States Committees don’t have to be made up purely of Deputies. All of the six principal committees (Health, Education etc), and some of the smaller ones, can appoint up to two members of the public with relevant expertise and experience as Non-States Members (NSMs).
After the general election in October 2020, committees put out media releases or ads encouraging people to apply to be NSMs. Women in Public Life promoted the vacancies in our newsletter, on our website and on social media to encourage women to put themselves forward.
Of the 10 Non-States Members appointed, two are women (Emily Litten (pictured) on Health and Social Care; Grace Ruddy on Scrutiny). This is double the number of female NSMs compared with the last States term (Gill Morris on Scrutiny), which is positive – but it’s still low.
To better understand the reasons behind the number of women appointed, and to improve the support we give to the committees and potential candidates in future recruitment programmes, we submitted an Access to Public Information Request asking how many applications from women and men each committee had received, how many had been shortlisted etc. We are grateful to the officers of those committees for their comprehensive responses to our request.
From the data given by the committees we conclude:
- The percentage of women applying and the percentage being appointed are similar to the 2020 general election. 27% of the NSM applications were from women and 20% of the appointees were women. In the general election 24% of the candidates were women and 21% of elected Deputies are women. Both cases indicate that the critical factor governing the number of women who are appointed/elected is how many women put themselves forward in the first place.
- In total the six committees received 101 applications. The average number of applications for each individual principal committee was 14. This is positive, showing a healthy level of interest considering it is a demanding role. Though of course, a larger candidate pool would lead to a greater choice of talent.
- The Scrutiny Management Committee advertised in the Press and the ad was posted on gov.gg social media, whereas the other five committees put out a media release which was also posted on gov.gg social media. Advertising had a significant impact – Scrutiny had 31 applications whereas the other committees averaged 14 each. Perhaps the principal committees could fund a joint ad next time?
- Although on average there was one application from a woman for every three from a man, there was significant variation between committees. The split for Economic Development was 1 woman; 13 men, whereas Employment and Social Security was 6 women: 8 men.
- Men and women who applied were equally likely to be shortlisted which is positive. However a man who made an initial enquiry was 50% more likely than a woman to go on to make an application. There was a particularly steep drop-off rate for Economic Development, where 10 women made enquiries but only one applied.
We intend to do further research, particularly with candidates to ask about their experiences of the recruitment process. We will then forward a brief report and recommendations to the recruiting committees.