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Regions White Paper

Volume 412: debated on Friday 11 April 2003

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To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what progress has been made by the Cabinet Office towards the aim in the White Paper, "Your Region, Your Choice", of encouraging applicants to public bodies from all parts of England; what change there has been in the geographical diversity of appointees to NDPBs and other public bodies sponsored by the Cabinet Office since the publication of the White Paper; what the outcome was of the regional seminars organised by the Cabinet Office for women interested in serving on a public body; who the attendees were; and how many attendees have begun to serve on public bodies since attending one of these seminars. [108562]

The Government are keen to promote greater national diversity on the boards of public bodies. Departments are advertising their public appointments vacancies on a new website ( launched by my Department on 27 March 2003. The website currently has details of over 100 opportunities, arising at local and regional levels throughout the country, as well as those with a national remit. Departments also publicise vacancies in the media and on their own departmental websites.All public appointments are made on merit. For my own Department, between 14 May 2002 and 31 March 2003, five new appointments were made to NDPB's. Those appointed live in either London or the South-East region.The regional seminars for women held during 2002 to help increase awareness of public appointments were organised by the Women and Equality Unit, which is now in the Department of Trade and Industry. The seminars were aimed at encouraging more women from the regions, minority ethnic women and disabled women who are already participating in public life to apply for regional and national public appointments. There were eight regional seminars which 848 women attended. In addition, five national seminars took place, targeted at specialist female audiences. In total, 1,328 women, from diverse backgrounds, attended the 13 seminars. As a result of the seminars, 91 per cent. of those attending said that they would be more likely to apply for an appointment after attending the seminars.