§ Mrs. Roche
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what steps she proposes to take to improve the participation of representatives of small businesses in committees of inquiry, advisory bodies and non-departmental public bodies for which she is responsible.
§ Mr. Paice
In making appointments to executive non-departmental public bodies the Department conforms with the code and guidance issued by the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments. Central to the code is the overriding principle of selection based on merit. Where appropriate, ENDPB posts are advertised in the national press and/or details circulated to representational bodies. It is, of course, possible for an individual to nominate anyone for appointment to a post, including themselves. Advisory bodies are exempt from the OCPA code but are encouraged to comply with it when making appointments.
The membership of the Department's only committee of inquiry, the committee of inquiry into higher education, was finalised only after wide consultation, including employers' representative bodies.