Gender Representation on Public Boards (Scotland) Act 2018: Regulation 2 report April 2023

First report on public boards’ progress towards the “gender representation objective” which is achieved when a board has 50% of its non-executive members who are women. The report includes information on the number of vacancies, appointments made and steps taken to encourage applications from women.

1. Introduction

This is the Scottish Ministers' report on their role as an Appointing Person, as set out in Regulation 2 of the Gender Representation on Public Boards (Scotland) Act 2018 (Reports) Regulations 2020 (henceforth referred to as "the 2020 Regulations"). In order to meet the requirements of the 2020 Regulations, data was requested from all of the boards subject to the Gender Representation on Public Boards (Scotland) Act 2018 (the 2018 Act) where Scottish Ministers are the appointing person.

However, as this is the first report covering 31 December 2022 - the date by which additional steps were to be taken by boards and appointing persons with a view to achieve the gender representation objective, data on all of the 145 boards subject to the 2018 Act has been included.

Scottish Ministers are the appointing person for 90 public body boards, where those boards are listed for the 2018 Act and where appointments to the board is regulated by the Ethical Standards Commissioner (ESC). There are 55 other boards where appointments are made by Scottish Ministers but where the ESC have no oversight of the appointment process.

In the following chapter, information is provided in relation to: progress towards achieving the gender representation objective; the number of vacancies advertised and appointments made; the steps taken to encourage applications from women; and other steps taken with a view to achieving the gender representation objective.

It should be noted that the COVID-19 pandemic began just two months before this new legislation on gender representation on public boards came into force, and that the pandemic continued throughout some of the period covered in this report. It may therefore be the case that public bodies which have not yet met the gender representation objective were hampered in their efforts by challenges posed by responding to the pandemic.

However, the pandemic highlighted the damaging effects of inequality in our society, making it more critical than ever for efforts to advance equality to be prioritised across the public sector. The Scottish Government has worked with public bodies to incorporate considerations on improving board diversity into their COVID-19 recovery plans. We know that high performing boards help drive effective public bodies and continuous improvement in public services. Diverse boards are more likely to be better able to understand their stakeholders and to benefit from fresh perspectives, new ideas, vigorous challenge and broad experience, all of which are needed as we recover from the pandemic and move forward.



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