More women needed for public appointments

Group pictured at the Demystifying the Public Appointments Process workshop held in the Holywell Trust this week.

Group pictured at the Demystifying the Public Appointments Process workshop held in the Holywell Trust this week.

Women from across the North West have taken part in a workshop encouraging them to consider applying for a post on a public body.

The event, hosted by the Foyle Women’s Information Network is one of a number of workshops being held across Northern Ireland to give women the confidence to put their name forward.

FWIN Coordinator, Catherine Cooke, said: “I know there are plenty of women out there who have thought about applying for a public appointment but have been put off by the process or because they thought they couldn’t do it. We really want women to rethink the whole idea of public appointments and realise that they have the skills and abilities to apply.”

The workshop event started with an explanation of what a public appointment is - quiet simply it is the appointment to the board of a public body set up by the government to carry out a wide range of functions.

In Northern Ireland there are around 100 public bodies affecting all areas of life from the Ambulance Service, the Education Authority, Sports N.I. and the Consumer Council. There are around 1,400 public positions on boards in public bodies, 3-400 of which become available each year.

However these positions are traditionally for the most part occupied by men, and the move is now on to encourage more women to apply.

Many of the positions on boards require members to attend committee meetings, hold executives to account and abide by the principles of public life.

Some public appointments offer remuneration however the rates vary depending on the role and the board.

There are also varieties of time commitments from 3-4 days per month and two days per month for board members.

All posts are part time and it is possible to hold down employment while also holding a public appointment.

Appointments to public bodies usually take ten months and jobs are advertised on nidirect.com