Workforce equality

Introduction

All public authorities are required to publish information to demonstrate their compliance with the General Equality Duty. This includes, in particular, information to be published relating to people who share relevant protected characteristics that are affected by its policies and practices and information relating to its employees.

The Public Sector Equality Report helps us to identify whether there is

under-representation of particular groups, investigate underlying causes and subsequently set targets to re-address imbalances.

The Council (DBC) has been committed to workforce equality issues for many years. In addition to outlining the action that the Council takes to promote equality in everything we do, our Equality Scheme reinforces how we train and develop our employees on equality issues and monitor and review the way we work.  This helps us address any disadvantages that may impact on employees for any reason, but particularly if they are covered by one or more of the protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010.

The Council has a number of specific employment policies, procedures and initiatives in place that support the three aims of the Equality Duty.  In the appendices there are examples of how the council continues to demonstrate theses three aims;

Aim 1 – Eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation and any other conduct prohibited by the Equalities Act.

Aim 2 – Advance equality of opportunity between people who share a protected characteristic and people who do not share it.

Aim 3 - Foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and people who do not share it.

The Council will naturally take any equality concerns raised by employees seriously and look to address these through the appropriate channels.  We would usually become aware of these via direct approaches from employees or union representatives; via Group and Corporate consultation arrangements with the unions (i.e. via the Council’s Joint Consultative Committee - JCC) or via practical implementation of the relevant policies.

DBC has taken and will continue to take relevant measures to adhere to the workforce implications of the Equality Act 2010.  Updates will be provided to employees on changes to the Equality Act periodically and as required.

The below report covers the period of 1st April 2015 – 31st March 2016. The Council aims to have a workforce that reflects, as near as possible the diversity of the residents which we serve in the borough of Darlington. This report provides a profile of the DBC workforce by the different diversity strands, as outlined in the Equality Act 2010 and in line with requirements under the Public Sector Equality Duty 2011.

For comparative purposes, in all cases information relating to the residents of Darlington Borough is drawn from the 2011 census covering residents of a working age. All information with regards to the Council workforce was correct as at 31st March 2016, all information with regards to headcount and contracts includes casual employees (150 of which are enumerators working on elections), unless stated. The information quoted excludes employees working for community schools. This is because there are separate arrangements for schools publishing information under the specific duties of the Equality Act 2010.

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Section 1

Workforce Information.

Staff numbers

Headcount 2217
FTE 1483.98
Number of Contracts 2620

The above information shows the total numbers of employees (excluding schools) working for DBC by Headcount (the actual number of different employees, using their master contract), Full Time Equivalent (FTE) and Contracts (The number of contracts is higher than the headcount figure as one employee may have more than one contract with the council).

Redundancies

2010 – 11 128
2011 – 12 136
2012 – 13 96
2013 – 14 87
2014 - 15 22
2015 - 16 25

The above figures include both compulsory and voluntary redundancies.

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Section 2

Age profiles

Age RangeDBC % 2014/15DBC % 2015/16Darlington %
16 – 19 1.3 2.3 7.7
20 – 29 11.5 10.8 18.3
30 – 39 20.9 20.4 19.3
40 – 49 27.6 25.7 23.8
50 – 59 29.5 31.0 20.7
60 – 64 5.7 6.1 10.2
65 + 3.6 3.7 Not available

The above shows that the highest band of the Councils employees 31% are aged between 50 and 59, 40.8% are aged 50 and over and 13.1% are aged 16 – 29. This broadly reflects the Darlington community; however it also indicates an ageing workforce and the need for the Council to continue to look at promoting employment opportunities for younger adults of working age.

The below ‘Recruitment by age range’ table also confirms a success in this area, with the 20 – 29 category being the highest in terms of applications received and  second highest for shortlisted and appointments.

The Council is committed to continue its good work on employing apprentices, in 2015 – 16 there were a total of 38 directly employed apprentices who worked at DBC. HR are progressing a workforce plan for succession planning in key service areas.

