About the NSW Boards and Committees Register

Published 30th October, 2017

NSW Government boards and committees play an important role in providing leadership, direction and accountability across many areas of NSW Government activity. Boards and committees represent a vital link between community needs and government delivery of services.

Serving on a government board, committee or statutory authority is a rewarding and productive way to get involved with government and help shape New South Wales.

Public bodies across NSW deliver important and essential public services. This includes large public bodies managed by boards of directors and small, advisory committees made up of lay members, experts and specialists.

An appointee to the board of a public body will often be involved in:

  • Providing direction and leadership – this includes setting the organisation’s strategy, agreeing on business plans to deliver the strategy and recruiting key staff;
  • Holding senior staff to account – this includes holding managers to account on how the body is managed, how business plans are delivered and how the budget is spent; and
  • Representing the work and views of the body – this might be to ministers, parliamentarians, key stakeholders and the wider public.

Those appointed to advisory bodies provide independent, expert advice to government departments and ministers on specific issues.

A public appointment could give you a chance to:

  • Give something back and contribute your expertise to help the community and influence decisions that affect everyone’s lives;
  • Return from a career break;
  • Meet people from all walks of life who also want to make a difference; and
  • Develop your career, gain board experience and boost your skills.

The NSW Government is keen to ensure that the best candidates are recruited for its boards and committees, and that the right balance of skills and experience, gender and cultural diversity is available. Joining the NSW Boards and Committees Register (the Register) gives you an excellent opportunity to be considered for appointments to these high level positions.

When positions become available the Register may be used to invite those who best meet the specified criteria to express their interest.

It’s important to keep in mind that the process for appointing people to board roles is highly competitive. Joining the Register does not guarantee you will be offered a board position, although it increases the chance that you will be considered for roles.

Who can join?

Residents of NSW who would like to make a contribution to their community and the way we live are eligible to join the register to be considered for a range of government boards and committees. Anyone who believes they have the skills, qualities and commitment to make a strong contribution to a government statutory board, committee, advisory group or trust, can join.

The NSW Government is committed to providing greater opportunities for the community to participate in its decision making process. To ensure an equitable representation, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, women, people with expertise in multiculturalism, young people and people with disabilities are all encouraged to join the register.

Recommendations for appointment will be based on the skills and qualifications requested by the agency seeking to fill its vacancy. Generally speaking, agencies are seeking people with considerable senior level experience and sector expertise.  However, the government is also seeking to increase the representation of women and youth on boards and committees, recognising the valuable contribution that diversity can bring to the table.

Registering does not mean your name will be put forward automatically to ministers, as agencies select suitable candidates to forward for consideration based on the appointment criteria.

Inclusion on the Register does not guarantee selection for a position.  Having your name on the Register does not oblige you to accept any appointment which is offered. 

Please note that ministers seek nominations from a range of sources and that nominations may not necessarily result in the appointment of any particular person.

By providing your email address, you can choose to receive regular email alerts advising you of vacancies on NSW Government boards and committees.

How are members appointed?

When a NSW Government-nominated position on a board or committee becomes vacant, agencies may search the Register, matching the requirements of the position with the skills and experience of the people who are on the Register. Your details are matched to the criteria for the proposed appointment. Alternatively, the position may be publicly advertised and you will be welcome to submit an application for the vacancy. The agency may then recommend suitable candidates to the minister responsible for the appointment.

If your skills and experience match the desired expertise, the government agency responsible for the vacancy may contact you to confirm your interest in the position and further outline any other requirements of the role. You do not have to accept a particular appointment and your details will remain on the register until you advise otherwise or do not respond to requests to update your information.

About boards and committees

There are approximately 400 centrally reported NSW Government boards and committees with approximately 4000 members. These boards and committees are diverse in terms of functions, form, size and the way in which they operate. They encompass boards of government trading enterprises, marketing boards, regulatory boards, professional registration boards, area health service boards, trusts and advisory councils and committees.

They provide leadership and have responsibility for a wide variety of government activities — from advisory boards providing policy advice on discrete areas of government policy, to professional registration boards, or governing boards overseeing multi-million dollar government trading enterprises.

NSW Government bodies are in most cases established by, or under, an Act of Parliament. They are managed by a number of people who are appointed either by a minister or by the Governor in Council upon the recommendation of Cabinet and together make up a government board, committee or other body. Members of bodies are responsible to a minister for the general direction, control and operations of the board.

Frequently asked questions

What is a public appointment?
While there is no strict definition of what a public appointment is, typically the appointment will be for a chair or non-executive director for a board of a public body or for a member of an advisory committee. Appointments advertised on this website are those that are made by, or on behalf of, government ministers and are subject to a fair, open and transparent recruitment process.

What is a public body?
A public body is generally thought of as an organisation that delivers a public service, is not a government department and operates to a greater or lesser extent at arm’s length from ministers.

Read more on the Public Service Commission website

What type of work does a public appointee do?
The roles of public appointees vary but often require them to provide leadership, strategic direction, independent scrutiny and, in some cases, specialist expertise in important areas of public life. Input from a non-executive board or committee member is always more strategic than hands on. Key responsibilities may include: agreeing strategy; overseeing performance targets; ensuring the finances of the organisation are managed properly; and ensuring the organisation works in the public interest.

What difference can a public appointee make?
Taking on a public appointment allows people to play a real part in shaping and influencing our society and make decisions that affect all our lives. Each role is different and time commitment will vary. A non-executive director role, for example, may typically require two and a half days per month but there are many others that require more or less than this. A public appointment is usually for a fixed term, and the length of the term will depend on the specific body.

Who takes on a public appointment?
Public bodies play an important role in public life, making decisions and delivering the essential services that benefit the communities they serve. To be truly effective, public bodies need to draw from a mix of people with different skills, experiences and backgrounds to serve on their boards.

Evidence shows that the most successful boards embrace a range of perspectives delivered by those with an understanding of the local issues as well as the bigger picture – those who reflect and connect with their local community. There is a real need for more people from all walks of life and all professions – and with talents as wide-ranging and varied as our public services – to take on the different kinds of posts. The government is committed to attracting a strong and diverse field of candidates to public appointments and has a specific aspiration to increase the number of women on the boards of public bodies.

How can I apply?
Each public appointment has its own application process. If you are interested in a position that has been advertised on this website, follow the instructions to apply.

If you have a profile on the Register, you can opt to receive regular alerts of new opportunities relevant to your skills, experience and interests. Join the Register now

Is this a jobs database?
No. The Register aims to find suitable people to serve on government boards, committees and advisory groups and is not linked to any job service.

Can I nominate someone else?
No. It must either be your information or information you are submitting on behalf of someone else with their express consent.

However, you can certainly complete the registration form on behalf of someone if you have their permission.

Will my name be put forward for everything?
Agencies will be able to access your registration details where the skills, qualifications and experience you have identified closely match with the requirements of each position. Your name will not be automatically forwarded for nomination for boards and committees that don’t closely match with your skills, experience or interests.

If I’m offered an appointment, can I turn it down?
You are not obliged to accept an appointment if it is offered to you.

Are my details confidential?
The information held on the Register and any CVs (curriculum vitae) are used only by NSW Government agencies for nominating and appointing candidates. This information is treated in strict confidence.

Who manages the register?
The Department of Premier and Cabinet has overall responsibility for the administration of the Register; however, all NSW Government agencies will have access to the Register to assist them in selecting suitable candidates to be considered for vacant positions.

Published 30th October, 2017