Howlin publishes State Board Guidelines

The Government at its meeting today, 25th November 2014, agreed the publication of guidelines entitled “Guidelines on Appointments to State Boards” to assist Departments in implementing the new arrangements for appointments to State Boards. These guidelines have been prepared by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform following consultation with the Public Appointments Service, other Government Departments and interested parties and provide detailed guidance on the appointments process, including issues related to diversity.

Following its meeting of 30th September, the Government announced a revised model for ministerial appointments to State boards. From November 1st all appointments to State boards must be advertised openly on the State Boards portal,, which is operated by the Public Appointments Service.

The list of available vacancies, along with a full list of State Boards, with members, is on

Speaking after Cabinet, the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Brendan Howlin TD, commented:

“These guidelines set out clearly how the new appointments process for State Boards will work in practice. They will assist all Departments to engage effectively with the Public Appointments Service to draw up clear specifications of Board roles. These can then be openly advertised so that the expressions of interest can be sought from the widest possible pool.  The Public Appointments Service will then assemble a shortlist of suitable candidates for the Minister to select from.”

Continuing, the Minister added, “This new process will improve corporate governance on our State Boards, widen the pool from which members of State Boards are drawn, and ensure that the process around appointments to State Boards is transparent. I would urge anyone interested in serving on a State Board to visit and express an interest.”

Note for Editors

The guidelines published today cover the following:

  • Introduction and context. The background to the guidelines is set out, including previous Government decisions.
  • Key objectives. This sets out the objectives of the Government Decision of 30 September:
    • to increase access and widen the pool from which potential appointees to State Boards are drawn;
    • to strengthen State Boards by enhancing the calibre and quality of appointments; and
    • to secure a high degree of transparency in the selection of candidates for appointment by the relevant Minister.
    • Application of the guidelines. This section sets out the boards to which the Guidelines apply.
    • Exceptions. A number of specific exceptions to the new arrangements are set out.
    • Development of a specification for board role. The development of a clear and comprehensive specification for each role to be advertised is the key to the successful implementation of the new arrangements.
    • Publication of roles. The mechanism for publishing all roles on is set out.
    • Assessment process. Under the new arrangements assessment of the suitability of a candidate for a board position will be performed by PAS.
    • Appointment of board members. The selection of the candidates to appoint from the list produced by PAS is solely and exclusively a matter for the relevant Minister.
    • Interaction of the Guidelines with other policies and guidelines. This clarifies that compliance with the Government Decision of 23 July 2014 on Gender Balance on State Boards is an essential requirement of the Guidelines, and that the Code of Practice for the Governance of State Bodies details the key roles and responsibilities of State Boards.
    • Database of State Boards. A comprehensive database on each State Board subject to these Guidelines will be published on by end Q1 2015.
    • Review. A review of the operation of the Guidelines will be completed and published by the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform within 18 months of the new arrangements coming into force.