Recruitment by age range

Category% Applications Received% Shortlisted% Appointed
16 - 19 7.2 9.4 8.1
20 – 29 31.9 22.8 25.6
30 – 39 20.3 21.1 19.4
40 – 49 20.6 21.2 16.6
50 – 59 17.7 23.4 27.5
60 – 64 1.4 0.9 0.9
65 + 0.3 0.6 1.9
Undeclared 0.6 0.6 0.0

Redundancies by age range

Age RangeCompulsory %Voluntary %Total %
16 – 19 0.0 0.0 0.0
20 – 29 0.0 0.0 0.0
30 – 39 25.0 9.5 12.0
40 – 49 50.0 23.9 28.0
50 – 59 25.0 57.1 52.0
60 – 64 0.0 0.0 0.0
65 + 0.0 9.5 8.0

The total redundancies in the ‘up to 19’ and ‘20 – 29’ age ranges are 0 and therefore fall below the workforce percentages. The figures are higher for employees aged 50 - 59. Those aged 50 – 59 make up 31% of the Councils workforce, so this is not unexpected. It is also worth noting that employees made redundant at age 55 and over would access unreduced pension benefits under the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) (in terms of national legislation).

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Section 3

Disability

CategoryDBC 2014/15DBC 2015/16Darlington %
Declared Disability 4.4 4.1 16.41
Without Disability 91.1 87.6 83.6
Undeclared 4.5 8.3 N/A

Given that an estimated 16.4% of economically active people in Darlington have a disability, the Council will make every effort to improve workforce representation in this area where possible, work continues to promote opportunities and placements for people with a disability.

The Council have a number of policies and procedures and a positive action

strategy in place to support the recruitment and retention of employees with a disability.  However, it is worth noting that the scope for external recruitment has been limited by current economic constraints.

None of the top 5% of earners in the Council have a declared disability.

Recruitment of those with a disability

Category% Applications Received% Shortlisted% Appointed
Declared Disability 5.7 6.6 7.1
Without Disability 93.4 91.7 91.9
Undeclared 0.8 1.7 0.9

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Section 4

Ethnicity

CategoryDBC % 2014/15DBC 2015/16Darlington %
BAME 2.2 2.2 2.00
White / Other 92.7 88.7 98.00
Undeclared 5.1 9.1 N/A

Based on estimates that 2% of economically active people in Darlington are from a black and minority ethnic (BAME) community, this suggests that the Councils workforce is reflective of the position within Darlington. As with disability more work may need to be done to encourage people to declare, undeclared in both categories has risen since 2014/15.

Less than 10 of the top 5% of earners in the Council come from a BAME community.

Recruitment by Ethnicity

Ethnicity% Applications Received% Shortlisted%Appointed
White / Other 4.0 7.3 8.5
BAME Group 0.4 0.6 1.0
Undeclared 95.6 92.1 90.5

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Section 5

Gender / Gender Reassignment

Gender

CategoryDarlington % 2014/15Darlington % 2015/16*LG E&W %
Female 65.1 63.9 75.1
Male 34.9 36.1 24.9

Although this does not represent the gender composition of the people of working age in Darlington (49% male and 51% female), as shown in the above, local government nationally has a higher percentage of female workers.

*Source – LGA – Local Government Demographics – October 2010

Split by Full time and part time employees working at Darlington Borough Council.

CategoryFemale %Male %
Full Time 51.0 49.0
Part Time 76.9 23.1

% of salary levels by gender

Salary RangeMale %Female %Total %
< 12,145 1.2 0.8 1.0
12,145 – 14,999 2.8 5.7 4.7
15 – 19,999 26.4 38.3 33.9
20 – 24,999 31.8 15.1 21.2
25 – 29,999 15.6

20.9

19.0
30 – 34,999 8.7 8.6 8.7
35 – 39,999 7.5 5.9 6.5
40 – 44,999 2.0 2.4 2.3
45 – 49,999 1.1 1.0 1.0
50,000 + 2.8 1.3 1.8

Please note the above doesn't include casual members of staff, also for ease part time salaries have been rounded up to FTE salaries.

Recruitment by gender

Category% Applications Received% Shortlisted% Appointed
Female 64.1 63.9 71.6
Male

34.9

35.5 28.4
Undeclared 1.0 0.6 0.0

There were 15 Females who were made redundant (11 voluntary and 4 compulsory) 10 Males (all voluntary).

