Information

Board Chairs of the Future - mentoring scheme: end of scheme report

Evaluation report for a mentoring project to develop a pipeline Board Chairs of the future for public bodies in Scotland from groups currently under-represented at Board Chair level. This covers the iteration of this project which ran from August 2019 to November 2020.


Annex C

Diversity discussion

As at November 2020, there are 85 Board Chairs. This is a small cohort. Every year, only a small number of Board Chair roles will be advertised, usually around 10 to 15. Each Board Chair role advertised typically attracts fewer applications than a board member role and fewer people will be invited to interview. These small numbers can mean that small increases and decreases in volume can appear as a dramatic impact on percentage changes: it can therefore be more representative to consider patterns and changes over a number of years rather than individual years. These small numbers also have an impact on the publication of data. In order to reduce the risk of disclosure of individuals' personal sensitive data, where the numbers are 5 or below in respect of targeted protected characteristics those numbers will be suppressed.

The number of Board Chairs also affects how this project utilises them as a resource in respect of other projects being run by the Public Appointments Team to address diversity issues. Experiences from the pilot project, this iteration and other work indicates that the intensity of projects like this has to be managed amongst the other heavy calls on Board Chairs. Administering the project also draws on fixed resources in the Public Appointments Team. Together this means that the resource costs of this scheme must be balanced against the resource costs of other work - we will therefore not have an iteration of the project in 2021 while we prioritise resources on tackling under-representation at member level of disabled people and black and minority ethnic people. The member level acts as a pipeline into Chair roles.

Women

Over the period of the pilot and this iteration of the project, the percentage of Chairs who are women has increased and has now reached nearly 40%. This is a success. Efforts should continue to achieve a close-to-population level of 50%: the recommendations include an action to try to achieve this.

The percentage of applications from women to be Chairs continues to be well below population level although when women do apply they are more likely on the basis of their applications to be invited to interview. Discussion in workshop sessions revealed that more information on working with Ministers and media training could deal with issues raised as concerns about being a Chair. To create an environment where more women feel encouraged to be ready to apply for Chair roles, and where there is not a specific 'future Chairs mentoring project', standalone sessions should be trialled on working with Ministers and on media training, with the explicit message when promoting them that training in these topics was raised by women as potentially helpful when considering themselves for Chair roles. Where at all possible, this training should be integrated with, or run jointly with, the training offered by the Public Bodies Unit and/or NHS Education for Scotland.

Disabled people

Over the period of the pilot and this iteration of the project, the percentage of Chairs who are disabled has been fairly consistent, between 10% and 12% which represents 8 to 10 people. The percentage of Chairs who are disabled is higher than the percentage of members who are disabled, although still short of the 2011 census estimate (note though that the way the 2011 census reported on disability is different from the way it is collected in the public appointments' diversity monitoring forms).

Our data over time indicates that applications from disabled people for Chair roles are less likely to result in an invitation to interview. This is a similar pattern to what happens at member level. We have specific work planned to try to address this disparity, including trialling different application and assessment methods, getting more people from under-represented groups onto selection panels, and a specific mentoring project for disabled people with Inclusion Scotland, a disabled people's organisation. Results from that work should be monitored over the proposed length of time for the actions, to assess the overall difference those actions make to disabled people's progress from application rate to interview rate to appointment rate; a number of years' data will be required. Given that there is a higher rate of representation at Chair level than member level, it is particularly important that we address issues at member level.

People from a black or minority ethnic background

We have suppressed data where the numbers are 5 or below in order to reduce the risk of releasing sensitive personal data. It is important to remember that this is in the context of the small cohort of 85 Chairs and the overall percentage rate of the Scottish population who are from a black or minority ethnic background according to the 2011 census data (4%).

Our data at members' level shows us that over time applications from people from a black or minority ethnic background are less likely to result in an invitation to interview. We have specific work planned to try to address this, including working with current appointees from a black or minority ethnic background, trialling different application and assessment methods, and getting more people from under-represented groups onto selection panels.

People whose sexuality is lesbian, gay, bisexual or other non-heterosexual (LGBO)

We have suppressed data where the numbers are 5 or below in order to reduce the risk of releasing sensitive personal data. It is important to remember that this is in the context of the small cohort of 85 Chairs and the overall percentage rate of the Scottish population whose sexuality is not heterosexual. Estimates vary: the Scottish Surveys Core Questions 2017 report gives a population level of 3% for people who identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual or other, but notes that there is likely to be under-reporting,[2] Stonewall estimates that 5-7% of the population in England and Wales are LGB,[3] and the Ethical Standards Commissioner uses a figure of 6% with a reference of "Estimated based on information from Stonewall Scotland website".

Our data at members' level shows us that the applications process is no particular barrier to people whose sexual orientation is LGBO and that success rate at the members' level is similar to the different population estimates - we therefore assume that this is also the case at the Chair level.

People aged under 50

The data shows us that people aged under 50 are less likely to be Chairs and it indicates that applications from people under 50 are less likely to result in an invitation to interview. This may be a function of many Chair roles requiring experience that is more likely to be associated with those who have had a longer career.

Work to tackle under-representation of people from a black or minority ethnic background may benefit the under 50 age group because overall the white majority population is older.

Contact

Email: robert.boyter@gov.scot

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