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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 510 people (excluding those who are seconded to BT Lancashire Services, of which there are 69, and casual workers.) This means that we sometimes signpost staff to support that is available to them from other organisations rather than providing this 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 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 past year.

Age range

As at April 2014

As at April 2015

WL population estimate

(2011 census data)

(working age: 16.1% of the  borough's population

are outside the age ranges detailed below.)












24.2% (30-44)




26.7% (45-59)







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:



% in grade band


% in grade band


% in grade band


% in grade band


% in grade band


% in grade band

 Total %

 Scale 1a - 3  3.23  11.29  11.29  20.97  32.26  20.97 100
 Scale 4 - 6  0  5.79  13.9  36.29  33.2  10.81 100
 SO1 - PO1  0  0.81  28.23  30.65  29.03  11.29 100
 PO2 - PO4  0  0  8.89  46.67  40.0 4.44 100
 SM1 - SM3  0  0  0  50.0  41.67  8.33 100
 Chief officer  0  0  0  22.22  66.67 11.11 100

Our workforce has stayed relatively stable in terms of age during the past year with a small increase in the number of employees under the age of 39 and over the age of 60. Our workforce is generally older than that of our catchment.

What does this age distribution mean for the Council? To encourage employment opportunities for younger people who live within the Borough, the Council encourages managers to consider recruiting to Graduate Trainee posts. In addition we encourage apprenticeships 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 is anticipated that the 60+ age band will rise, given the age profile of the Council’s employees.  There is also a potential challenge for succession planning into management roles, given the age profile of the top four grade bands, all having a greater number of 40 years-plus incumbents. This means that with an ageing workforce as well as an aging population, the numbers in this age banding will inevitably rise, potentially presenting challenges for us to having a stable workforce with little movement which would potentially release vacancies to bring in new different skills.

The staff turnover rate was 5.53% over the last 12 months. Of the leavers, 74% left voluntarily for reasons such as voluntary resignation or voluntary retirement, and 26% for other reasons including ending of temporary contracts and dismissals. The latest survey information on local government turnover rates was published by the Local Government Association in February 2014. This indicated a median average turnover rate of 11.4%. With West Lancashire’s rate at 5.53%, the turnover is substantially below the national average. This indicates a steady and stable workforce. It is anticipated that the economic factors and rising pension age are likely to continue to influence this.

Of the leavers, 52% were aged over 50 years, and 67% were male, 89% declared themselves to be of White British ethnicity and 7% considered themselves to have a disability.

In terms of gender balance, 45% of Council 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 dependants, job sharing, career breaks, voluntary reduced hours, annualised and compressed hours,  flexitime, homeworking and term time working arrangements.

93.73% of our workforce declares themselves to be White British compared to 97% of the Borough’s population, with 3.53% of the workforce who preferred not to disclose their ethnicity, and  1.78% confirming they were from other non-White British ethnicities. 42.94% of the Council’s workforce have declared themselves, in relation to Faith and Belief, to be  Christian, compared to 76% of the local population, 0.2%  as Muslim, 0.4% other faiths, 16.6% are of no faith and 39.8% 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 does this ethnicity and faith and belief factor 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. The workforce profile is broadly similar in both ethnicity and religion to the local population. We will monitor the response rates in future workforce surveys and try to establish the cause of employees' reluctance to disclose this type of information.

The percentage of the Council’s workforce who consider themselves to be disabled – The Council does not collect information in respect of detailing different forms of disability. 5.1 % of employees currently consider themselves to be disabled and 14% have not disclosed their status or have confirmed they prefer not to say.  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 actively seek work. We do not have a population statistic that shows us the percentage of working age disabled people seeking employment or who are in employment. Comparisons about community representation in this regard is therefore difficult.

What does this mean for the Council?  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 to disclose personal details. We expect the level of disclosure amongst staff may increase over time.

1.96% of our staff population have stated that they are gay, lesbian or bisexual with 0.98% preferring not to disclose their sexual orientation and 39.22% 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.  But, the level of disclosure in this area has increased since the last 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 69 staff employed by West Lancashire Borough Council but seconded to Lancashire County Council/British Telecom Lancashire Services Ltd.  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 31.8% female, to 68.2% male. There are no staff with any recorded disability and all staff are recorded as white British. There are 71% of the workforce 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 tables below compare average earnings by gender for each of our pay grades as at April 2015.

