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Call for Evidence

The Role of Non-Executive Directors in Government

Non-executive board members (NEBMs), known colloquially as non-executive directors (NEDs), have existed in Government departments in their current form since 2010, but little is known about their roles and impact. The Declaration on Government Reform reinforces their involvement in monitoring departmental performance and talent development and commits to a complete review of civil service governance, including their roles.

The aim of this inquiry is to explore the responsibilities, backgrounds, and influence of non-executives, as well as the appointments process, appropriate roles, and mechanisms for accountability.

The Committee invites evidence on the following issues:

The roles and activities of non-executives

  • What activities do NEDs undertake inside and outside departmental boards?
  • Where do they add most value and how does this compare between Government departments?
  • Do the roles of NEDs need to be more clearly defined?

Experience and expertise

  • What backgrounds, skills and experience support an effective Government non-executive?
  • Are there any gaps in experience in the current NED landscape, and how can this be addressed?
  • How can NEDs maintain objectivity in challenging departmental performance and delivery?

The appointments process

  • How are NEDs appointed? To what extent is the process “fair and transparent”?
  • Should the appointments process be subject to tighter regulation, and if so, how?
  • How are potential conflicts of interest managed?

Governance and accountability

  • How are NEDs held to account and are the current accountability mechanisms sufficient?
  • How could greater transparency be provided to the public on the activities of NEDs?
  • How could success be measured?
  • Should NEDs be subject to greater parliamentary oversight?
  • To what extent is the Corporate Governance Code for departments fit-for-purpose?

The deadline for written submissions is Friday 9 Septemebr at 17.00.

This call for written evidence has now closed.

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