Committee supports draft equalities strategy for public appointments

29.02.2008

The draft equalities strategy of the Commissioner for Public Appointments in Scotland is endorsed today by the Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee.

This draft strategy proposes action in a number of key areas including the provision of a hub website providing information on all aspects of public appointments in Scotland and the establishment of a Centre of Expertise within the Scottish Government tasked with assisting in the recruitment and selection of board appointees.

The Committee report together with the Parliamentary debate held in early March will form the Parliament’s response to the Commissioner’s consultation on the draft strategy.

Committee Convener Keith Brown MSP said:

“Public bodies provide vital services to the public across all aspects of Scottish life.

“Our Committee recognises that the membership of boards of public bodies does not reflect the diversity of people within Scottish society. We believe that boards which are diverse in their skills, knowledge and background can have improved performance and better decision-making.

“This draft equalities strategy begins to tackle this issue through a communications campaign, detailed monitoring and an educational programme, all of which will encourage people from across civic Scotland to apply for appointment to boards.

“The Committee recognises that this strategy is not a quick fix but rather a meaningful first step towards ensuring that the boards of public bodies better represent the communities they serve”

Background to the draft Strategy

The Public Appointments and Public Bodies etc. (Scotland) Act 2003 requires that the Commissioner for Public Appointments in Scotland prepare and publish a strategy to ensure that Ministerial appointments to public bodies in Scotland should be made in a manner which encourages equal opportunities. and observe the legal requirement relating to equal opportunities as described in the Scotland Act.

The 2003 Act also requires that, in preparing this strategy, the Commissioner must consult both the Parliament and the Scottish Ministers. In line with this requirement the Commissioner for Public Appointments in Scotland lodged in Parliament on 21 November 2007 a consultation document, titled Diversity Delivers, incorporating a draft equalities strategy.

Consulting the Parliament

The procedure for consulting the Parliament is set out in rule 17.5 of Standing Orders. Under this rule the Parliamentary Bureau designates a lead committee to consider and report on the consultation to Parliament. Parliament then considers the consultation in light of the report.