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Equality information about employees

West Lancashire Borough Council is an equal opportunities employer with a strong commitment to equality and human rights across all its activities.   
  
We are committed to ensuring that we are fair in our recruitment processes and that all our staff experience a positive working environment. We are also committed to monitoring this in a number of ways:

  • By comparing the make-up of our workforce with that of the area we serve on an annual basis
  • By analysing the experiences of our staff, by protected characteristic, across our HR functions
  • By ensuring that we have up to date policies that are clear about the rights and responsibilities that our staff have
  • By providing opportunities for our staff to tell us where our practices may need to improve, and supporting any staff who may be experiencing problems or difficulties

We have further developed our data gathering and analysis during the last 12 months, so that we can understand staff experiences and trends in greater depth.

Our approach remains proportionate – we have a workforce of 502 actual headcount as at 1 April 2017 (excluding casual workers and those who are seconded to BT Lancashire Services, of which there are 63). Some of these employee have multiple employments with the Council, so in this equality profiling information we have treated each separate employment, as separate individuals, even though in reality there may be one person with one or more jobs. This brings our total individual roles occupied to 520.

The size of our workforce means that we sometimes signpost staff to support that is available to them from other organisations rather than providing it ourselves.  It also means that we are not able to publish some of our analysis – the small numbers involved in grievances and disciplinary action, for example, may mean that a percentage analysis would be not be meaningful.

Make-up of our workforce 

The table below shows how our workforce is made up in terms of age and how this has changed in the last two years.

Age range

As at April 2015

As at April 2017

WL population estimate (2011 census data)

(Working age: 16.1% of the borough's population are outside the age ranges detailed below.)

16-19

0.39%

0

7.8%

20-29

4.51%

4.61%

15.5%

30-39

16.08%

12.5%

24.2%   (30-44)

40-49

34.12%

32.12%

26.7%   (45-59)

50-59

33.33%

40.19%

60+

11.57%

10.58%

9.7%   (60-64)

The age distribution of our workforce across each grade band, shown as a percentage distribution of people on that grade in each age group, is detailed in the table below:

Age Range

16-19

 

20-29

 

30-39

 

40-49

 

50-59

 

60+

 

 

Grade

% in grade band

% in grade band

% in grade band

% in grade band

% in grade band

% in grade band

Total %

 Scale 1a – 3

0

9.53

9.52

22.22

42.86

15.87

100

 Scale 4 – 6

0

5.17

9.23

33.21

42.80

9.59

100

 SO1 - PO1

0

0.87

25.22

33.91

29.57

10.43

100

 PO2 - PO4

0

2.08

6.25

41.67

37.50

12.50

100

 SM1 - SM3

0

0

0

27.27

63.64

9.09

100

WLd&e

0

0

0

40.00

60.00

0

100

WLa  - WLc (Chief Officers)

0

0

0

20.00

80.00

0

100

Whilst our workforce has stayed relatively stable in terms of age during the past two years, there has been a marked increase in the number of employees aged 50 to 59. Our workforce is generally older than that of our catchment area.

What does this age distribution mean for the Council? With a stable workforce, this profile is to be expected as the workforce ages over time. However, to encourage employment opportunities for younger people who live within the Borough, the Council encourage managers to consider recruiting to Apprentices wherever possible, by supporting managers to use apprenticeships within the Council’s workforce.  In addition to this, work has been undertaken to increase accessibility to work experience placements across the Council working in partnership with West Lancashire College and Edge Hill University together with Job Centre Plus, with a view to helping improve workability skills of young and unemployed people across the Borough. It is also to encourage them to consider the Council as an employer of choice.

 
We do not operate a default retirement age and it had been anticipated that that the 60+ age band would rise, given the age profile of the Council’s employees.  However, this has actually decreased slightly, reflecting a pattern of employees self-selecting a retirement age after 60. This brings our profile more in line, although still slightly higher than the local population for this working age group.

The statistics regarding pay grade broken down by age illustrates the challenges faced by the Council in respect of succession planning and talent management. It clearly demonstrates that the Council has a significant proportion of the higher graded Management workforce aged over 50 years of age. However, there are fewer younger people in lower grades to provide adequate internal promotion sources from within the existing workforce. The lower grades also show an older and aging workforce. There is a shortage of young people at all levels within the organisation. Consequently, when the older Managers leave, replacements are likely to need to come from outside the organisation, rather than be available through homegrown talent. This should help to redress the age imbalance over time, rebalancing the workforce profile by way of drawing in new talent.

