To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what progress has been made by his Department towards the aim in the White Paper, "Your Region, Your Choice", of encouraging applicants to public bodies from all parts of England; and what change there has been in the geographical diversity of appointees to NDPBs and other public bodies sponsored by his Department since the publication of the White Paper. 
The Department sponsors 13 non-departmental public bodies (NDPBs) all of which have a national remit. Public appointment vacancies are advertised widely in the national and ethnic press, specialist publications, and various websites including the new public appointments website launched last month. The Department was also involved in the regional seminars for women, organised by the Women and Equality Unit and held during 2002, which were aimed at increasing awareness of public appointments.All public appointments are made on merit in line with the Commissioner for Public Appointments Code of Practice. For this Department, between 14 May 2002 and 31 March 2003, 19 new appointments were made to NDPBs. Those appointed live in all of the Government Regions of England except the North-East and the West Midlands, as well as in Scotland and Wales.