Owing to the lack of diversity in board membership, many boards in Wales do not reflect the communities they serve. Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic candidates and disabled candidates are currently underrepresented on boards in Wales. In 2018-19, while 6% of the Welsh population is from an ethnic minority background, only 3% of appointees were; and although 22% of the population in Wales is disabled, only 5.1% of appointees declared a disability (Commissioner for Public Appointments, 2019).
In early 2020 the Welsh Government released ‘Reflecting Wales in Running Wales’, its strategy for increasing diversity in public appointments in Wales. Around 100 appointments each year are made by or on behalf of Welsh Government ministers to the boards of over 54 public bodies. The vision behind the strategy is that the boards of these public bodies reflect the range of demographics and protected characteristics of people in Wales.
The challenges within the public appointments system reflect the inequalities and discrimination faced by minority groups in their daily lives. Increasing diversity in public appointments therefore requires systems and culture change to address these inequalities.
This report summarises the discussion at a roundtable event on providing better support for ‘near miss’ and potential candidates in underrepresented groups to apply for public appointments in Wales.