Gender Reassignment

At the end of 2015/16 financial year there were less than 10 employees who declared gender reassignment. 

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Section 6

Marriage and Civil Partnership

Although the Council does not actively monitor workforce composition in terms of marriage and civil partnership, we are able to provide information in this area where known.

The equality monitoring form for new employees asks whether an applicant is married or in a civil partnership.  We do not ask employees to either state that they are married or in a registered civil partnership, but rather ask a combined question on the two areas.

CategoryDBC % 2014/15DBC % 2015/16
Married / Civil Partnership 49.2 47.0
Single 27.9 27.7
Divorced 7.1 7.2
Separated 1.7 1.7
Widow / Civil Widow 0.5 0.6
Undeclared 13.6 15.8

Please note this may not provide a full picture as employees do not necessarily advise the Council if their marital status changes during their employment. Employees are encouraged to self declare and update their personal details via our online employee records system.

There do not appear to be any issues in terms of the Council discriminating in terms of marriage and civil partnership.

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Section 7

Pregnancy and Maternity / Sexual Orientation

Pregnancy and Maternity

There were 50 employees on maternity leave during the last financial year.  52.0% have returned to work, 42.0% were still on maternity leave as at the end of the 2015/16 financial year and 6.0% have left the Council following maternity leave. All left voluntarily. 

Sexual Orientation

CategoryDBC % 2014/15DBC % 2015/16
Bisexual 0.1 0.1
Gay / Lesbian 0.6 0.5
Heterosexual / Straight 10.6 10.0
Not Stated 88.3 89.2
Other 0.0 0.0
Prefer not to say 0.3 0.2

Unfortunately there is little data available to unable us to see how this compares to the make up of residents of Darlington. Nationally however 92.8% of adults identified themselves as Heterosexual / straight, 1.1% Gay or Lesbian, 0.5% as Bisexual, 0.3% as other, 3.9% did not know or preferred not to say. 1.4% Did not respond.*

*Source – Integrated Household Survey, January to December 2014: Experimental Statistics | 01 October 2015

Recruitment by Sexual Orientation

Category% Applications Received% Shortlisted% Appointed
Bisexual 0.8 0.7 0.9
Gay / Lesbian 2.1 2.6 0.5
Heterosexual /Straight 89.3 87.3 86.3
Not Stated 4.6 6.5 8.5
Other 0.0 0.0 0.0
Prefer not to say 3.2 2.9 3.8

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Section 8

Religion or Belief

The table below shows Darlington Borough Council’s employees religious beliefs in comparison to the Borough of Darlington residents. The vast majority of Darlington Borough Council employees have refrained from stating their religion (86.95%) which they are entitled to do, this makes any comparisons with the wider Borough difficult.

ReligionDBC % 2014/15DBC % 2015/16Darlington Borough
Christian 7.3 7.1 67.37%
Buddhist 0.0 0.0 0.29%
Hindu 0.1 0.0 0.30%
Jewish 0.0 0.0 0.04%
Muslim 0.2 0.1 0.92%
Sikh 0.0 0.0 0.34%
Other religion 0.4 0.4 0.29%
No Religion 4.6 4.1 24.08%
Religion not stated 87.5 88.3 6.36%

Recruitment by Religion or Belief

Category% Applications Received% Shortlisted% Appointed
Buddhist 0.5 0.7 0.0
Christian 49.7 51.2 55.5
Hindu 0.2 0.2 0.0
Jewish 0.1 0.1 0.0
Muslim 1.0 1.0 0.9
Sikh 0.4 0.4 0.0
Other religion 1.9 1.5 2.8
No Religion 37.8 35.0 30.8
Religion not stated 8.4 9.9 10.0

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Section 9

Specific Information

Management Cases

The below table summarises the management cases which have required HR intervention and commenced in 15/16. Please note dismissal does not include redundancies.

CategoryBAMEDisabilityFemaleMaleTotal for DBC
Bullying and Harassment 0 0 < 10 <10 <10
Disciplinary 0 <10 7 21 28
Grievance 0 0 <10 <10 <10
Capability 0 0 <10 <10 <10
Dismissals 0 <10 13 6 19

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Appendices

Appendix 1

Aim 1 – Eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation and any other conduct prohibited by the Equalities Act.

