TASC Welcomes Reform of Appointments to State Boards

6th February 2015

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6 February 2015               

PRESS STATEMENT: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

TASC Welcomes Reform of Appointments to State Boards

As part of its work on democratic accountability, TASC has long advocated for a more independent process to replace the ad hoc and politicised appointment of people to serve on the boards of public bodies or state initiatives. TASC has published a number of reports highlighting best practice in corporate governance.

Reacting to the announcement of the reforms formally launched yesterday by Minister Howlin, TASC Director Paula Clancy said “The Government’s reforms are a long awaited and welcome move to a system of public appointments based on merit, diversity and transparency.”

TASC particularly welcomes the Government’s focus on widening access to people from “all walks of life” and the responsibility on the Public Appointments Service (PAS) to develop and implement measures to increase the pool of potential candidates for membership of state boards.

The new guidelines are also an opportunity to make further progress to achieving the long-standing policy of successive governments to have at least 40 per cent of board members of each gender. However, active steps will be needed to ensure more women are appointed. Likewise, it will be important to reach out to those who have recently migrated to Ireland, who now make up 12 per cent of the population, as well as to the many people who experience disability, as membership of state boards is to be encouraged as another form of active citizenship.

The outcomes of the new guidelines will be shown over time and TASC welcomes the reporting requirements which will make membership of state boards much more transparent. PAS is to publish details of the membership of all boards, including the qualifications of those who serve on them.

Term limits and a guideline that no one should be a member of more than two boards are also important safeguards in the new rules, which should help to avoid a public perception — or a reality — of a ‘golden circle’ of insiders.

It is important to note that, as the new guidelines are not underpinned by legislation, a change in culture is required to raise the currently low level of public trust in public life and state activities. The new guidelines rely on the integrity of Ministers to not seek to bend the new rules, and TASC will continue to monitor developments in this area.

ENDS

Notes to Editors below

TASC is an independent progressive think-tank. Our vision is of a flourishing society based on economic equality and democratic accountability.

TASC’s paper ‘Public Appointments: Options for Reform’ is available here: http://www.tasc.ie/publications/list/tascpublicappointments/

TASC’s detailed report on board membership, Mapping the Golden Circle, is available here: http://www.tasc.ie/publications/mapping-the-golden-circle/

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Brendan Howlin, yesterday launched the new website www.stateboards.ie and the Government’s agreed ‘Guidelines on Appointments to State Boards’: http://www.publicjobs.ie/publicjobs/publication/document/Guidelines_on_Appointments_to_State_Boards_Jan2015.pdf

 

For more information, or to arrange interviews or briefings please contact Nat O’Connor on             01 6169050, 085 8269093 or noconnor@tasc.ie

Website: www.tasc.ie

 

Media enquiries should be directed to:

Shana Cohen
Email: scohen@tasc.ie
Tel: +353 1 6169050

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