Agenda item

Agenda item

Workplace Equalities and Action Plan

Cabinet, at its meeting on 15 December, will consider a report on the Workplace Equalities and Action Plan. The Committee is asked to consider the report and agree any recommendations thereon.

The Committee considered the previous year’s report on 01 December 2021 and made a number of  recommendations in relation to it; a reminder of the Cabinet’s response to them is attached.

Cllr Mike Rowley, Cabinet Member for Customer Focused Services and Helen Bishop, Head of Business Improvement, have been invited to attend for this item.  



Cllr Mike Rowley, Cabinet Member for Customer Focused Services introduced the report. Which reflected the Council’s ambition to be a welcoming  and  inclusive employer with a diverse, representative and high performing work force. The Workforce  Equality Report  attached to the report fulfilled a statutory requirement and contained some  positive indicators.  The target  for BAME employees had been exceeded  and the gender pay gap decreased. There had, nonetheless, been a stagnation in the number of BAME applications and there was more which could be done in this area, especially in relation to work with schools and further education establishments.

There had been good progress with the recommendations made by the Committee a year previously.

Helen  Bishop, Head of Business Improvement , noted that this area  of work was underpinned by the new People Strategy which emphasised the importance of a truly inclusive culture which would be integrated into all aspects of an employee’s work life.

The Committee raised a number of matters  which were responded  to by Cllr Rowley and the Head of Business Improvement.

There would be merit in seeing the equivalent HR data for the Council’s companies. While such data could not be included in the formal annual equalities report, there was no reason why a parallel report could not be prepared by ODS in relation to them. It was understood that the relevant data were collected by the companies.

It would be helpful to include a brief reference to the fact that pay grades was always evaluated in accordance with an agreed scheme, on the basis of the responsibilities of a particular post. 

It was regrettable that a high proportion of managers chose not to declare their ethnicity (given the value of having comprehensive data about this indicator) and there would be merit in encouraging them to do so.

There was still a long way to go in relation to securing a workforce which was truly representative of the local community. There were perhaps occasions when the desire to fill a post swiftly had overridden the importance of doing all that was possible to improve the diversity of the workforce.

An account of what positive actions were being taken to address these matters would be helpful in the future.

In order to encourage employees to declare protected characteristics there would be value in making clear the use to which these data were put and the benefits of that.

The Committee resolved to recommend to Cabinet that the Council:

1.    Considers asking ODS for a report providing similar details of the diversity profile and the actions being taken to ensure the workforces of these companies are reflective of the community they serve;

2.    Publishes as an appendix to next year’s report the same statistics for the staff in its wholly-owned companies as it does for its own staff;

3.    In the next year’s report, provides details of the positive action schemes undertaken by the Council – those started, those completed and those planned, and their results (where relevant) – and that that information is shared with those minoritised groups the Council is targeting as being particularly unrepresented within the Council workforce;

4.    Makes a renewed and determined effort to persuade managers to share the details of their protected characteristics; and

5.    Continues to monitor the demographic profile of responses to adverts and short-listed candidates, and supports areas which are struggling to attract appropriately-qualified diverse candidates to do so.

6.    Amends its report to clarify that the gender pay gap is caused by differences in seniority and full time/part time working, rather than that there is unequal pay for equal work.



Supporting documents: