Public Appointments – Time For You To Apply?

Public Appointments – Time For You To Apply?

Every year, dozens of public appointments are advertised by government departments. They offer a great opportunity to contribute to the governance of the UK as well as a way for ambitious leaders to enhance their CVs. Many are also very well paid.

Despite efforts to broaden the recruitment base, the appointments still struggle to reflect the diversity of our society with a shortfall in the number of women and under representation of the varied communities that contribute to our economy and culture.

There is also a worrying lack of diversity of background and opinion, with successful candidates reflecting the values of previous governments. If politicians lag behind public opinion, their appointees are even slower to change. A recent survey by Conservative Home demonstrated that over 70% of appointees were current or former Labour party members. Much of this state of affairs was due to a selection process that over valued previous experience and consequently kept recirculating the same people.

To new candidates, the world of public appointments can seem like a closed shop – so I will try to shed some light on it:

WHERE DO I FIND OUT MORE?

The Cabinet Office regularly publishes a newsletter listing upcoming vacancies. There is usually a wide range of opportunities on offer. Appointments to NHS Boards, magistrates and other posts can also be found on the Public Appointments website.

Many of the more senior positions are well paid but it can be a good strategy to secure an unpaid role first. This will establish you as a potential candidate for other roles whilst growing your network and building your experience in this sector.

DO I HAVE WHAT IT TAKES?

The good news is that public appointments exist in all fields, so specialist experience and knowledge are invaluable. There is likely to be something for anyone who has excelled in their own profession.

Most of the roles also require the following ‘people’ skills:

  • Teamwork – particularly experience of working as a member of a board or committee. Having chaired such a board is even more useful and specialist knowledge of audit procedures and compliance is widely respected.
  • Understanding – you need to work with people who hold different – often opposing – points of view. So you need to demonstrate how you can understand and accommodate differences. Examples of negotiations or agreements where all parties gained something are worth mentioning at the interview.
  • Communication – these are public bodies so you need to be comfortable dealing with the media, pressure groups and customers. Experience of speaking on radio, television or to large audiences is highly valued.
  • Integrity – it should go without saying that appointees will be carefully scrutinised by the press and political opponents. If you have a history of dubious activities or extreme views, public service may not be the best place for you.

HOW DO I LEARN MORE?

The Tory Candidates Network can help you identify public appointments that suit your own interests and background and ensure you have the relevant skills and knowledge to give you the best possible chance of success.

Contact us today to find out more about how we can help you.