are appointments made as favours to friends?
Do I need to be a member of a political party?
Am I too old/too young to apply?
What sort of person should apply for a public appointment?
Why are some sections of society under-represented?
I haven't been in work for a few years. Will this affect my chances of being appointed?
I would like to apply for a public appointment in a few years' time. What sort of experience should I be getting to help me towards this goal?
How can I find out about what board members do?
How long do appointments last for?
How much time is involved?
Is there anyone I can talk to for some advice on whether to apply?
Will I be paid if I am appointed?
Will expenses, childcare and dependant's care costs be met when attending board meetings?
I want to apply...what should I do?
Why do we need a Commissioner for Ethical Standard in Public Life Scotland? Does it mean that the system is unfair at the moment?
I'm unhappy about my experience in a recent appointment round. How can I make a complaint?
If I make a complaint about an appointment process will this affect my chances of being appointed in the future?

How many public appointments are made each year?
Of course, the number of appointments varies from year to year, but as an example - 125 appointments were made between April 2013 and March 2014.

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When are public appointments made?
Usually, an appointment is made when someone comes to the end of their term as a board member. However, sometimes a body will need new experience, skills or knowledge and, occasionally, new boards are created.

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Would I have to give up my full-time job if I were appointed?
This depends both on your current job and the appointment you apply for. Some positions involve more time than others - from a day every month or two, to a few days every week. As such, some manage to fit their duties around their full-time jobs (for example, within their holiday entitlement), while others have flexible working agreements with their employers. It's a good idea to discuss this with your employer as early as possible - even before you apply. Most employers are supportive in this case, as you'll gain useful experience and skills if you are appointed, but it's best to check.

Legislation requires employers to allow employees who hold certain public positions reasonable time off to perform the duties associated with them. More information on this can be found on the www.gov.uk

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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?
 It is possible to hold more than one public appointment, assuming that there is no conflict of interest and depending on whether there are any restrictions attached to your current post or for the body to which you are applying. However, Minister are looking to ensure there is a diverse range of skills and experience on all the Boards.

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I've never sat on a board before, does that mean I shouldn't bother applying?
No. While board experience is useful, a fresh perspective is incredibly valuable. A board made up people who all have the same experience will not perform as well as one with a good mix and balance of skills and understanding.

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Are appointments made as favours to friends?
No,  the Commissioner for Ethical Standard in Public Life in Scotland regulates most appointments - ensuring that the process is open and fair. Whether the appointment is regulated or not, and is based on the abilities the role demands - and nothing else.

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Do I need to be a member of a political party?
No, political affiliation plays no part in the appointment process. You are only asked to declare any political activity once you have been appointed. The Scottish Government then publishes this information in the interests of openness and transparency.

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Am I too old/too young to apply?
No. Nor are you too married or too single, too male or too female, too rich or too poor. These things have nothing to do with your suitability for appointment. Back to top

What sort of person should apply for a public appointment?
First of all, there is no 'right' sort of person who should apply. Public bodies are concerned with issues and services that affect the whole of our society - and their boards need to reflect that. Obviously, not everyone will have the right skills and knowledge to run a public body, but you could have gained these through your work, hobbies, volunteering or home life - there's no set pattern to follow.

Your application will be judged on how well your skills,expereince, knowledge and personal qualities match those required for the post. It's important that the boards of public bodies reflect the whole of society in Scotland, but for that to happen people from all backgrounds and communities - people like you - need to apply.

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Why are some sections of society under-represented?
The simple answer is because they don't apply in sufficient numbers. This can be for a number of complex reasons - lack of available time to devote to public service, financial considerations, lack of confidence that their skills and experience will be appreciated, misconceptions about the way in which appointments are made etc. The Scottish Government and Commissioner for Ethical Standard in Public Life in Scotland are looking at ways in which these potential barriers can be removed to encourage more applications from under-represented groups.

