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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-08116: Jackie Baillie (Dumbarton)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 15 March 2017

To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide an update on what action it is taking to improve female representation on public boards.

Answered by: Angela Constance 29 March 2017

The Scottish Government is committed to improving female representation on public boards. Later this year, we will introduce the Gender Representation on Public Boards (Scotland) Bill, a key commitment of our 2016-17 Programme for Government: A Plan for Scotland. The draft Bill sets a gender representation objective for non-executive members of public boards, requiring certain action to be taken in the appointing of non-executive members towards the achievement of the objective. A consultation on the draft Bill closed on 17 March 2017 and responses will be independently analysed to inform and support the development of the Bill.

The Bill builds on the positive progress that has already been made to improve the diversity of ministerial appointments through a transformational programme of improvement work led by the Scottish Government’s Public Appointments Team and the Commissioner for Ethical Standards in Public Life. Activities include: reaching out to potential candidates in new and creative ways; promoting succession planning by public bodies with a view to identifying and developing potential candidates; challenging the public perceptions of ‘typical’ public appointees; simplifying the application process and testing different interview styles; using alternative assessment methods to allow candidates to demonstrate their skills, and developing a new partnership approach with the Commissioner for Ethical Standards to enhance creativity and expertise.