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Public boards seeking more diverse range of applicants

04 September 2015

Public bodies in Scotland are taking steps to attract new board members from as wide a range of applicants as possible.

Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) has joined forces with Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and diversity organisation Changing the Chemistry to run information sessions and workshops to encourage more applications from groups which are currently under-represented on many public boards.

The information sessions will take place on 7 September (Edinburgh), 14 September (Inverness) and 8 October (Glasgow). The Inverness event will also be webcast.

Titled ‘Public Sector Boards – Quality through Diversity’, all sessions are free, but must be booked in advance. Online registration is available at on the HIE website.

Both agencies will have vacancies on their boards next spring, and are planning to launch recruitment exercises shortly, in partnership with the Scottish Government.

HIE Chairman, Professor Lorne Crerar, said: “Public boards fulfil a number of important roles, including making decisions on major investments and overseeing the performance of their organisations.

“We’re keen to ensure that opportunities to apply for board membership are widely known, and that we attract interest from suitably qualified and motivated people from across our whole society.

“These events with Changing the Chemistry are one way of promoting upcoming opportunities to a more diverse range of people, including greater numbers of women, people with disabilities and those aged under 50 in particular.”

SNH Chairman Ian Ross said: “We recognise the very real benefits of a more diverse range of backgrounds and experience within a board and I would encourage people to consider both the skills they can bring and also the opportunities they can realise as future board members.

“There is strong evidence to show that a more diverse board can lead to a better performing board. It is vital we seek to promote interest and awareness in Board membership across the breadth of Scottish society and I would emphasise the commitment to promoting such a diversity of board membership from both SNH and HIE.”

Tanya Castell, Chair of Changing the Chemistry, said: “This is a great opportunity to find out more about the range of opportunities which exist to join boards, including HIE and SNH, and we hope that as many people as possible will come along or join us online.

“There’s a great deal of evidence to show that increasing board diversity improves the performance of organisations and thereby benefits the wider economy.

“Women in particular remain under-represented on boards across Scotland, which is why organisations like HIE and SNH have signed up to the Scottish Government’s ’50:50 by 2020’ initiative, committing themselves to gender equality on their boards within five years.”

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