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Play a part in public life in the Isle of Man

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Community spirited individuals who are interested in playing a part in Island life are being encouraged to consider a range of public service opportunities.

The Appointments Commission is currently seeking a Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson for the Employment Tribunal, along with new members of the Health Services Consultative Committee. Later in the year appointments will be made to two newly constituted bodies - the Legal Aid Committee and the Legal Aid Tribunal.

Positions advertised by the Appointments Commission, which is independent of Government, provide an opportunity to fulfil an important role in public life, as well as develop personal skills and knowledge. People from all backgrounds and walks of life are urged to apply in order to provide ideas and advice from different perspectives.

Mr Francis Masserick, Chairman of the Appointments Commission, said:

‘The contribution made by lay members who serve on these public bodies is greatly valued. They can provide a fresh outlook on important issues and use their ability, experience and commonsense to influence decisions that affect people’s lives. These appointments provide an opportunity to give something back to the local community, and can also be rewarding in terms of personal development and gaining hands-on experience of working in the public service.’

Tribunal members serve for a term of three years and are appointed on merit via an open and transparent recruitment process. As well as high profile organisations such as the Employment Tribunal, there are many others that perform a wide range of important functions, including the Education Council, Mental Health Tribunal, Work Permit Appeal Tribunal and Office of Fair Trading Financial Ombudsman Scheme.

Tribunals comprise a panel of members, chaired by an experienced lawyer. Demands vary according to the post, from attending a few meetings each year to more substantial duties, and appointees are required to give an ongoing commitment in terms of their time, interest and attention. Payment and expenses are paid for each session attended.

Members of the public who feel they possess the necessary attributes to take up a position are encouraged to seek further information via the Appointment Commission’s website. Individuals can apply for one of the current vacancies – or register their interest in any forthcoming opportunities.

The Commission meets monthly and has appointed a total of 445 people since it was first established under the 2006 Tribunals Act – appointing members to 17 different bodies in 2011-12 alone. It looks for a range of skills and experience in prospective lay members, such as the ability to weigh up conflicting opinions, and an understanding of the principles of public service and data protection. Each vacancy has a person specification and details relevant to the tribunal, but formal qualifications are rarely a prerequisite.

Mr Masserick said:

‘The Island needs dedicated and experienced individuals to ensure that our tribunals continue to serve the needs of the people of the Isle of Man. These appointments present an opportunity for people to make a real difference to community life in the Island and I would encourage as many people as possible to apply.’

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