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‘Great deal more to do’ on public sector diversity despite improvements

The numbers of women and people from ethnic minority backgrounds being appointed to public bodies increased in the past year, but more progress is required, the Commissioner for Public Appointments has said.

In 2015-16, there were 2,240 appointments and reappointments made by ministers and other public bodies.

Of these, 45.4% of appointments and reappointments where gender is known were made to women, compared to 45.2% in 2014-15 and 34.7% in 2009-10.

Similarly, 8.4% of appointments were made to people from black and minority ethnic (BME) backgrounds, compared to 7.9% the previous year and 7.0% in 2009-10.

Peter Riddell, the Commissioner for Public Appointments, said that while he was “pleased” to see the figures, there was “clearly a great deal more to do to develop boards that are more representative of society as a whole”.

The figures also show that the total percentage of appointments to people declaring disabilities had decreased, from 4.6% in 2014-15 to 4.1%.

The percentage of appointments to candidates aged 56-65 was at 36.8%, also representing a decrease from 42.4% the previous year.

A recent report from the Civil Service Commission found that female candidates were disproportionately more likely to be selected to senior posts in the civil service following interview, but ethnic minority and disabled candidates were less likely to be appointed.

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