State bodies operate within a policy framework which is established by government; they are wholly owned or substantially owned by the state, but are controlled by independent boards who are appointed by and responsible to Ministers and the Government. They are bodies, with powers and duties set by either statute or ministerial authority.
Boards of state bodies are appointed by Ministers and are accountable to Ministers for the implementation of policy. The board should have a formal schedule of matters specifically reserved to it for decision.
A key task of the board of a state body is to define the mission of the body, decide the strategic aims needed to carry out the mission, and develop the policies required to achieve those aims.
In practice there may be a tension between the freedom to act and the need for accountability to the State. Each state body comes under the control of a Minister and his/her department. The reporting arrangements must be such as to allow the Minister to account to Dáil Éireann with confidence about the performance of the state body in support of government strategy.