Memorandum by Ivy Cameron (PAP 64)
I fully support the reforms intended to create
fairness and consistency in public appointments and I look forward
to exploring the barriers and opportunities with the Select Committee
on 12 December.
However, as in corporate life generally I fear
that the new transparent procedures act as a cloak for the old
systems in practice, eg:
(a) some appointments are openly advertised
(albeit in a restricted context) whilst others continue to be
a "tap on the shoulder";
(b) I suspect that for reasons of "respectability"
one or two outsiders are shortlisted, but that recruitment panels
continue to clone the "usual suspects";
(c) the theoretical end of "buggins
turn" has ironically resulted in some competent radical ex-politicians
and trade union leaders being excluded from consideration. I suspect
because they are judged not to be a safe pair of hands, ie too
(d) a small group of "acceptable"
minorities are regularly recycled.
I believe there to be equal pay implications,
ie that "mature" white males monopolise the senior well
paid appointments whilst women and ethnic minorities generally
sit on the low or unpaid bodies, health authorities, boards of
Whilst independent assessors are trained to
be aware of stereotyping and ensure objectivity in the process,
other key players are assumed to be inherently objective. I refer
specifically to politicians, consultants/head-hunters/senior civil
servants. I would suggest from my experience of trade unions and
corporate life that this assumption needs to be fundamentally
Whilst there is a preponderance of retired and
executive level management on public appointments ordinary working
people are generally excluded because their employers will not
give them paid leave of absence. So, whilst active women and ethnic
minority trade unionists and community workers have the required
expertise and democratic accountability they are excluded from
making an important contribution because they cannot afford to.