Public appointment: Independent Members reappointed to the Scottish Agricultural Wages Board

Public appointment: Independent Members reappointed to the Scottish Agricultural Wages Board

Farmer in field (pic by Hirurg  via canva)
Alan Robertson

The Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Land Reform and Islands today announced the reappointment of John Connelly, Malcolm Currie, Denise Penny and Sue Stahly as Independent Members of the Scottish Agricultural Wages Board.

The Board is an Executive Non-Departmental Public Body set up under the Agricultural Wages (Scotland) Act 1949.  Its purpose is to make statutory Orders fixing minimum wage rates, holiday entitlement and other terms and conditions of service for workers employed in agriculture in Scotland.  The Board’s Orders are legally enforceable and the Scottish Government Rural Directorate has a duty to investigate complaints about non-compliance.  It also carries out random test inspections on agricultural holdings to ensure compliance and pursues recovery of arrears on behalf of workers.

Independent Members

  • John Connelly is an Associate Director for Payroll Services, working within NHS Scotland, having held a number of Senior Management and HR roles as well as delivering a wide range of national programmes over the last 22 years. In addition, he has worked at a senior management level with a large multi-national manufacturing private sector leading on delivery of services within both Finance and HR functions, through developing effective relationships, clear leadership and delivery of strategic plans, working in partnership with trade unions and management.

  • Malcolm Currie founded his dispute resolution company, Strathesk Resolutions, after 11 years as a union negotiator. Engaging with employers in private, public and third sectors, he developed his expertise in negotiation, partnership, resolving disputes and tackling individual cases, skills grown from 15 years advising and influencing countryside managers over land-management and joint projects. A clear, respectful communicator Malcolm has helped engineering companies, research institutes, heritage bodies, charities and others establish and operate effective workforce consultation, working collaboratively to resolve individual and collective issues. He delivers training for the International Labour Organisation on Conciliation of Collective Labour Disputes, most recently in Albania, South Africa and Greece. He holds internationally recognised mediation accreditation from the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR), where he is an Associate Trainer specialising in Advanced Negotiation Skills, is on their Mediator Panel and delivers training as part of their Mediation Skills Training faculty. He sits on the Board of Scottish Mediation. Calm, level-headed, with common sense and strong listening skills, Malcolm advises, coaches and mentors- organisations and individuals to work smarter and more profitably together.

  • Denise Penny works as Principal Lecturer in Public Health and Health Promotion. Over her career Denise has worked in both operational and strategic Health Promotion and Public Health roles, including as a registered general nurse, smoking cessation advisor, Healthy Working Lives programme leader and Public Health Practitioner (Advanced). Having lived and worked in a remote and rural area, she has a thorough understanding of the issues affecting those working in the agricultural sector.

  • Sue Stahly is a senior HR professional with extensive experience at strategic level gained within the drinks and financial services sectors.  She has held a number of senior employee relation roles, leading on pay negotiations and mediation with recognised trade unions and employee consultative bodies, developing and implementing employment policy and consulting on terms and conditions of employment.  Sue is on the board of West Lothian College and is their Senior Independent Member and is a Lay Member of the Faculty of Advocates Complaints Committee and Disciplinary Tribunal.  Sue has an advanced employment law qualification and is a Fellow of the Institute of Personnel and Development.


The reappointments for John Connelly and Denise Penny will be for two years and will run from 1 April 2024 until 31 March 2026. The reappointments for Malcolm Currie and Sue Stahly will be for three years and will run from 1 May 2024 to 30 April 2027.

The reappointments are regulated by the Ethical Standards Commissioner.


The reappointments are part-time and attract a remuneration up to £180 for a full day, with a time commitment of up to 16 days per annum.

Other ministerial appointments

John Connelly, Malcolm Currie, Denise Penny and Sue Stahly do not hold any other public appointments.

Political activity

All appointments are made on merit and political activity plays no part in the selection process.  However, in accordance with the original Nolan recommendations, there is a requirement for appointees’ political activity within the last five years (if there is any to be declared) to be made public.  

John Connelly, Malcolm Currie, Denise Penny and Sue Stahly have had no political activity within the last five years.