  • Both the Council’s Equality Scheme and Anti-Harassment and Bullying Policy make clear the Council’s commitment to eliminating unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation on any grounds.
  • The Council’s Equality Scheme makes clear that employees should understand both corporate policies and those specific to their own areas of work and carry them out in a non-discriminatory manner.  It also makes clear that if an employee sees something that is discriminatory when   they are at work, they have a duty of care to other employees and members of the public to tell their manager about it.
  • The Council has policies in place to address any potentially unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation via the relevant suite of equality policies (Anti Harassment and Bullying Policy, Disciplinary Policy and Equality Policy Statement).
  • If employees feel that they are being harassed and / or bullied by someone else who works for the Council for any reason (which would by default cover any of the protected characteristics under the Equality Act), the Council will use the Anti Harassment and Bullying Policy in the first place to try and address the issue as appropriate.  The policy is accompanied by comprehensive guidance for managers and employees.
  • Serious acts of discrimination, harassment, bullying or victimisation against employees or service users are disciplinary offences, which may result in action up to and including dismissal under the Council’s Disciplinary Policy.  If unlawful discrimination was involved, cases would be referred to the Police.
  • The Council has monitored cases under the Anti Harassment and Bullying Policy by disability, race and gender since policy was introduced to ensure that any such issues can be raised and addressed promptly and appropriately.
  • Under the Council’s Policy Statement on Recruitment and Selection, the Council states a clear commitment to undertaking all recruitment and selection activity in line with equality legislation.  As such, the Council would not discriminate against a job applicant in terms of any of the protected characteristics.
  • All Darlington Borough Council employees involved in recruitment and selection decisions must attend the Council’s mandatory Recruitment and Selection training prior to involvement in any campaign to ensure they are fully aware that they must not discriminate against applicants for any reason other than merit alone (although managers involved in the selection process are made aware of the positive action in recruitment and promotion provisions under the Equality Act).
  • The Council’s procedures ensure that any job advertisements, job descriptions and person specifications are free from discrimination in terms of any of the protected characteristics.
  • The Council’s application form does not ask any questions about whether a job applicant has a specific protected characteristic (either directly or indirectly) - including questions an applicants’ absence record (which could indirectly discriminate in terms of disability).  The exception to this is the current question asking about disability to allow the Council to make reasonable adjustments throughout the appointment process and whilst in employment (as relevant).
  • A recruitment equality monitoring form is attached to the application form.  This is detached from the main form and retained by the Recruitment Team for monitoring purposes only, enabling the Council to monitor recruitment and selection on these grounds to ensure that discrimination does not take place.
  • The Council has a robust pay and grading system in place to ensure that all grades are assessed and evaluated fairly.  This is undertaken using the National Joint Council (NJC) Job Evaluation Scheme for NJC Officers and Hay Evaluation Scheme for Chief Officers.
  • Whilst the NJC scheme has not been fully challenged in an employment tribunal it is deemed by local authorities and trade unions to be the favoured evaluation scheme for local government employees.
  • The Hay evaluation scheme is a nationally recognised scheme for senior / chief officers.  The scheme has been challenged in an employment tribunal and has been deemed to be free from gender bias.
  • The Council has trained and experienced Job Analysts to undertake the assessment of roles and the Assistant Director – Finance and Human Resources and relevant Assistant Directors moderate and verify all grading to ensure consistency and challenge to eliminate any discrimination in grading.
  • HR closely monitor salaries and terms and conditions within the Tees Valley neighbouring authorities to ensure Darlington salaries and terms are competitive and aim to eliminate discrimination
  • Trade unions play an important part of the equality checking of Council policies and procedures relating to pay and terms and conditions and as such alongside grade reviews and restructures continuous reviews are undertaken with trade unions to ensure that payments made to specific occupational groups are not only competitive rates, but also relevant to service delivery and free from gender bias
  • In terms of providing emotional support to employees who may be experiencing discrimination, harassment, bullying etc, the Council also has a comprehensive employee assistance programme, which is available to all employees and includes an Occupational Health and Counselling Service

Aim 2 – Advance equality of opportunity between people who share a protected characteristic and people who do not share it.