There remains potential challenges for succession planning into management roles, given the age profile of the top grade bands, all having a greater number of 40 years plus incumbents

The staff turnover rate was 8.49% over the last 12 months compared to 5.53% for the previous period. Of the 2016/17 leavers, 6.91% left voluntarily for reasons such as voluntary resignation or voluntary retirement, and 1.58% for other reasons including ending of temporary contracts.  The latest survey information on local government turnover rates was published by the Local Government Association in March 2017. This indicated a median average turnover rate of 12.3% for Shire District Councils. With West Lancashire’s rate at 8.49%, the turnover is substantially below the national average. This indicates a relatively steady and stable workforce.

Of the leavers, 60.46% were aged over 50 years, and 44.18% were male, 90.69% declared themselves to be of White British ethnicity and 2.94% considered themselves to have a disability. This is comparable with the overall make up of ourworkforce.

In terms of gender balance 44.8% of the Council's employees are female compared to 52% of the general population.  We do not collect workforce profile data in respect of those employees who may have undergone gender reassignment.

What does the gender balance mean for the Council? We recognise that one of the most effective ways of recruiting and retaining good quality employees is to offer flexible ways of working, maximising the potential of the workforce and ensuring that no particular sectors are disadvantaged or discriminated against.  Our Family Friendly Policy provides a framework, which takes account of the statutory rights of all employees, to be able to request a flexible working pattern.  In addition, we have policies which incorporate our approach to adoption and paternity leave, maternity support leave, parental leave, time off for dependents, job sharing, career breaks, voluntary reduced hours, annualised and compressed hours, flexi time, homeworking and term time working arrangements.

92.88% of our workforce declares themselves to be White British compared to 97% of the Borough’s population, with 4.44% of the workforce who preferred not to disclose their ethnicity, and 2.68% confirming they were from other non-White British ethnicities. 42.31% of the Council’s workforce have declared themselves, in relation to Faith and Belief, to be  Christian, compared to 76% of the local population, 0.58%  as Muslim, 0.76% other faiths, 15.96% are of no faith and 40.39% preferred not to answer this question. This compares to 17% in the population claiming not to have any faith, the remaining 7% of the population have beliefs that include Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, Islam and Sikhism.

What do  these ethnicity and faith and belief factors mean for the Council? We introduced workforce profiling in 2011 and extended the range of personal information that we asked for in 2012. This was refreshed by a workforce update survey in 2014.  We take steps to explain the significance of the data we asked for, and the safeguards that are in place around confidentiality.  We have no evidence to suggest staff are reluctant to release information for any other reason than privacy. However, it seems people are more willing to release this information to the national census 2011, than in the work place. We have recently introduced an employee self-service module to our payroll and HR records. This provides individuals with an opportunity to update their personal information themselves on line. It is envisaged that this will improve the accuracy of our profiling data going forward. The workforce profile is broadly similar in both ethnicity and religion to the local population.

5.19% of the Council’s workforce consider themselves to be disabled – The Council does not collect information in respect of detailing different forms of disability. With 5.19 % of employees currently considering themselves to be disabled, 20.77% have not disclosed their status or have confirmed they prefer not to say. This compares to 5.1% who declared themselves to be disabled in the last review and 14% who preferred not to disclose whether or not they had a disability. In the 2011 census it was estimated that 15% of working age population considered themselves to be disabled or with limiting long-term illnesses. However, there will be a significant number of these people who will not be in a position to activity seek work. We do not have a population statistic that shows us the percentage of working age disabled people seeking employee or who are in employment. Comparisons about community representation in this regard are therefore difficult.

What does this mean for the Council? The level of disclosure in this area has decreased since the last workforce profile refresh. There is no information to enable us to determine the cause of this change, but this is an area we will monitor. 

1.34% of our staff population have stated that they are gay, lesbian or bisexual with 0.77% preferring not to disclose their sexual orientation and 38.08% with no sexuality recorded.

What does this level of disclosure mean for the Council? We continue to acknowledge that there is still a high level of non-disclosure on sexual orientation.  However, the level of disclosure in this area has increased since the last workforce profile refresh. This is encouraging as it indicates more confidence in the workforce feeling more at ease to disclose personal details. Again, we have no evidence that this suggests an underlying issue, but will monitor this protected characteristic carefully at the next data refresh and take specific steps to encourage staff to share this information with us, if necessary.

