Select Committee on Public Administration Minutes of Evidence

Letter from Barbara Roche MP (PAP 43)

  During last week's meeting of the Public Administration Select Committee I referred to several times to the innovative series of seminars organised by the Women and Equality Unit to encourage more women to apply for public appointments at the national level. I am writing to ask whether you or any other members of the Committee would be interested in coming along to one of these events as observers.

  Feedback from the seminars held already has been overwhelmingly positive. Over 90 per cent of women attending have stated they would be more likely to apply for a public appointment. Longitudinal research is complementing these seminars. The research report will be published in December.

  The seminars are being organised by the Women and Equality Unit, in association with the Public Appointments Unit, Women's National Commission and the Equal Opportunities Commission and are part of a broader campaign to increase diversity in public appointments.

  The aim of the seminars is to provide women with practical information about public appointments and to encourage them to apply. As our focus is regional and national level public appointments, our target audience is women who already have some practical experience which will equip them to take up these kind of appointments, such as women already holding local public appointments (eg school governors, magistrates, NHS Trusts) who are interested in making a step up and women who are engaged in public life in other ways, eg through local chambers of commerce or trade unions. We are also very keen to attract a diverse group of women, especially those who are currently under represented in local/regional and national appointments eg minority ethnic women.

  These seminars are intended to help get across the Government's determination to improve diversity in public appointments and to reinforce the efforts that many departments are already making to promote awareness among women and people from under-represented groups generally.

  I would be delighted if you or members of the committee could attend. Attached is the programme for the next seminar which will be held in Leeds on 15 May. The remaining seminars will be:

    Greenwhich—20 May.

    Tyneside—30 May.

    Kent—13 June.

  In addition we are also holding three targeted seminars, which you would also be very welcome to attend. The first is focused on human resource managers to encourage them to see the benefits for their organisations in encouraging employees to take up public appointments. This is being organised jointly with Opportunity Now and will be held in London on 25 June. We will also be running an event specifically for ethnic minority women on 26 July in Leicester. Later in the year, on 19 November, we will be organising an event for trade union women with the TUC.

  If you or any other members of the committee are interested in attending any of these events, please contact my official in the WEU, Helene Reardon Bond (020 7273 8832), to discuss arrangements.

  Barbara Roche

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