An event at Newnham designed to attract more women into public roles was attended by over 100 people on Saturday.
Lucy Frazer QC MP (NC 1991) spearheaded the free event to inspire, encourage and inform women about how to secure careers in public service.
A public appointment is typically to the board of a public body, as Chair or non executive director.
Public bodies play an important role in public life. 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.
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.
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.”
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
Representatives from the Cabinet Office Public Appointments Team
What is a public appointment?
A public appointment is typically to the board of a public body, as Chair or Non Executive Director.
Public bodies play an important role in public life. There are currently around 4,000 people serving on the boards of our public bodies which span a great range of organisations and institutions across a number number of sectors. These include healthcare, defence, the criminal justice system and cultural institutions.
Public appointments vary both in time commitment and remuneration, and are normally for a period of between three and five years. Appointees are required to provide leadership, strategic direction, independent scrutiny and, in some cases, specialist expertise in important areas of public life.
For more information visit the Cabinet Office’s Public Appointments Website
Dame Mary Archer, Chair of the Science Museum Group, giving her keynote speech.
She started her career as a physical chemist and taught Chemistry at Cambridge as a Fellow of Newnham. She was Chair of Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust from 2002-2012.
The packed audience listening intently to the high profile speakers.
Professor Dame Carol Black, Principal of Newnham College, in the foreground with Lucy Frazer QC MP (NC 1991) who spearheaded the event.
Sally Collier, Chief Regulator, Ofqual, telling the packed audience about her role and how she spent more than 20 years working in the Civil Service before she was appointed.
She held roles such as CEO at the Crown Commercial Service, Managing Director of the Government Procurement Service and Director of Procurement Policy and Capability at the Cabinet Office, giving her a wide experience of working within public bodies.
Sue Owen (NC 1973), Permanent Secretary, Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), talking about her career.
At DCMS Sue oversees Trustee and Board appointments to more than 40 public bodies ranging from national museums and galleries, sport, arts and heritage funding bodies, to regulators such as Ofcom, the Charity and Gambling Commissions and the BBC Board.
She is an alumna of Newnham College.
Yvonne Craig (NC 1955), Public Governor at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, talking about the responsibilities of her publicly elected role.
She has been a campaigner for many years and has championed everything from free contraceptive advice to the elimination of unsafe toys and playground equipment. She was a city and county councillor and spent 18 years as a magistrate.
She is an alumna of Newnham College.
Maria Desmond MBE, Chair, Kirkham Prison Independent Monitoring Board, talking about how she started her Civil Service career 35 years ago at Swindon Social Security Office.
She answered an ad in a local paper for ‘prison visitors’ and she was appointed to the then Board of Visitors and her roles progressed from there.
Perdita Fraser, Non-Executive Director, Big Lottery Fund talking about her role and career.
She told the audience about her job as a former investment banker with JP Morgan and how she acts as a mentor with Business Mentoring Scotland.
Perdita was named as one of the ‘100 Women to Watch’ on the female FTSE Board Report 2015 compiled by Cranfield University.
Professor Jackline Wahba, Member, Migration Advisory Committee, who is a also Professor of Economics at the University of Southampton.
Jackline is an economist with substantial experience in international migration and labour markets and has published in several leading Economics journals.
She leads the migration strand within the Centre for Population Change (CPC) at Southampton, and also has acted as an advisor to several international organisations.
Caroline Waters OBE, Deputy Chair, Equality and Human Rights Commission.
Caroline spoke about her journey into a public appointment role and how it was inspired by a sense of wanting to do something meaningful with the skills and experience she had gathered over 30 years spent working in industry.
Caroline’s appointment as the Deputy Chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission has given her the opportunity to put her skills to good effect in tackling areas where people’s lives are still limited by a lack of respect for their human rights or unfair discrimination.
Professor Jacquie Burgess, Chair of the Broads Authority.
In 2006, Jacquie took on the role of Head of the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of East Anglia where she is an Emeritus Professor.
She has worked with a wide-range of bodies and she talked about her appointment as Chair of the Broads Authority by the Secretary of State in 2012, elected Vice-Chair by the members in 2013 and Chair in 2015.
Jenny Watson, Chair of Electoral Commission, addresses the audience and discussed the role of the Electoral Commission in the Referendum.
She has been Chair of the Electoral Commission since January 2009, having been reappointed by Parliament in 2012. She is currently Vice Chair of both the Money Advice Trust and of the Citizens UK Inquiry into Islam and participation in public life.
Sarah Brown (NC 1962), Lay Member, General Pharmaceutical Council talked about how she spent the first part of her career as a Civil Servant in the Department of Trade and Industry.
Since she took early retirement, she has had a varied portfolio of roles in the public, regulatory and charity sectors.
Her public sector roles have included membership of the Civil Service Selection Board and the Civil Service Appeals Board, Vice Chair of a Primary Care Trust, non-executive director of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme and Member of the Competition Commission.
She is an alumna of Newnham College.
Nazo Moosa, Non Executive Director, Arts Council, talking about her position.
She spent 25 years working with technology and innovation companies, and the last 15 years have been spent investing in high potential companies. She has helped to launch three investment funds in the US and the UK.
The Arts Council England is a grant making body which contributes more than £500 million per year to England’s vibrant arts and culture sector.
Vicky McDermott, Chief Executive at the Papworth Trust, spoke to the delegates about how she became not only the first female CEO of the Papworth Trust, but the first disabled person and the youngest to take up the post.
She previously worked for the NHS Business Services Authority, along with a number of other public and private posts.
Elisabeth Every, Local Councillor and Governor of Ely College, speaking to the audience about her career in business administration.
Lis also had a career in education and worked as a Deputy Head of a secondary school and chaired the Learning and Skills Sector of the Cambridge and Peterborough Chamber of Commerce.
She took up local politics four years ago and was Mayor of the City of Ely Council for two years.
Delegates got the chance to meet each other during the informal part of the inaugural Women in Public Service event
Perdita Fraser talking to one of the delegates during the networking section of the event.
Sue Owen, Permanent Secretary, Department for Culture Media and Sport, at the informal networking element of the event.
Delegates got the chance to meet each other during the informal part of the inaugural Women in Public Service event.
Dame Mary Archer, Lucy Frazer MP and Penny Hubbard, Development Director of Newnham College