The 63 staff employed by West Lancashire Borough Council but seconded to Lancashire County Council (LCC)/British Telecom Lancashire Services Ltd.(BTLS) (on 1 January 2017) have the following profile, which is not as detailed as the wider West Lancashire Borough Council Workforce, due to differences in information gathering adopted by LCC and the need to anonymise smaller working groups for this type of statistical information.

The Gender balance is 69.84% female, to 30.16% male. There are no staff with any recorded disability and all staff are recorded as White British.

71.43% of the workforce is in the 40 to 65 year old age groups. In view of the small size of this staff group, it is not possible to make any real analytical commentary. The profile of this group will continue to be monitored annually.

The experiences of our staff

We are currently able to analyse pay and grade data by gender.  The table below compares mean average basic pay by gender for each of our pay grades as at April 2017.

April 2017

Grade

Male mean

Female mean

Scale 1a – 3

 

16150

 

8471

Scale 4 – 6

 

17856

 

21991

SO1 – PO1

 

28959

 

26157

PO2 – PO4

 

39438

 

36622

SM1 –  SM3

 

45951

 

49048

WLd – WLe

57698

0

Chief Officer

WLa to WLc

 

74945

 

83561

 

The median average annual basic pay for females is £20,138 and for males £20,138. This represents an equal median average basic salary with no gender pay gap at this level.

The gender make up with each grade of Part Time (PT) (less than 36 hpw) and Full Time (FT) working is illustrated below: 

 

Scale   1a – 3

Scale 4   – 6

SO1 –   PO1

PO2 –   PO4

SM1 –   SM3

WLd to   WLe

WLa   –WLc

Total

Male FT

26

131

50

20

7

5

2

241

Male PT

4

35

4

2

1

0

0

46

Male % PT

13.33

21.08

7.40

9.09

 12.5

0

0

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of 287 total Males

16.02% PT

Female FT

5

62

34

20

3

0

3

127

Female PT

31

42

27

6

0

0

0

106

Female % PT

86.11

40.38

44.26

23.07

0

0

0

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of 233 total Females

45.49% PT

Exploring the working patterns within each grade band, it reveals that of all female employees, 45.49% of females in the workforce work part time (less than 36 hpw) compared to only 16.02% of all males in the workforce who work part time. There are 152 people working part time of which 106 are female compared to 46 male.  

What does this mean for the Council? The average median basic salary across the whole workforce is equal for male and female staff. However, within individual grade bands there are variances between gender pay as illustrated above. The most marked differential in mean basic salary levels is in the grade band Scale1 (a) to Scale 3. Within this band, the female earnings are 52.45% lower than the males mean salary. However, within this grade band 86% of the female workforce is part time compared to only 13% of the male workforce. This has a direct effect on actual earnings levels. In terms of Equal Pay, the Council implemented a revision of terms and conditions as part of the NJC single status agreement 2009.  This looked at a number of terms and conditions including the length of the working week and pay structures.  An equal pay audit was undertaken in 2014.  The Council has adopted the GLPC main Job Evaluation Scheme across the organisation and the GLPC Senior Manager Scheme and Hay methodology for officers graded WLe and above. This provides a recognised evaluation process that ensures that all employees are treated fairly in respect of pay and grading.

Examining part-time working, it is clear that more than 6 times more female employees, compared to male, work less than 36 hpw in the lowest grade band, where the largest pay differential is seen. The only other grade band where female pay is less than male is in grade band SO1 to PO1. The PT ratio in this grade band is 44% female compared to 7% male. However, in all the other grade bands, female salary levels are greater than male, but with less of a dramatic differential.

The recent Gender Pay Gap reporting legislation requires employers with over 250 employees to publish statutory calculations every year showing how large the gender pay gap is between male and female employees. The calculation for this is prescribed by Government and will be reported separately in due course.

The Council will be undertaking an Equal Pay Audit during 2017 and the outcome of this will be reflected in the relevant equality profiling information for 2017/18.

During the last 12 months, 8 of our staff took a period of maternity leave. All 8 returned to work, 3 working on voluntary reduced hours, and 5 returning to their previous contracted hours with no reduction in working hours.

Training

The Council provided 152 corporate training places last year following the completion of the annual appraisal process. There were an additional 125 training places on the Leadership and Management Development Training in the 12 month period from 1 April 2016 to 31 March 2017.  106 people undertook the corporate training and 79 of the Council’s top three tiers of management took part in the Leadership and Management Development Programme in this 2016/17 year.

