The Home Affairs Bureau has agreed to look into establishing an independent office to handle the appointment of officers to advisory and statutory bodies, including the Equal Opportunities Commission. In a meeting with two coalitions of non-government organisations (NGOs), Deputy Secretary for Home Affairs Stephen Fisher agreed to look into the British model of an independent office to advise on such appointments. Representatives of the Civil Human Rights Front and the Women's Coalition, which together comprise more than 50 groups, also urged the government not to appoint a new EOC chair without proposing the candidate to the Legislative Council and the NGO community. But Mr Fisher said the government would continue to use the old system of appointing the chair until a thorough re-examination could be carried out. Lam Wai-ha, of the Women's Coalition, said: 'We are not satisfied because we think the government does not need to wait to increase the level of transparency in the appointment system. 'We also questioned how you assess a candidate's commitment to equal opportunities. [Former EOC chairman] Michael Wong [Kin-chow] is a classic example of someone who sat on one committee but knew nothing about equal opportunities for women.' Mr Fisher agreed that any appointment of a chair made now should not be for the long term, but simply to allow time for a review. Referring to reports that EOC board member Patricia Chu Yeung Pak-yu was the front-runner for the post, Ms Lam said it was crucial the new chair be seen to be independent. Mrs Chu is a former deputy director of social welfare. The Home Affairs Bureau will conduct another round of consultations on the appointment system for advisory and statutory bodies, Mr Fisher said. Ms Lam said the groups would now seek a meeting with the EOC's commissioners. A public forum is planned for Thursday afternoon at the Polytechnic University.