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Update: We have moved to hybrid working and our staff are not always on site. As a result we only have intermittent access to postal deliveries. Please note that it may take longer to process items sent by post. For a quicker response please email or phone us or use our website

Regulating public appointments

We regulate and monitor the process used to appoint board members to certain public bodies.

We do this in three main ways:

  • we have produced a Code of Practice for Ministerial Appointments to Public Bodies in Scotland. It is updated from time to time. The Scottish Government is expected to follow the Code when making regulated public appointments. We also provide guidance on how the Code is to be applied and interpreted.
  • we oversee a selection of appointments by assigning a Public Appointments Adviser (PAA). PAAs are appointed by the Commissioner and are answerable to them for their professional conduct and competence. They do not answer to Ministers or their directorates, nor to any of the public bodies. The Commissioner decides on the appropriate level of oversight for an appointment based on a range of factors, including the body’s budget and its functions. Depending on the level assigned, the PAAs provide oversight during planning only or as full selection panel members. More details are included in the guidance on application of the Code.
  • because our advisers don’t oversee all stages of all appointment rounds, we also conduct audits and thematic reviews and publish our findings. These are intended to assist the Scottish Government to gain a better understanding of the Code and to improve on its appointment practices over time. We publish good practice case studies for the same reason.

Additionally, anyone who thinks that the Code of Practice hasn’t been complied with can make a complaint.

Our functions are set out in the Public Appointments and Public Bodies etc. (Scotland) Act 2003. The 2003 Act also includes a list of all regulated appointments. We maintain a list of all public bodies we regulate.

Regulated bodies

Make a complaint

Anyone who thinks that the Code of Practice hasn’t been complied with can make a complaint. First raise this with the Scottish Government.  If you are not satisfied with their response you can then ask us to investigate.

Make a complaint