Taking other steps
5.1 If the gender representation objective is not achieved, in respect to a public board, section 6 of the Act requires appointing persons and public authorities to take any other steps that they consider appropriate with a view to achieving the objective by 31 December 2022. "Other steps" means steps taken in addition to those required to meet sections 3 and 4 of the Act and any steps taken to encourage applications by women.
5.2 This requirement is in place until 31 December 2022. After that date, it no longer applies.
5.3 Any other steps taken must be lawful under equality legislation. Some examples of other steps include positive action measures such as:
- Providing training or coaching to women candidates prior to interview.
- Providing networking opportunities for women candidates and existing women board members.
- Offering opportunities to women candidates to shadow existing board members or observe board proceedings.
5.4 The Act requires appointing persons and public authorities to take such other steps as they consider appropriate. If it is considered appropriate that no steps should be taken, the Act allows that. However, in order to meet the gender representation objective by 31 December 2022, appointing persons and public authorities will wish to do all that they can. Additional steps taken under section 6 of the Act could have a significant impact.
5.5 The Good Practice section of this guidance includes more suggestions for practical steps that can be taken by both appointing persons and public authorities.