Public appointments: guide

A guide to public appointments including information on how to apply.

This document is part of a collection

Frequently asked questions

How to apply

Each public appointment has its own application process. The supporting application pack will give full details of the role, skills required along with details on how to apply for the position. All vacancies are listed in the vacancies section of this website.

To apply you need to have a registered account. On the advert click on the ‘apply for this job online’ link which can be found at the top right hand side of the advert. After entering your email address and confirming this, your account will be activated allowing you to apply. 

Age limits

You must be at least 16 years of age. There is no prescribed upper age limit.


If you are a non-British national you can apply for, and be appointed to, the boards of public bodies. However, you must be legally entitled to work in the UK.

Time commitment

The time commitment will be outlined in the applicant information pack. The time commitment takes into account attending board meetings, committee meetings, preparation for meetings and attending stakeholder events when required. Public appointments are normally part-time, requiring a commitment of between one to four days per month. For some public appointments a greater time commitment may be required. Board Chair positions usually require more time than member appointments. 

Sitting on more than one board

It can be possible to hold more than one public appointment. This may depend on whether there are any restrictions attached to your employment or the public body to which you are applying or whether there are conflicts of interest that cannot be appropriately managed.

Applying if you work full time

This is dependent both on your current job, if you have one, and the appointment for which you apply. Some positions may involve more time than others. Some people fit their board duties around their full-time jobs (for example, within their holiday entitlement), or have agreed flexible working arrangements with their employer. It is always advisable to check with your employer before considering making an application for a public appointment

I have never held a board role, is this a barrier?

No. We are looking for people who can contribute effectively to the board. The skills you bring may have been developed in quite different contexts such as voluntary work or life experience.

How long public appointments last

Terms of appointment vary from role to role and are usually between one and five years. The total period of appointment in one role on one board may not exceed eight years.


All newly appointed board members are invited to attend a board induction day. Each board will also provide its own specific induction and training sessions. Board members also have access to the governance portal which is an online induction resource developed by the Scottish Government’s public bodies unit for board members.

How to register your interest in public appointments

You can register to receive notifications as opportunities arise.



Telephone: 0300 244 1898 (Freephone)


Public Appointments Team
Scottish Government
Area 3F North
Victoria Quay
Edinburgh EH6 6QQ

Back to top