SDLP Assembly Member John Dallat has welcomed the development that all public appointment vacancies across government are now advertised on NI Direct, the official website for government services. Mr Dallat was informed of the news by the Office of the First and Deputy First Minister in response to his question.
Mr Dallat said: “It is important to recall that the former Ombudsman for Public Appointments Mr John Keanie left his post a year early because of the tortoise speed at which his report on diversity and under-representation in public appointments, published in January 2014 was being implemented.
“Mr Keanie was seriously concerned that the 28 recommendations should have been implemented long ago when he complained about a lack of diversity in the membership of the boards of public organisations. According to his publication there is a gross over representation of older white men, even worse than such over-representation in similar organisations in Britain. There is also a gross under-representation in women and people with disabilities.
“In their response the First and Deputy First Minister have indicated that they anticipate an opportunity in the near future to increase diversity in public appointments. Let us hope that when people apply for positions on public bodies the process will be open and transparent, confidence can be built and the old adage that public appointments are ‘jobs for the boys’ is firmly relegated to the past.”