New national public health body 'Public Health Scotland': consultation

This consultation document invites views on the proposals for a new national public health body in Scotland, to be known as ‘Public Health Scotland’.

Chapter 8: Composition of the board for public health Scotland

1. The role of the Board for Public Health Scotland will be to govern the body. Generally, the optimal size of Board for an NHS organisation of this size would be up to 13 members. Given our commitment to shared leadership and accountability between Scottish Ministers and COSLA, we would propose that the Board embodies this through its membership and that the approach to governance is agreed by COSLA and Scottish Government. 

2. It is difficult to specify an ideal number of Board members and there has to be a balance between having sufficient skills and expertise and not having so many members that decision-making and collective responsibility become difficult. The Chief Executives of all NHS bodies sit on their Boards in their own right. Some senior Directors, such as Directors of Finance or Medical Directors are also Executive Board members of NHS bodies. It is proposed that the Board will include one or more councillor members nominated by COSLA.

3. Standing orders for the Board are likely to include the matters set out in schedule 1 of the Health Boards (Membership and Procedure) (Scotland) Regulations 2001[15], which details matters to be included in the standing orders that regulate meetings and proceedings of the Board and committees of Health Boards. Members of the Board will require to observe the Board Members’ Code of Conduct made under the Ethical Standards in Public Life etc. (Scotland) Act 2000. 

4. It is our intention to appoint the members of the Board through the public appointments process. It is our hope that the Board will include people with experience in other related areas such as those with academic and third sector experience. We will also try to build human rights into the governance structure of the organisation, by recruiting lived experience and expertise on human rights onto the Board. It is, therefore, expected that individuals appointed to the Board will bring expertise and experience from one or more of the following areas:

  • academia;
  • business and industry;
  • corporate governance and financial governance;
  • communications and media;
  • the prison sector;
  • community justice;
  • health;
  • human rights;
  • IT, analytics and data science;
  • the judiciary and legal profession;
  • local government;
  • policing;
  • public health;
  • scrutiny and inspection of public services;
  • social work and social care;
  • the third sector.

Question 13:  Are the professional areas noted in the list above appropriate to allow the Board of Public Health Scotland to fulfil its functions?

Question 14: (a) What are your views on the size and make-up of the Board? 
(b) How should this reflect the commitment to shared leadership and accountability to Scottish Ministers and COSLA?



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