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    8. The Role of Public Service Employees on Government Boards

    Public service employees, such as chief executives, senior executives, senior officers and other officers and persons appointed under the Public Service Act 2008, may be appointed to a Government Board:

    • as the Minister's or Chief Executive Officer's nominee, either by virtue of the enabling Act or at the Minister's discretion
    • by virtue of their office (ex officio), frequently as the Chief Executive Officer; or
    • in an independent capacity as a member of the Queensland community.

    Example: Queensland Parole boards established under the Corrective Services Act 2006

    Section 218 Membership

    1. The Queensland board must consist of the following members -
      1. a President and a Deputy President, appointed by the Governor in Council by gazette notice, each of whom is –
      2. […]

      3. a public service officer employed in the department and nominated by the Chief Executive.

    Public service employees may also attend Government Board meetings in an official observer role.

    It is important that public service employees on Government Boards are aware of the nature of their appointment to the Government Board and their associated roles and responsibilities.

    There are specific provisions relating to public service employees appointed to Government Boards. Public service employees may be appointed to a Government Board as a government or departmental responsibility, either linked with their tenure in a particular position or due to their experience within a department or the public service but not necessarily linked to a specific position.

    When appointing public service employees as government or departmental representatives to Government Boards, it is preferable to appoint by position title where possible, rather than appointing a specific person by name, ensuring that the appointment tenure is linked to the appointee's position with the department or agency relevant to the Government Board role.

    This practice is permissible under Section 24A of the Acts Interpretation Act 1954, which provides that appointments may be made by the title of an office and that the appointee is taken to be the person occupying or acting in the office.

    The appointment of public service office holder positions, as opposed to individuals by name, removes the requirement for the appointee to tender a resignation upon ceasing employment with the public service or leaving the relevant position. This practice also eliminates the need for a ‘significant appointment’ submission to be made each time a new individual is employed in the specified position during the original term of appointment.

    Appointment by position title may not suit all appointments of public service employees as government or departmental representatives to Government Boards, e.g., under Section 117 of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) (the Corporations Act), company directors must be appointed by name. However, where possible, this should be the preferred approach, subject to compliance with any mandatory appointment requirements prescribed by the enabling legislation.

    In some instances, public service employees may be appointed by name as a government or departmental representative to a Government Board, due to their experience within a department or the public service, without the appointment being linked to a specific position. Where this is the case, the appointment instrument should specify that the appointment of the individual is subject to continued employment both under the Public Service Act 2008 and with the department or agency relevant to the Government Board position.

    To ensure that the Government Board position is automatically vacated in these instances, the appointment instrument must specifically state that the appointment terminates on the person ceasing to be employed in the public service or ceasing to be employed with the specific department or agency relevant to the Government Board position.

    However, it is acknowledged this may not always be suitable and that a number of existing appointments of departmental representatives to Government Boards are not specifically linked to their tenure. In these instances an individual would be required to formally resign from the Government Board if ceasing to be employed by the public service or with the department or agency relevant to the Government Board position.

    The Queensland Cabinet Handbook, available on the Department of the Premier and Cabinet website, provides information regarding the preparation of significant appointment submissions.

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    Last updated:
    18 May, 2016
    Last reviewed:
    29 July, 2010