Janet Gaymer warns more applicants are needed for public body positions

More work needs to be done to widen the pool of applicants for posts on public bodies in England, the public appointments commissioner Janet Gaymer has warned.

Her office’s annual report for 2006-07 contains a range of statistics and information about appointments and re-appointments to bodies within the commissioner’s remit.

These include ministerial appointments to the boards of executive and advisory non-departmental public bodies, NHS bodies, public corporations, nationalised industries, and utility regulators.

The report shows:

  • the percentage of appointees and re-appointees who declared a disability has increased to 6.1%, up from 4.4% the previous year.

  • 9.2% were from an ethnic minority background – an increase from 8.6% in 2005-6.

  • the proportion of women appointed and re-appointed fell from 36.6% in 2005-06 to 36.2% in 2006-07.

  • there has been an increase in those declaring political activity from 13.3% last year to 15.8% in 2006-07.

Gaymer said she was “disappointed” there had been a further fall in the number of women appointed to the boards of public bodies.

“I am also very conscious that the majority of those appointed to the boards of our public bodies are aged 46 and above,” she said.

“It is clear that more needs to be done to ensure that the boards of these bodies, which govern so much of our daily lives, better reflect the population they serve.”

The results of working group established by the commissioner to consider the issue of age in relation to public appointments are due to be made public next month.

Gaymer said it would form a key plank of a new diversity strategy she would be introducing.

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