Grade Male Female
Scale 1a - 3 15,968 9,205
Scale 4 - 6 18,000 18,462
SO1 - PO1 28,351 26,704
PO2 - PO4 39,286 35,655
SM1 - SM3 47,245 47,329
Chief Officer 61,415 89,434

The median average annual pay for females is £21,557 and for males £23,433. This represents an annual 1.08% gender pay gap, which is a 0.22% reduction on the pay gap at the same time last year.

Exploring the potential reasons for this gender pay gap, we can confirm that, of all female employees 37.8% work part time (less than 36 hpw) compared to only 18.5% of all males in the workforce who work part time. There are 111 people working part time, 87 of whom  are female compared to 24 male.  

What does this mean for the Council? There is a slight differential in male and female annual earnings. 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 WL4 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 double the proportion of female employees, compared to male, work less than 36 hpw.  This will account for the 1.08% gap between the median average annual salaries of females compared to males, as proportionately more females work part time and so therefore have a reduced actual annual income.

The comparison of the median hourly rate is perhaps the most realistic to reflect equality within the workforce in terms of equal pay. The Council will be undertaking an Equal Pay Audit during 2018 and the outcome of this will be reflected in the relevant equality profiling information.

The information detailed in the recruitment section above demonstrates our performance in terms of the equality agenda during our recruitment and promotion activities.

The statistics regarding pay grade broken down by age illustrate 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 organisations. 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, by rebalancing the workforce profile by drawing in new talent.

During the last 12 months, five of our staff took a period of maternity leave. All five returned to work, 1one working on voluntary reduced hours, and four returning to their previous contracted hours with no reduction in working hours.


The Council provided 27 corporate training places last year following the completion of the annual appraisal process. There were an additional 80 people that undertook Leadership and Management Development Training of 4.5 days each in an 18 month period from December 2013 to April 2014.  This is a total of 360 Leadership and Management Development  training sessions delivered during that period.

The corporate training equality information gathered is illustrated below:

  • Ethnicity: Of those employees who attended the training, 26 had a White British ethnicity and 1 was White Irish and none chose not to declare their ethnicity. 
  • Religion or belief: Of the 27 employees trained, 18 were Christian, 4 declared they had no religion and 5 chose not to declare a belief.
  • Age: The age range of training provided was 5 employees aged between 16 to 30, 10 employees aged 30 to 49 and 12 aged over 50 years.
  • Gender: 7 male employees and 20 female employees received training during the last 12 months.
  • Disability: 26 employees with no disability and 1 employee with a disability were trained last year.
  • Sexual orientation: 6 employees trained last year preferred not to declare their sexual orientation and 21 employees were heterosexual.
  • Part Time Working: 22 employees work full time and 5 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, 78 had a White British ethnicity and 2 have Non White British declared ethnicity. 
  • Religion or belief: Of the 80 employees trained, 46 were Christian, 10 declared they had no religion and 22 chose not to declare a belief and 2 said they had another religion not noted.
  • Age: The age range of training provided was zero employee aged between 16 to 30, 40 employees aged 30 to 49 and 40 aged over 50 years.
  • Gender: 44 male employees and 36 female employees received training during the 18 months.
  • Disability: 78 employees with no disability and 2 employees with a disability were trained during the 18 month period.
  • Sexual orientation: 23 employees trained last year preferred not to declare their sexual orientation and 57 employees were heterosexual.
  • Part Time Working: 69 employees work full time and 11 work less than 36 hours per week (Part Time)

Disciplinary Cases

There has been one disciplinary case during the year that 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 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.


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.

We are planning refresher training to senior managers and elected members on the requirements of the Equality Act 2010 and on our Public Sector Equality Duty.  Briefings will be cascaded through team meeting structures and our staff appraisal process has been updated to specifically measure the confidence of staff on equality issues.  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 postings.  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 from salary, it is estimated that in March 2015, 49% of the Council’s  workforce are members of either the GMB or Unison trade unions.