Public Appointments are failng on diversity

Despite a range of initiatives in the last decade, statistics published yesterday by the Commissioner for Public Appointments reveals that public bodies are failing on diversity in the workplace.

The report, delivered for the first time online, includes a range of statistics and information about appointments and re-appointments in 2007-08 to over 1,000 public bodies. The report shows:

* A further decrease in the percentage of female appointees to 32.6% from 36.2% in 2006-07;

* An increase in the number of female chairs appointed or reappointed to executive and advisory bodies from 21 in 2006-07 to 40 in 2007-08

* A decrease in the number of female chairs appointed or reappointed to NHS bodies from 126 in 2006-07 to 17 in 2007-08;

* A decrease in appointments of those from ethnic minority backgrounds (7.7%) compared with the previous two years(9.2% in 2006-07 and 8.6% in 2005-06);

* A decrease in appointments of those with disabilities (4.6%) compared with the previous year (6.1%);

* A decrease in the declaration of political activity across the major parties (10.4%), when compared with previous years (15.8% in 2006-07 and 13.3% in 2005-06);

Janet Gaymer, the independent Commissioner for Public Appointments expressed her disappointment in the statistics.  To address the problem she has widened her role upon approval by ministers to include pushing diversity in appointments process. She commented:-

“There is no disputing the fact that the overall statistics on diversity are disappointing. As Commissioner, I do not make these appointments and I know that there is a great deal of work underway. However, it is clear that we need to look very hard at what more can be done to bring a wider range of people into the public appointments process.

"With my extended remit, I intend to produce a Diversity and Talent strategy for public appointments I regulate. Among other things, this will provide practical and positive guidance for government departments in order to help encourage people of different backgrounds to step forward

"This is important; the boards of public bodies make important decisions on the public's behalf and need a wide range of talented people to contribute their experience and skills.”

The Commissioner also suggested the recent introduction of accreditation scheme for independent assessors would also provide much needed scrutiny to the appointment process.

The online annual report is available at


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Dizali Mentha



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