Getting great people to steer our great institutions

Getting great people to steer our great institutions

There are hundreds of public institutions in the UK, from museums and galleries to the NHS, national parks and regulators. They need exceptional people to steer them and make decisions that benefit society.

Think about a Trustee of the National Gallery for example, who needs to lead and develop the strategy of one of the largest and most unique collections of art in the country.

Or the Chair of National Highways, who has a vital part in planning, designing, building, operating, and maintaining England’s major roads.

Or a Member of the Youth Justice Board, who monitors and advises on the operation of the Youth Justice System to ensure that children’s needs and the rights of victims are equally met.

Baroness Neville-Rolfe, Minister for State, explains that these positions are called public appointments, and they are responsible for effectively running many of the public services that the British people depend on daily. They are varied and interesting roles – some of them are chairs or non-executive directors of boards, others might be trustees or committee members. They guide the institutions that spend billions of pounds of public money each year.

The stakes for public appointees are therefore high, which is why it’s crucial that we get the right people inthese roles.

I oversee the teams in Government that make these appointments – and we’ve decided to start doing things differently.

First, we’re going to make things happen faster.

It’s no secret that recruitment across the public sector can be slow. But we want to change that. We are going to get campaigns off the ground earlier and do everything possible to avoid unnecessary delays, by streamlining some of our processes and working smarter through our new digital platform.

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Second, we are going to think ahead.

We will work with board Chairs and government departments to make strategic assessments of what skills and experience boards need, and then target our recruitment to better meet these needs.

Candidate care will also be at the heart of our new approach.

We will endeavour to get the ‘little things’ right, because we know that replying to emails quickly and following up after interviews can go a long way to improve someone’s experience of getting hired.

Most importantly, we want to ensure a wide range of people apply for public appointments.

These roles demand varied skill sets, different experiences and unique perspectives. People from all walks of life are needed to govern our public institutions so that they work for the whole of the UK. It’s not a ‘nice to have’ – it’s essential.

I am interested in diversity in all its forms, including regional diversity. I do not want anyone to think that all of these roles are based in London – because in fact over half of the roles we are currently recruiting for are in other regions of the UK, and many with unspecified locations can be undertaken from wherever you’re based. My mission is to make sure there is a spread of public appointees across the whole of the UK, reflecting the views and priorities of different people.

Becoming a public appointee is by no means a ‘one way’ deal – it is hugely rewarding. Public appointees get the chance to improve vital public services, get more involved with their communities, make a difference to society and work with a wide range of talented people. Some of these positions are remunerated, and many are part-time, requiring 2 to 3 days per week, or as little as a few days a year.

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Everything you need to know about applying to a public appointment is online, and my team will be there to help you every step of the way.

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