The corporate training equality information gathered is illustrated below:

Ethnicity: Of those employees, who attended the training, 88% had a White British ethnicity, 2% were White Irish, 3% were Asian or Asian British, 2% were mixed other or other and 5% chose not to declare their ethnicity.  

Religion or belief: Of the 106 employees trained, 52.83% were Christian, 1.89% were Muslim, 17.92% declared they had no religion and 1.89% had other religious beliefs not specified and 25.47% chose not to declare a belief.

Age: The age range of training provided was 2.83% of employees aged between 16 to 30, 50% of employees aged 30 to 49 and 47.17% aged over 50 years.

Gender: 49.06% male employees and 50.94% female employees received corporate training during the last 12 months.

Disability: 78.3% of employees with no disability and 2.83% of employees with a disability were trained last year, with 18.87% preferring not to declare if they had a disability or not.

Sexual orientation:  25% of employees trained last year preferred not to declare their sexual orientation, 74% of employees were heterosexual, and 1% declared they were gay or lesbian.

Part Time Working: 71.7% ofemployees work full time and 28.3% work less than 36 hours per week (Part Time)

The Leadership and Management Development Training equality information gathered is illustrated below:

Ethnicity: Of those employees who attended the training, 92.41% had a White British ethnicity and 2.53% preferred not to declare their ethnicity, whilst 5.06% had Non White British declared ethnicity.  

Religion or belief: 59.49% of the  employees trainedwere Christian, 16.46% declared they had no religion and 24.05% chose not to declare a belief.

Age: The age range of training provided was 1.27% of employees aged between 16 to 30,  53.16% of employees aged 30 to 49 and 45.57% aged over 50 years.

Gender: 53.16% were male employees and 46.84% were female employees who received training during the 12 months.

Disability:  Of those trained 78.48% were employees with no disability and 3.8% were employees with a disability. 17.72% of employees trained chose not to declare if they had a disability or not.

Sexual orientation: 21.52% of employees trained last year preferred not to declare their sexual orientation, 77.22% of employees were heterosexual and 1.27% of employee trained declared they were gay or lesbian. This totals 100.01%

Part Time Working: 87.34% of employees worked full time and 12.66% worked less than 36 hours per week (Part Time)

Disciplinary Cases

There have been 8 disciplinary cases during the year of which 5 resulted in the issuing of some form of sanction.  The numbers involved here are small and we are unable to draw conclusions in respect of trends. However, the Council has not identified any issues that relate to a specific protected characteristic or characteristics. 

Grievance cases

There have been no formal grievances raised with the Council in the last 12 months.

Career break

There are currently no employees either on an active career break or who have returned from a career break in the last 12 months.

Recruitment

Visit the recruitment page for further information.

Our employment policies

We are committed to reviewing our employment policies on a regular basis as part of our Equality Action Plan. The Equality Impact Assessment for each policy will also be refreshed during this process.

During 2016 we delivered refresher training to senior managers and elected members on the requirements of the Equality Act 2010 and on our Public Sector Equality Duty.  Briefings were then cascaded through team meeting structures and our staff appraisal process has been updated to specifically measure the confidence of staff on equality issues.  This has been further enhanced this year by the provision of equality training on an eLearning platform, which can be accessed at work or at home. Our induction process introduces new staff and elected members to our policy and approach on equality and human rights and this is reaffirmed in our staff appraisal process.

Supporting our staff

All staff have access to a robust grievance procedure which enables them to deal appropriately with any issues of concern they have within their working environment.  We also operate a Dignity at Work Policy, which provides clarification on expected behaviours of employees and managers and details the processes that should be followed should an individual feel they are being bullied, harassed or victimised in the workplace.

In terms of supporting our disabled staff, we offer a number of options to encourage disabled employees to remain in work, including phased returns, workplace adjustments, the Access to Work scheme and looking at alternative jobs.  We also offer occupational health support, where appropriate.

Whilst we do not have the resources to run in-house employee networks, we can signpost staff to the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) Network, Disability Network and Forum of Asian and Black Employees run by Lancashire County Council.

Employees are encouraged to become members of a trades union representing them on the appropriate national negotiating body.  They are also encouraged to join trades unions locally and the Council recognises GMB and UNISON for local consultation. Based on subscription deductions directly from salaryin March 2017, 34.42% of the Council’s workforce are members of either the GMB or Unison trade unions. The actual level of membership could be higher as staff may not pay their union subscriptions through salary deductions.