The Diversity Action Plan includes a commitment that by 2022, half of all public appointees should be female and 14% should be from ethnic minorities, bringing representation on public boards in line with the wider population.
The 10-point Diversity Action Plan sets out how the government will deliver these commitments by continuing with existing measures which are working well, and introducing new activities to support further progress. The new activities outlined in the plan include establishing a mentoring programme and developing an Inclusive Boards Charter which will set standards for inclusivity for chairs and their boards.
Considerable progress has already been made in increasing gender diversity among new public appointees. In 2016 to 17, the proportion of new public appointments going to women rose to 49% from 34% in 2013 to 14, and 96% of all shortlists in 2016 to 17 were made up of both male and female candidates.
The launch of the plan marks the first time that the government has published data on the status of diversity across all public appointments. Of the 5,500 public appointees currently in post, 43% are female and 10% are from ethnic minorities.
Minister for the Constitution, Chris Skidmore said:
I am heartened by the increase in women being appointed to public boards but there’s more we need to do across all aspects of diversity. Today we published a Diversity Action Plan which sets out how we will make public appointments even more open and accessible to all.
We need diverse ideas and perspectives at the helm of our public bodies, so it is vital that public appointees truly reflect the society they serve.
Peter Riddell CBE, Commissioner for Public Appointments said:
I welcome the ambitious targets set out in the Diversity Action Plan as an important sign of the government’s commitment to delivering greater diversity.
The activities outlined in the plan are key to encouraging more diverse fields of applicants to apply for positions on public boards. Success will require a sustained will on the part of Ministers, departments and public bodies.