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 and Responsibilities of the Chief Executive

The Chief Executive of the public body is employed and appointed by the Board (with the approval of Scottish Ministers). They are the Board's principal adviser on the discharge of its functions and will be accountable to the Board. The Chief Executive's role is to provide operational leadership to the public body, and ensure that the Board's aims and objectives are met and the public body's functions are delivered and targets met through effective and properly controlled executive action. The Chief Executive's general responsibilities will include performance management and staffing of the public body. In summary, the Board focuses on strategy, performance and behaviour - the Chief Executive advises the Board on all matters and is solely responsible for operational issues.


Chief Executive

  • Advises the Board on the discharge of its responsibilities - as set out in the Framework Document, in the founding legislation and in any other relevant instructions and guidance issued by or on behalf of the Scottish Ministers - and implements the decisions of the Board;
  • Ensures that financial considerations are taken fully into account by the Board at all stages in reaching and executing its decisions, and that appropriate financial appraisal and evaluation techniques, consistent with the Scottish Public Finance Manual, are followed;
  • Prepares the public body's corporate and business plans, in the light of the strategic aims and objectives agreed by the Scottish Ministers;
  • Advises the Board on the performance of the public body compared with its aims and objectives;
  • Ensures effective relationships with Scottish Government officials - across the wider organisation, as necessary, and with the sponsor Directorate in particular;
  • Ensures that timely forecasts and monitoring information on performance and finance are provided to the Scottish Government; that the Scottish Government is notified promptly if overspends or underspends are likely and that corrective action is taken; and that any significant problems, whether financial or otherwise, and whether detected by internal audit or by other means, are promptly notified to the Scottish Government;
  • Ensures robust performance and risk management arrangements, consistent with the Scottish Public Finance Manual, are in place to support the achievement of the public body's aims and objectives and facilitate comprehensive reporting to the Board, the Scottish Government and the wider public;
  • Ensures that the public body adheres, where appropriate, to the Scottish Government's Programme and Project Management Principles;
  • Ensures that adequate systems of internal control are maintained by the public body, including effective measures against fraud and theft consistent with the Scottish Public Finance Manual;
  • Establishes appropriate documented internal delegated authority arrangements consistent with the Scottish Public Finance Manual.


Email: Gordon Quinn

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