Public appointments play an important role in the delivery of public services in Wales. Their functions range from health and social care to the arts, culture and the national parks. They are part of the wider delivery landscape of Welsh public services which includes local and Welsh Government. Public bodies deliver the priorities of Ministers, through funding, promotion, delivery and scrutiny of services or by providing impartial, expert advice to Ministers, the public and those who deliver public services.
The Welsh Government believes that public bodies should have board members who reflect Welsh society – people from all walks of life – to help them understand people’s needs and make better decisions. Boards should, as far as possible, be representative of the communities they serve.
However, for many boards in Wales, this is not the case with many groups including women, BME and disabled people significantly under-represented. Although progress has been made in recent years in terms of achieving a more appropriate gender balance at Board level, there is still a need to encourage people from a more diverse range of backgrounds and life experiences to apply for and be successful in securing a public appointment.
The Welsh Government’s Programme for Government and strategic equality objectives contain key actions to further the commitment to ensuring that there is an increase the number of under-represented groups in public appointments in Wales. The Government is committed to increasing diversity and encouraging all under-represented groups to consider serving on a public sector board.
The Welsh Government and the NHS Centre for Equality and Human Rights have established a pilot programme of training, development and support to help increase diversity in public appointments.
The initial pilot will be available for up to 18 people from under-represented groups across Wales. Each participant will be assigned a mentor who will be a current, experienced NHS Board member who is committed to improving diversity. They will also be supported with a personal development plan and have access to training and development opportunities.