Public appointments commissioner Dame Rennie Fritchie is to launch a 'public appointments week' to raise awareness of the roles of people such as NHS non-executives.

Research carried out for her office by opinion poll company MORI had found much confusion among the general public about the nature of public appointments, with many people associating them with 'sleaze, corruption and cronies, ' she said.

'Communities need to understand the frameworks that support them - they are invisible to most people at the moment.'

Dame Rennie hoped that members of the public, including schoolchildren, would be able to shadow non-executives for a day as part of the event, and that local radio and newspapers would interview or profile them. She was currently looking for people prepared to take part.

'People who had never thought about public appointments might realise they could do it, ' said Dame Rennie.

She revealed that she 'still got mutterings' from backbench MPs complaining that Labour was not allowed to appoint its favourites to NHS non-executive roles in the same way that the last government had done. She said she pointed out to them that, when in opposition, they had protested at such practices.