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I haven't been in work for a few years. Will this affect my chances of being appointed?
Normally, your employment status should have nothing to do with how well you meet requirements of the role - although sometimes a requirement for the role could be a certain job (for example, you might need to be a practising lawyer 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.

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I would like to apply for a public appointment in a few years' time. What sort of experience should I be getting to help me towards this goal?
As already mentioned, there's no such thing as the 'right' or 'wrong' background, but there are some activities that will make you better prepared for a role on a board. For example:


The skills, knowledge,experience and personal qualities necessary will depend on the sort of role you want to take up. If there is a particular body that interests you, it may help to contact them directly to ask what kind of skills they would value. And don't forget, boards need a balance of different skills and knowledge - your in-depth knowledge in one area might outweigh your inexperience in another.

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How can I find out about what board members do?
There is a range of information on this website about the roles of board members - from the testimonials given by people who already serve on boards, to the information about current vacancies.

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How long do appointments last for?
Terms of appointment are usually between one and five years. Appointments may be renewed up to a maximum of 8 years, but this will depend on the balance of skills and knowledge needed by the board at the time.

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How much time is involved?
Public appointments are normally part-time, requiring a commitment of between 1 to 3 days per month - but some can require more of your time. Board Chair positions usually require involve more time (up to 2-3 days a week). In either case, you will be expected to prepare for meetings and keep abreast of relevant events and developments in your own time.

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Is there anyone I can talk to for some advice on whether to apply?
For any specific opportunity, there will be a named contact in the application pack that you can speak to about the role.

How long does the appointment process take?
It's essential that the boards of the organisations are made up of the right people with the right skills - so the process can take some time. However, for most appointments the application pack will include a timetable, giving the interview dates and the date the appointment will start, so that you know what to expect.

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Will I be paid if I am appointed?
It depends - some public appointments are paid and others are not. Details of the specific post will include information on any payment offered. Whether it is a paid role or not, you will be able to claim back any reasonable travel, subsistence and care costs you incur in carrying out your duties.

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

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I want to apply...what should I do?
First of all, it's a good idea to do some research into the organisation and make sure the role matches your interests, skills and knowledge. You'll also need to make sure that you can fit the demands of the role around any other ongoing commitments. If you'd like to apply for a role, but there isn't a particular opportunity that you're interested in, you can register here to be kept informed as opportunities arise.

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Why do we need a Commissioner for Ethical Standard in Pulbic Life in Scotland? Does it mean that the system is unfair at the moment?
No. The process has been regulated in one form or another since 1995, which has gone a long way to improving fairness and openness. However, the Commissioner provides vital ongoing regulation of the appointments process.

For all regulated public appointments, the Commissioner for Ethical Standard in Pulbic Life in Scotland provides guidance on the Code of Practice, investigates complaints and monitors appointment rounds to make sure that the Code is followed in every appointment round. (Not all public bodies come within the Commissioner's remit, but you will be able to recognise a regulated body by the Commissioner for Ethical Standard in Pulbic Life in Scotland regulated logo, which will appear on all publicity.)

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I'm unhappy about my experience in a recent appointment round. How can I make a complaint?
The first step is to give the relevant Scottish Government Directorate the opportunity to respond to your concerns. If you are not satisfied with the Directorate's response you can then ask the Commissioner to consider an investigation. The Commissioner will only investigate a complaint if the appointment was made a maximum of one year previously. Further information on the investigation of complaints can be found on the Commissioner for Ethical Standard in Pulbic Life in Scotland website.

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If I make a complaint about an appointment process will this affect my chances of being appointed in the future?
Absolutely not. For one thing, all applications are anonymous during the early stages of the process. This means you cannot be identified by the selection panel until the interview shortlist has been decided, even in the unlikely event that they know about your previous complaint. Also, different Scottish Government Directorates are responsible for different public appointments, so the same team might not deal with your second application. Both the Commissioner and the Scottish Government recognise the importance of facilitating and even encouraging genuine complaints about the appointments process, so that any necessary improvements can be made.

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