Public bodies play an important part in the governance of Northern Ireland. They provide specialist advice to Ministers, assist with the delivery of essential public services and carry out important regulatory functions. Membership of public bodies enables the wider community to play a role in influencing and shaping the provision of a range of public services and ensures that particular expertise is brought to the direction of these services.
Each Minister in the Executive is ultimately responsible for the activities of the public bodies sponsored by their Departments and in most cases (except, for example where there is separate statutory provision) Ministers make the appointments to their boards.
The final decision about who to appoint rests with the Minister.
The Commissioner for Public Appointments in Northern Ireland (CPANI), John Keanie, regulates, monitors and reports on the process for making Ministerial public appointments.
The Commissioner’s statutory remit extends only to appointments to those public bodies listed in the relevant legislation. The Commissioner has published a Code of Practice for Departments on how the public appointments process is managed.