Select Committee on Public Administration Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum by the Zoos Forum (PAP 42)

GENERAL

  1.  The Zoos Forum is an advisory body that advise Ministers and officials on zoo matters. Members are selected by appointment rather than election because of the need to secure people who can give specialist advice and ensure the body has the correct balance. Appointment system is more cost effective.

  2.  Problems could arise if people were elected owing to:

    —  time taken to progress the selection process—it would become unmanageable if around 30,000 posts had to be filled by election;

    —  likelihood is that very few people would exercise their vote;

    —  the amount of paper the public would have to plough through for 30,000 posts would be too burdensome;

    —  very few vote at local and European elections;

    —  no guarantees on the appropriateness of the candidates;

    —  who votes? It is difficult to maintain fairness and transparency unless "everyone" can vote. It will be harder to achieve fairness as clearly voting boundaries need to be defined.

  3.  A jury service equivalent would not seemingly work.

  How would people with the right expertise be guaranteed?

  How would the right balance of experts be secured? Also, people would probably find excuses for not turning up at the meetings, which would undermine the effectiveness of the body. No! Too bureaucratic to administer and should be a voluntary desire.

  4.  Probably all these to achieve a balance of views in every public body.

  5.  This is sensible. Departments know what expertise they need, but officials need good guidance in procedures for appointments.

  Having been through it, it seemed fair to me!

  6.  No comments.

POLITICAL INFLUENCE ON APPOINTMENTS

  7.  No comment.

  8.  Not sure that they need to play any role. They are not likely to know much about many of the proposed candidates.

  None! It must not be viewed as influenced because people will not always come forward if it is.

  9.  Question 10 suggests so!

  10.  No. Perceived interference will demean the system.

  11.  None. It would take up too much time for them and would be another hoop to jump through.

  Must ensure rules keep it fair, open and transparent.

  12.  No. Expense does not appear to be needed.

DIVERSITY IN PUBLIC APPOINTMENTS

  13.  Central records should give a steer on this. The Zoos Forum has a good balance of women and men, which is quite a narrow field, so it can be achieved. Members appointed to the Zoos Forum include vets; zoo operators from large and small collections; zoo specialists; representatives from local authorities, animal welfare and zoo sceptics; and zoo professionals in the fields of conservation, education, research.

  14.   Diversity can be secured without compromising the principle of appointment on merit by targeting organisations representing the interests of women, ethnics, disabled etc so we get candidates from them.

  Selection process must demonstrate that person fulfils "job" criteria.

  15.  Don't believe remuneration would increase diversity.

  In some situations it may enable more people to participate if they are not financially penalised by taking part. Costs however will increase!

PUBLIC UNDERSTANDING

  16.  The public probably do not understand the process of appointments. They probably do not consider it fair or transparent because the media suggest "cronyism" is rife in the appointments process.

  I found so, yes, but doubt whether the general public know how the system works.

  17.  Advertising should be in journals read by people with the skills or expertise sought. Also, organisations representing minority groups should be targeted as a matter of course.

  18.  To ensure appointments are made in an independent and transparent way.

OTHER ISSUES

  19.  Yes.

  Yes, all public appointments must be seen to be fair, open and transparent to ensure public support.

  20.  No views.

  21.  No comments.

  22.  What do they do?

  23.  Depends on the purpose of the appointment and its length but in principle, yes.

  24.  Don't know what they are.

  25.  Yes.

  Yes as question 19, all public appointments must be seen to be fair, open and transparent to ensure public support.


 
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