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First-time NEDs  |  Public appointments

Unlocking the public sector NED opportunity


Written by Elise Perraud, NEDonBoard COO


What is a public appointment?

Public sector NEDs are appointed on the boards of public bodies, government departments or advisory committees. Taking on a public appointment includes joining the board of directors of large public bodies as well as advisory committees, that are made up of lay members, experts and specialists.

Appointees provide direction and leadership, hold senior staff to account and represent the work and views of the body. Those appointed to advisory bodies provide independent, expert advice to government departments and ministers on specific issues.

Related post: The difference between a NED and a lay member


Why should you consider a NED role within the public sector?

Professionals looking to build or grow a NED portfolio will be attracted to NED roles in the public sector for the following reasons:

  1. Give back and contribute to support communities
  2. Develop your career and gain news skills
  3. Gain board experience that you can then leverage to expand a portfolio of NED roles

Public appointments are typically remunerated. Compensation varies widely though. Looking into the public sector roles posted on the NEDonBoard jobs board, our data show that roles are typically paid £500 to £900 per day. The time commitment for a public sector NED role is specific to each appointment.

We note that public bodies and government departments recruit non-executive directors from a wide range of background. Professionals with private sector experience are in demand. Experience has shown that NEDs with a commercial background provide a useful dynamic to the boards of public bodies and advisory committees, play a strong role in the key issues of governance, bring complementary skills and knowledge and have an impact on the quality of management information.

Conflict of interest may arise and should be promptly managed.


Differences: public vs. private NED appointments

NEDonBoard refers to its acclaimed guide “What to Expect of the NED role”, which forms part of the NED Accelerator Programme by NEDonBoard and which describes the different types of organisations that a non-executive director may consider when expanding a portfolio.

Related post: The main differences for a NED working in the public and private sectors


Diversity in public appointments

The Government has an ambition that, by 2022 half of all new appointees should be women and 14% of appointments should be made to those from ethnic minorities. However, diversity goes beyond gender and ethnicity; it is about promoting the NED career to competent professionals from the widest range of backgrounds. It is also about onboarding the next generation of business leaders.

NEDonBoard is proud to co-organise events with UK Government departments to promote the public sector NED career and greater diversity on UK boards.

Related post: The NEDonBoard recommendations to increase the representation of under-represented groups in UK boardroom


How can I engage?

Interested in business networking events with UK government departments? Visit our events page.

At the start of your NED journey? Take a look at the NED Accelerator Programme by NEDonBoard. A uniquely designed programme for those looking to start a NED career, combining fundamental governance knowledge and experience-based advice to successfully and confidently transition to non-executive directorship. The Programme includes a dedicated section on public appointments, their specificities and how to prepare your applications and interviews. Please visit the course page for information and sign-up.


Additional resources available to NEDonBoard members:

Public sector NED roles

Insights with the Commissioner for Public Appointments


Discover further information by downloading our brochure.

    Discover further information by downloading our brochure.