Flowing out of wider debates regarding representative democracy, the diversity of political institutions has gained salience. Normatively, it is suggested that it is simply unfair for white, middle-aged males to dominate decision-making structures. Instead it has been argued that representative diversity can enhance the legitimacy of political institutions and processes, whilst improving the quality and inclusivity of policy-making. Although most of these arguments have been applied to elected institutions and their bureaucracies, they are also germane in the context of appointments to the boards of public bodies, as the work of these bodies and the decisions made by their board members impacts upon the everyday lives of citizens. Drawing upon original research conducted in the UK, this article argues that the capacity of political actors to make appointments to public boards offers an as yet unrealized democratic potential by offering more opportunities for social engagement and participation in public governance.