My honourable friend the Parliamentary Secretary in the Cabinet Office is pleased to announce that the 2006 version of the Public Bodies Directory has now been completed and copies are available in the Library for the reference of noble Lords. The directory provides informationon individual public bodies as at 31 March 2006.The directory is also accessible at: http://www.civilservice.gov.uk/other/agencies/public_bodies/index.asp This shows that at 31 March 2006 there was a reduction of 28 long-term public bodies since the same date in 2005.
The directory lists the public bodies sponsored by central Government, with contact details, information about their remit and about the membership of their boards. It also introduces a new category within the public bodies classifications—public broadcasting authorities. This recognises the unique governance arrangements pertaining to the BBC and S4C, which set them apart from other non-departmental bodies and public corporations.
The board membership figures are broken down between male and female members for individual bodies, and summaries are provided at departmental level for the proportions of board members who are women, have declared they have a disability or come from a minority ethnic background. There have been small increases in all categories. As at 31 March 2006, 35.5 per cent of appointments made were women (up 0.5 per cent on the position at 31 March 2005), 5.9 per cent were members of ethnic minority groups (up 0.4 per cent) and 5.1 per cent were to those declaring a disability (up 0.8 per cent).
A cross-Government summary of individual departments’ figures will be placed on the public appointments website at: www.publicappointments.gov.uk. This reinforces the Government’s commitment to continue to pursue their diversity objectives and to promote outreach activity and plans.
The directory also includes information about the Government’s task forces, ad hoc advisory groups and reviews, giving a more complete picture of the bodies and groups working to deliver the Government’s objectives.