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Number 10 seeks 50% female representation on new CITB board

Half of the CITB’s new board of trustees are expected to be women, following an “edict from Number 10” on public sector board diversity, according to the skills body’s chief executive.

Adrian Belton told Construction News that government wanted half of appointments to all new public sector boards to be women.

The CITB is reducing its board of trustees from 21 members to just eight. James Wates will remain as chairman until 2015, with seven new trustees to be appointed by business secretary Vince Cable from recommendations made by a public appointments panel.

Mr Belton said: “Number 10 is being quite insistent that if any new public boards are constituted or formed, they expect to see diversity.”

He added that the best teams he had worked in had “healthy diversity” and that the new move could lead the industry to appoint more women into leadership positions.

The proportion of women on the CITB’s board will increase from less than 5 per cent to 50 per cent. The CITB’s former deputy chairman Judy Lowe was the only woman on the 21-member board until her departure in September.

Ms Lowe told Construction News it was “tempting when there are so few women involved in construction to say go for quotas” to ensure women are in leadership positions, but that she favoured 50/50 shortlists so that “women can say they got there absolutely on merit”.

A Department for Business, Innovation and Skills spokesman said there was a “cross-government aspiration” that 50 per cent of non-executive appointments to boards of public bodies are women, but they are made on merit and follow an open process regulated by the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments.

The appointments panel has made recommendations for the seven new trustees, who are expected to be appointed in mid-December.

The CITB announced on Tuesday that customer services director Mike Bialyj, who sits on the executive team, would leave following 17 years to “pursue other opportunities”. Mr Bialyj was responsible for the delivery of CITB apprenticeships across England, Scotland and Wales.

Construction News understands he has made the decision to step down and has yet to accept a new role.

Readers' comments (1)

  • Robert Hudson

    Whatever happened to the best person gets the job social engineering is not the answer

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

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