§ Mr. Raynsford
The Government are committed to providing equality of opportunity to all members of our society. Ethnic minorities occupy some 3.6% of the appointments to the boards of public bodies many of which are based in London. Appointments to these bodies are made in accordance with the guidance issued by the Commissioner for Public Appointments. This emphasises appointments on merit using fair selection procedures. But it is equally clear that ethnic minorities are not applying for these posts in sufficient numbers. To redress this as part of a general awareness-raising exercise, the Government Office for London recently wrote out to all the Single Regeneration Budget funded partnerships 391W operating in London to invite them to put forward names to the Cabinet Office's Public Appointments Unit and to respond to individual departmental trawls as vacancies arise. The PAU Register currently carries some 5,500 names, of which around 6% are of ethnic minorities.
§ Angela Eagle
No central record is maintained of the age of current appointees to non-departmental bodies sponsored by my Department. I regret, therefore, that the information cannot be provided in the form requested.
The Government are committed to encouraging a wide range of candidates to apply for positions on the boards of public bodies, reflecting the diverse society in which we live. This includes encouraging more young people to put themselves forward as potential candidates for public appointments. All appointments are made on merit, and candidates must demonstrate that they have the necessary skills and experience to match the needs of the public body on which they wish to serve.