Agenda item




To update the Committee in in respect of equalities at the Council including new equalities data and the Gender Pay Gap.


IT WAS AGREED: That the Equalities Update provided be noted.


REASON FOR DECISION: To enable the Committee to consider the content of the Equalities Update.


Audio Recording – 34 minutes 48 seconds.


The Interim HR Services Manager presented the Information Note entitled Equalities Update and highlighted points including:


·                The annual update on equalities data was based on a snapshot of figures on 31 December 2020 and was presented in percentage form rather than raw figures to preserve confidentiality;

·                Not all employees provided NHDC with information relating to each protected characteristic;

·                The overall workforce profile had remained stable in successive years;

·                There had been a reduction in appointments of women which were now at their lowest in 3 years;

·                More staff were declaring disability status;

·                The increase in declarations of disability might be a result of ease of access on the iTrent reporting system;

·                There were no new appointments in 2020 of employees declaring a disability;

·                Ethnic minority appointments and leavers in the organisation were up;

·                There had been a decrease in appointments of members from LGBT+ groups, with only 2 recorded in 2020;

·                Employees aged 45-54 were the largest group within the workforce, making up a third of staff;

·                Changes in figures on marital status and religion were minimal;

·                The number of full time employees dropped to 63% in 2020, the lowest it had been in five years;

·                The proportion of the full time workforce that were women had fallen;

·                The number of employees on long-term sick leave had remained stable and 91% of all cases were among women;

·                The data relating to the gender pay gap was based on a snapshot taken in March which was published online ahead of the government deadline;

·                There had been improvements in the average differences in both mean and median gender pay gaps and the figures were at their lowest since the council first started publishing this data in 2017;

·                When using the mean figures there was still a gap of £7291 annually between men and women;

·                There was a significant difference in the proportion of women employed in the upper quartile of salary grades.


 The following Members asked questions and took part in the discussion:


·                Councillor Kate Aspinwall

·                Councillor Claire Strong

·                Councillor Martin Stears-Handscomb


In response to questions the Interim HR Services Manager advised:


·                There were 100 applicants for 3 Apprenticeship posts within the organisation which may have skewed the figures for applicants per age bracket;

·                There was a high demand for roles overall and more technical positions had been filled faster this year than previously, though some service areas still see a low number of applicants e.g legal;

·                The Inclusion Group had met on Monday with 14 participants in total and had a positive discussion on age, with a wide ranging and fruitful discussion which considered career progression, flatter council structure, lateral moves, secondments and mentoring, degrees, peer challenge feedback, the menopause, and pensions;

·                Feedback from the Inclusion Group would be shared with the Shaping Our Future group and the leadership team;

·                SCF had been asked to consider future discussion topics and share ideas between groups and committees;

·                It was important that the Inclusion Group was a safe space for employees to discuss sensitive issues;

·                The Community Engagement team was represented in the inclusion group and the Policy & Community Engagement Manager would link feedback from the Inclusion Group to wider corporate policy;

·                The increase in number of workers, particularly women, on part-time working arrangements was noteworthy and required further investigation;

·                Anything under 37 hours a week was considered part-time and numbers of casual contracts had increased overall;

·                It was not yet known whether the increase in part-time work was primarily due to new appointments or full-time staff reducing their hours.


In response to questions the Managing Director advised:


·                The narrowing gender pay gap was encouraging;

·                2020 had been an anomalous year in a number of ways including for recruitment and figures from this year would need to be compared with future years before they can be fully understood;

·                It was not the intention to be prescriptive about how the Inclusion Group did its work and attendees were free to shape discussions as they felt fit;

·                It could be put to the Inclusion Group to involve outside contributions but this would be up to them and could change the nature and profile of the group;

·                Anecdotally some staff had reduced their working hours to handle COVID-related pressures including caring responsibilities and home schooling, and this may account for part of the increase, particularly among women who bear a disproportionate responsibility for care roles in wider society.


The Service Director – Resources advised that the Shaping Our Future group had both an internal and an external role and could incorporate the themes and topics considered by the Inclusion Group in to its work.


N.B The Managing Director left the meeting at 11:01 on Council business.


IT WAS AGREED: That the Equalities Update provided be noted.


REASON FOR DECISION: To enable the Committee to consider the content of the Equalities Update.

Supporting documents: