On Board - A guide for Board Members of Public Bodies in Scotland (April 2015)

This Guide provides much of the basic information that a Board Member will need to understand their role as a member of the Board of a public body in Scotland.

Role of the Board Committees

Many Boards establish committees to deal with particular areas of interest outside of main Board meetings. The extent to which Boards use committees will be dependent on the size of the organisation. Examples of Board committees include:

  • Remuneration Committee
  • Audit Committee
  • Nomination Committee
  • Area or Regional Boards where appropriate.

Committees may also be set up to deal with specific aspects of the Board's role, such as:

  • Staff Governance
  • Finance
  • Policy
  • Development
  • Clinical Governance (in the NHS).

Where appropriate, committees can allow for specialist areas relating to the Board's role to be debated in detail by members with the appropriate knowledge or skills. The key points can then be presented to the full Board for ratification, making more effective use of scarce time. As the Board cannot be expected to understand the issues dealt with by the committee from the minutes alone, it will generally require substantive reports from the committee to summarise issues, debates and decisions.

Individuals with specific skills and/or expertise may be invited to serve on committees as co-opted members. Co-opted members do not hold Board member status and must never constitute a majority of the membership of any committee.


Email: Gordon Quinn

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