Governance roles span the Commercial, Not for Profit, and Government sectors. Each of them has different entry requirements and levels of skills and experience – most are open to new Directors or those with limited governance experience. In this, and following, articles I will be spending time outlining for you how to find a board appointment in each of these sectors. Whilst not everyone wants a government board appointment there are many who recognise the value of these appointments and are well suited to these roles. For those of you who are not interested in a public appointment, this article should still offer some value. In either case, read on.
Why consider a Government Board?
For many of you, the answer will be obvious. Serving on a government board can give you the opportunity to exercise significant leadership, manage multiple-dollar budgets, develop new relationships, evidence strategic experience and gain clearly demonstrated public sector experience with increased responsibility that can be valuable to your future career goals.
For others, the cultural fit isn’t going to be right. That is ok it is good to know what you don’t want, and what is right for you, as much as what you do. If this is you then skip down to the last paragraph to read about how you can leverage government boards to drive a more commercial or not for profit board appointment.
Finding a Public Board Role in the UK
Even if you do not desire a Public Appointment, understanding who the influencers are in your area of expertise, interest or industry can be incredibly valuable.
For those of you who live in the UK, I have gathered some resources that will help you find the information you need about how Government Departments are governed by boards and public appointments are made. You can find this information at https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/non-executive-directors-reports-and-information.Public bodies across the UK deliver important and essential public services. These bodies have a wide array of roles for the prospective non-executive director. Some of these roles are available in large public bodies managed by boards of directors. But these bodies also have smaller advisory committees made up of lay members, experts and specialists.
In short, a public appointment is generally a ministerial appointment to the board of a public body or advisory committee. Those appointed to advisory bodies provide independent, expert advice to government departments and ministers on specific issues. Those interested in one of these roles will be required to submit a CV and expression of interest setting out your suitability for the role and demonstrating how you meet the required criteria.
Specific opportunities can be found at the Cabinet Office Website.
It is worth taking a look at these Government Boards websites for a couple of reasons.
One might think that the only valuable information someone looking for a board role can find is a list of current vacancies – that is not true. Apart from finding available board roles, there are two other very good reasons.
Firstly, on the Government Boards websites, you will not only find the names of the boards but also a full list of the Chairs and current board members. These sites are regularly updated, so they remain current. As such it is a natural place for you to begin your research and your networking.
Secondly, this site not only has the names of current board members but also the date that their appointment term comes to fruition. If you are interested in serving on one of these boards, then you can diarise a time to approach the Chair with a proposal for you to sit on their board. This proactive approach can be very attractive and demonstrates not only proactiveness but also intelligence and determination – good qualities for prospective board members to have!
Not interested in a Government Board Appointment?
Even if you do not desire a role with a government board, the people who sit on these boards are the influencers in your areas of interest or industry as such, they can be incredibly valuable. Moreover, I recommend using the list of board members available on this site as a readymade list of individuals that you could approach to discuss current industry issues or to introduce yourself to regarding your wish to further your board aspirations. Headhunters call these board members to ask if they are interested in board appointments but also if they know of anyone they could recommend. You should get to know the people on these boards as part of your strategy to gain a board appointment whether it be a commercial, not for profit or public appointment.
The Next Step
If you would like to discuss your journey to a board career and how we can help register for my next free weekly Q&A Session.
About the Author
David Schwarz is CEO & Founder of Board Appointments – The UK’s leading board advertising and non-executive career support firm. He has over a decade of experience of putting people on boards as an international headhunter and a non-executive recruiter and has interviewed over one thousand non-executives and placed hundreds into some of the most significant public, private and NFP roles in the world