New Diversity Targets for Public Appointments

Chris Skidmore talking to a group

The UK government has revealed new diversity targets to improve the representation of ethnic minorities and women within public appointments.

In a bid to improve the representation of minority groups, the UK government has created new diversity targets. These will particularly affect public appointments.

The Cabinet Office unveiled the news on 15th December 2017.

This first-time move means they aim to have a certain percentage of individuals who are publicly appointed as women or from an ethnic background.

In precise terms, the Cabinet Office plans to ensure half of all 5,500 existing appointees to be women. In addition, they want 14% to hail from ethnic minorities.

This differs greatly to their previous goals in 2013, where the government planned for 50% of new appointees to be female.

These diversity targets will not only affect public bodies but also larger institutions such as the British Museum. However, progress is already being made in this area.

During the year 2016/17, the percentage of women selected for public roles have increased from 34% up to 49%. In addition, 96% of shortlists were made up of both men and women.

Many from BAME backgrounds will welcome these goals. As many industries still struggle to represent these groups, this announcement should help in improving diversity. Especially as it’s a move made by the Cabinet Office.

In addition, the government released a new 10-point diversity action plan, which shows how they will achieve their targets.

These include creating mentoring programmes, which will support individuals, and a new charter dedicated to improving inclusion within chairs and their boards.

Minister of this plan Chris Skidmore said:

“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.”

Many board members have praised the new targets, hoping it will make a positive change.

Natalie Campbell, a 34-year-old woman from a BAME background, is a member of the Big Lottery Fund board. She told The Guardian:

“Around the table it is a rarity, but every year I’m seeing more and more women coming through. I’m seeing more and more women of colour coming through, and more women from different socio-economic backgrounds, and that’s equally important.”

With this plan and targets, one would suggest it’s refreshing to see the Government taking more action in diversity. In time, perhaps we will see better inclusion for minority groups. As well as allowing them a platform to have key roles within public bodies.

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