Public Appointments

Oral Answers to Questions — Cabinet Office – in the House of Commons at 11:30 am on 11 February 2015.

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Photo of Barry Sheerman Barry Sheerman Labour, Huddersfield 11:30, 11 February 2015

What system is used for identifying potential candidates for public appointments.

Photo of Francis Maude Francis Maude The Paymaster General and Minister for the Cabinet Office

As was the case under the last Government, appointments to public bodies are made on merit by Ministers after a fair and open selection process regulated by the Commissioner for Public Appointments. We have taken unprecedented steps to open up the public appointments process to new talent, slimming down the application process, placing an emphasis on ability rather than prior experience, and increasing awareness. In the first six months of the current financial year, 44% of new public appointments made by Whitehall Departments were of women, compared with about a third under the last Government.

Photo of Barry Sheerman Barry Sheerman Labour, Huddersfield

The Minister knows that, following the fiasco of the Home Secretary’s attempt to appoint a chairman of the inquiry into child abuse allegations, there is a sense that there is a black book or a secret list, dominated by the metropolitan elite. They are all from London, they all know each other, and they all went to school together. When will the Government open up the secret list, and let us know how people get on it?

Photo of Francis Maude Francis Maude The Paymaster General and Minister for the Cabinet Office

As I have said, we have moved significantly towards our aim of ensuring that 50% of public appointments are of women. I recently hosted events organised in Birmingham and Leeds to encourage people from outside London to express interest and apply for such roles, and I am delighted to say that there was a huge amount of interest. We will continue down that path. [Interruption.]