Public bodies

Policy actions  3 of 3

Public appointments

Each of Scotland's public bodies typically has a board made up of individual members and a chair who leads it.

We aim to create effective boards for public bodies that are representative of the diversity of Scotland's population. Appointments to a board made by Scottish Ministers are known as public appointments.

Many public appointments are regulated and monitored by the Ethical Standards Commissioner (ESC). Recruitment processes for these regulated public appointments are overseen by our public appointments team.

Appointments are made on merit. When designing a public appointments round, the target pool for potential applicants is based on the board's needs such as the knowledge, skills and qualities required, as well as which characteristics, such as sex, disability, age, ethnicity, and sexual orientation, are underrepresented. The ESC sets targets for the overall demographic profile of applicants.

More information and details of how to apply for positions on public body boards is available on our public appointments website.

We have published a guide to public appointments which includes information on how to apply as well as information on how public appointments may effect welfare benefits (October 2022). 

Access to public appointments board shadowing project

The access to public appointments board shadowing project pilot was delivered in a partnership of the Public Appointments Team, Inclusion Scotland (a disabled people’s organisation), with input from the Ethical Standards Commissioner. This pilot provided six disabled people the opportunity to shadow six regulated public body boards in Scotland over the course of a twelve month period in 2019 and 2020. The pilot is one part of our work to improve disabled people’s representation on public body boards.

Read the evaluation report from the pilot project ( 27 January 2021).

We published the response and actions we will undertake to address the issues highlighted (May 2021) in response to the recommendations from this evaluation report. 

Outreach events

We undertake both general and targeted outreach events to increase awareness of public appointments. For more information on these events and for all other enquiries, please contact us:

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