The publication, A Guide to Public Bodies in Scotland, will:
* Explain the contribution they make to Scottish life
* Demonstrate their accountability to Scottish ministers
* Inform members of the public about public appointments and how they can apply to become board members
The handbook and an associated website aim to promote a clearer understanding of the role of Scottish public bodies and the framework of accountability within which they must operate.
Andy Kerr, the minister for finance and public services, said:
'The publication of this guide and the website represent a significant step forward in increasing understanding among members of the public of the role of public bodies and the important functions they carry out.
'The Executive is committed to ensuring that public bodies in Scotland are open and accountable for the work they do and the money they spend. By providing this information, which can be accessed easily and free of charge, the guide and website will contribute significantly to this process.
'Their introduction will also go some way to addressing the negative impression which is too often portrayed about the work and board membership of NDPBs. These bodies perform a vitally important role in the delivery of improvements in public services - this is at the heart of the Executive's priorities.
'These guides provide a wealth of information on why public bodies exist, the controls which are applied to their work and the way people are appointed to their boards. I hope that these guides will generate a better understanding and encourage people with an interest in appointments to apply for vacancies that arise.'
The production of the handbook and website meet a commitment, made during the 2001 Review of Public Bodies, to explain clearly to the public what is expected of public bodies and why they feature as a tier of government.
The Guide is accessible free of charge from libraries, the Executive, The Stationery Office or via the Executive website. The Public Bodies in Scotland website, which incorporates the Public Appointments website, provides more detailed information about Scottish Executive sponsored public bodies, their terms of reference, expenditure, contact details and board membership. The website also provides information on current board vacancies and offers on and off-line options for registering an interest in public appointments and completing nomination forms.