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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 have never sat on a board before, does that mean I should not 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 have not 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?
What is the time commitment?
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 am 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?
The number of appointments varies from year to year, but as an example, in 2016, we made 99 appointments - 11 Board Chairs and 88 Board members.

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When are public appointments made?
Normally, an appointment is made when someone comes to the end of their appointment term. However, there may be instances when a public body requires new experience, skills or knowledge and occasionally a new Board is established.

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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 for which you apply. Some positions involve more time than others - from a day every month or two, to a few days every week. Some people fit their duties around their full-time jobs (for example, within their holiday entitlement), while others have agreed flexible working agreements with their employers. Most employers are supportive in this case, as you will gain useful experience and skills if you are appointed, but it is advisable to check with your employer before you apply.

For some public positions legislation requires employers to allow employees reasonable time off in order to carry out the duties associated with these positions. More information on this can be found 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?
Assuming there is no conflict of interest, it is possible to hold more than one public appointment. This may also be dependent on whether there are any restrictions attached to your current post or the body to which you are applying. 

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I have never sat on a Board before, does that mean I should not bother applying?
No. While Board experience is useful, a fresh perspective is incredibly valuable. A Board made up people of 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.

Public appointments are made on merit- 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 publishes this information in the interests of openness and transparency.

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Am I too old/too young to apply?
There is no age restriction on public appointments.

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What sort of person should apply for a public appointment?
There is no 'right' sort of person who should apply. Public bodies deal with issues and services that affect the whole of our society. Public body Boards need to reflect the communities they serve.

It is clear that 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 is 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 is important that the Boards of public bodies reflect the whole of society in Scotland, but for this 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 does not apply in sufficient numbers. This can be for a number of complex reasons - the time commitment involved, financial considerations, family commitments, lack of confidence that their skills and experience will be appreciated, and misconceptions on the appointments process 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 have not been in work for a few years. Will this affect my chances of being appointed?
Your employment status should have nothing to do with how well you meet requirements of the role. However, in some instances it may be a requirement to be employed in a specialist role (for example, a requirment to be 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.

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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?
There is no such thing as the 'right' or 'wrong' background. 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 required will depend on the sort of role you wish to apply for. 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 testimonials by people who serve on Boards, to the information on current vacancies.

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How long do appointments last for?
Terms of appointment vary and are usually between one and five years. Appointments may be renewed up to a maximum of 8 years.

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What is the time commitment?
Public appointments are normally part-time, requiring a commitment of between 1 to 3 days per month. For some public appointments a greater time commitment may be required. Board Chair positions usually require more time (up to 2 to 3 days a week). There will be an expectation 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 is essential the Boards of organisations have the right people with the right skills, therefore the appointments process can take some time. For the majority of appointments the application pack will include a timetable, outlining the interview dates and the date the appointment will start.

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Will I be paid if I am appointed?
This is dependent on the public body concerned. Some public appointments offer remuneration, whilst others do not. Details of the specific post will include information on any remuneration offered. Whether it is a remunerated role or not, you may be able to claim back any reasonable travel, subsistence and care costs you may 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 may be able to claim back any reasonable travel, subsistence and care costs incurred in carrying out your duties.

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I want to apply...what should I do?
It is a good idea to do some research into the organisation and to check the role matches your interests, skills, knowledge and experience. You will also need to make sure that you can fit the demands of the role around any other ongoing commitments.

If you are interested in applying for a role, but there is not a particular opportunity that you are 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 Public 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 Public Life in Scotland regulated logo, which will appear on all publicity.)

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I am unhappy about my experience in a recent appointment round. How can I make a complaint?
Details on how to make a complaint can be found on the complaints section of this 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.

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 are aware of your previous complaint. Different Scottish Government Directorates are responsible for different public appointments, therefore the same team might not deal with your subsequent application. Both the Commissioner and the Scottish Government recognise the importance of facilitating genuine complaints about the appointments process, so that any necessary improvements can be made.

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