Commenting on the new appointees, Mr MacKay said: 'The appointments which I have announced today demonstrate that ministers are committed to improving diversity in the appointments system, not only amongst those who get appointed, but also amongst those who oversee the system. These appointees were nominated by the main parties represented in parliament and by the convener of the equal opportunities committee.
'Assessors play a crucial role in the appointments system, their task is to ensure that the processes by which appointments are made are fair, open and transparent. They are not accountable to ministers but can raise any concerns they may have directly with the commissioner for public appointments.
'I have ever confidence that these new appointees will uphold the highest standards of integrity which has been the hallmark of all those who have held these positions.'
The new independent assessors are:
Maire Whitehead - a Primary School Head Teacher from Glasgow
Anne MacLean - a Community Councillor and Chair of the Albyn Housing Association, Grantown-on-Spey
Maureen Watt - a former member of the McIntosh and Kerley Committees, Banchory
Marcia Campbell - General Manager, Standard Life,
Lesley Quirk - Business & Management Development
Selma Rahman - Director of Fife Racial Equality Council,
Irene Kitson - former EIS official, Edinburgh
Rev Eric Cramb - Head of the Industrial Mission of the Churches in Scotland, Dundee
1. Independent Advisers act as the 'guardians' of the seven principles set out by the Commissioner for public appointments in her code of practice. They must satisfy themselves that the Code is followed in every appointments round. These principles are:
Ministerial appointments - the ultimate responsibility for appointments is with ministers.
Merit - all appointments should be governed by the overriding principle of selection based on merit.
Independent scrutiny - no appointment will take place without first being scrutinised by an independent assessor.
Equal opportunities - departments should sustain programmes to promote and deliver equal opportunities principles.
Probity - board members of public bodies must be committed to the principles and values of public service.
Openness & Transparency - the principles of open Government must be applied to the appointments process.
Proportionality - the appointments procedures need to be subject to the principle of 'proportionality' i.e. they should be appropriate for the nature of the post and the size and weight of its responsibilities.
2. These new appointments do not conflict with the current review of public bodies in Scotland. These additional appointees will ensure the smooth runningof the current appointments system for the remainder of 2001 or until the introduction of any changes to the system following the review.
3. These new appointments bring the total number of Independent Assessors to 25. Independent assessors are not paid, however travel and subsistence expenses are reimbursed.