On Board: a guide for members of management advisory boards

This guidance is for all those appointed by the Chief Executive to be a member of management advisory boards.

Role of the Individual Board Member

Your specific role as a Board member will depend on the role of the Board to which you have been appointed and the capacity in which you have been appointed, but will normally cover a number of general duties and responsibilities.

Individual Board members should act in accordance with the role of the Board as a whole and comply at all times with the Code of Conduct adopted by the public body and with the rules relating to the use of public funds and to conflicts of interest. In this context 'public funds' means not only any funds provided to the public body by the Scottish Ministers or the Scottish Parliament but also any other funds falling within the stewardship of the public body, including trading and investment income, gifts, bequests and donations. General guidance on Board members' roles will be summarised in their letter of appointment.

Performance Appraisal and Appointments

Members are appointed to the Board because their personal skills, knowledge and experience match the criteria for the post and meet the needs of the public body.

Performance as a Board member is regularly reviewed throughout the term of appointment by the Chief Executive. In some cases, an independent Chair may be in place, who will contribute to this process. The Chief Executive will consider whether the needs of the Board will most effectively be met by an appointment, re-appointment or extension to an appointment. Appointments of Non-Executive members to Management Advisory Boards are not regulated by the 2013 Code of Practice for Ministerial Appointments to Public Bodies in Scotland published by the Commissioner for Ethical Standards, but Chief Executives are expected to have regard to the Code.

The Code states that members may be re-appointed for second and subsequent terms in the same role without open competition, if they possess the skills and knowledge required on the Board at the time of re-appointment and their performance has been properly appraised as effective. No member's total period of appointment in the same position may exceed eight years. This eight year maximum is based on the aggregate time in post and applies regardless of whether the time in post was continuous or not. The terms and conditions of re-appointment should be outlined in a
re-appointment letter.

Role of the Individual Board Member

The Board member

  • Understands the operational environment in which their public body operates within the context of the wider public service delivery landscape;
  • Attends Board meetings on a regular basis and is well prepared by reading relevant papers in advance and, if necessary, seeks further information to ensure their understanding;
  • Attends training events and keeps up to date with subjects relevant to the public body's work;
  • Contributes to the work of any committees that have been established by the Board;
  • Contributes to strategic development and discussion;
  • Questions and, as necessary, challenges proposals made by fellow Board members and the executive team constructively and carefully to reach and articulate a considered view on their suitability;
  • Provides a creative contribution to the Board by providing an independent perspective on issues of strategy, performance and resources;
  • Where appropriate establishes and promotes the public body's role in the community.


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