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University college aims to get more women on public boards

By Ben Comber

: Dame Mary Archer, keynote speaker, with Lucy Frazer OC MP, and Penny Hubbard, Development Director of Newnham College
: Dame Mary Archer, keynote speaker, with Lucy Frazer OC MP, and Penny Hubbard, Development Director of Newnham College

Newnham College held the inaugural Women in Public Service event.

The full list of speakers

Sarah Brown, Lay Member, General Pharmaceutical Council

Professor Jacquie Burgess, Chair, Broads Authority

Sally Collier, Chief Regulator, Ofqual

Yvonne Craig, Public Governor, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust

Maria Desmond MBE, Chair, Kirkham Prison Independent Monitoring Board

Elisabeth Every, Local Councillor and Governor of Ely College

Perdita Fraser, Non-Executive Director, Big Lottery Fund

Vicky McDermott, Chief Executive, Papworth Trust

Nazo Moosa, Non-Executive Director, Arts Council

Sue Owen, Permanent Secretary, Department for Culture, Media and Sport

Caroline Waters OBE, Deputy Chair, Equality and Human Rights Commission

Professor Jackline Wahba, Member, Migration Advisory Committee

Jenny Watson, Chair, Electoral Commission

Over 100 people attended the event on Saturday which was led by Newnham College alumna Lucy Frazer QC MP, who matriculated in 1991. It aimed to inspire, encourage and inform women about how to secure careers in public service.

There are currently around 4,000 people serving on the boards of the UK's public bodies which span a great range of organisations and institutions across a number number of sectors.

The inaugural Women in Public Service event featured a keynote address by Dame Mary Archer, Chair of the National Science Museums Group, and 13 other highly experienced speakers from the public sector who briefly introduced their roles in a 'quick-fire' round.

Professor Dame Carol Black, Principal of Newnham College, was the Chairman of the Nuffield Trust for ten years and she is a Trustee of the National Portrait Gallery.

She introduced the event and said:"Public appointments provide an opportunity to provide leadership to a variety of sectors and each role has different challenges, but they all provide an important chance to play a part in shaping an institution. This inaugural event was organised to encourage more women to apply for roles in public service."

The audience also heard from speakers across a variety of sectors - from Jenny Watson, Chair of the Electoral Commission which oversaw the Referendum on the UK's membership of the European Union, to Sally Collier, the Chief Regulator at Ofqual.

Delegates, who had travelled from all over the UK to attend the event, then had the opportunity to talk to the speakers on a one-to-one basis to ask questions and gain an insight into the responsibilities of specific posts.

Representatives from the Public Appointments team at the Cabinet Office were on-hand to give an insight into the application process and to discuss current vacancies.

And a practical CV workshop run by Gatenby Sanderson, a specialist public appointment headhunter firm, was organised to offer advice on how to tailor applications to specific appointments.

Lucy Frazer, who was elected as an MP for South East Cambridgeshire last year, said:"The event was organised to give women the skills and confidence to take the next step in public service.

"The next step I am taking is to put together a group who will be able to forge ahead and give thought to what policies we can put in place to help more women find the right second careers for them, whether that is a public appointment or another role."

It is hoped that the oversubscribed event, which took place on Saturday, September 17 2016, and was organised in partnership with Newnham College, will be the first of many.


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