  • The Council’s Equality Scheme makes clear that we aim to promote equality in everything we do, including the way we treat job applicants and our employees
  • A copy of the Council’s Job Scene, which includes all current Darlington Borough Council vacancies, is sent directly to Action for the Blind, RNIB, Jobcentre Plus, Darlington Disability and Remploy to encourage job applications from people with disabilities.
  • The Council’s application forms and guidance notes are available in alternative formats i.e. tape, Braille and large print.  Applicants are asked to contact the Recruitment Team if they require the forms in an alternative format.
  • The Council makes clear on application forms that we are an equal opportunities employer and are committed to equality for all in terms of our culture, service delivery and employment.  The Council aims to ensure that no job applicant receives less favourable treatment on any grounds - including those covered by the protected characteristics or any other grounds covered in the Council’s Equality Scheme.
  • All of the Council’s full time vacancies are open to applications on a part time basis (unless otherwise agreed at the start of each campaign and indicated on advertising literature).
  • As the recruitment equality monitoring form is separated from the rest of the form before progressing to the selection panel, selection decisions are made on merit alone (although managers involved in the selection process have been made aware of the positive action in recruitment and promotion provisions under the Equality Act).
  • The Council’s application form asks about disability to allow the Council to make reasonable adjustments throughout the appointment process and whilst in employment (as relevant).
  • The Council has publicised the use of the positive action in recruitment and promotion provision under the Equality Act 2010 to employees via an HR Advisory Circular and supports its use on a case-by-case basis, as relevant.
  • The Council interviews all applicants with a disability who meet the minimum criteria for a job vacancy and consider them on their abilities.
  • The Council has been awarded the disability symbol employer status through Jobcentre Plus the Council also recognises employees with mental health issues, demonstrating a positive and enabling attitude to job applicants and employees.
  • The Council also has Positive Action Strategies which aim to attract and retain employees with a disability or from a BAME Community.
  • If an employee becomes disabled, every effort is made to ensure that they are either able to remain in the same post and reasonable adjustments are made accordingly to assist them to undertake the duties of their post, or alternatively there is a Redeployment Policy which aims to redeploy employees into alternative suitable employment with the Council.
  • As part of the redeployment process, decisions are made following consultation with the employee, line manager, health and safety unit, the employee’s GP/consultant, the Council’s Occupational Health Doctor and other appropriate agencies /organisations.
  • The Council has removed the default retirement age (although employees may apply for flexible early retirement from age 55 if they wish to ease into retirement).
  • Workforce monitoring on age grounds shows that the majority of the Council’s employees are aged 40 or over.  It also indicates the Council needs to continue to promote employment opportunities for younger adults of working age.
  • The Council’s Pay Policy sets out the remuneration of its employees in accordance with section 38 of the Localism Act 2011.  The policy is subject to annual review and will be formally approved each financial year.  
  • The pay and grading evaluation schemes used by the Council are embedded into our procedures for assessing all posts determined at a local level.  This helps the Council to be responsive to equal pay issues and challenges against grade comparisons.
  • The Council has also adopted a robust market supplement procedure which is responsive to external market forces and retention issues.  Market supplements and retention payments are monitored closely to ensure that they are competitive and meet service delivery requirements.
  • All Council buildings have been reviewed for accessibility and action is taken to make improvements to upgrade buildings to ensure that access is available for all.
  • The Council has maternity provisions and employee guidance in place which comply with (and in some areas, exceed) employment legislation in this area.  The Council’s Redeployment Policy prioritises employees on maternity (and paternity or adoption) leave who are under notice of redundancy for offers of suitable alternative employment where it exists (in line with legislation).
  • The Council has implemented the legal right for employees with children up to and including the age of 16 (or under 18 if the child has a disability) and certain carers of adults to apply to work flexibly and will consider any requests seriously under agreed procedures. This will be revised for all employees in line with legislation due to be effective from 30 June 2014.
  • The Council’s Performance Development Review (PDR) Handbook (which outlines the Council’s appraisal procedure) makes clear that the process must be conducted fairly and in the way that does not contravene the Council’s equality agenda.
  • The Council’s Time Off for Dependants and Urgent Domestic Reasons Scheme allows employees to take a reasonable period of time off work to deal with an emergency involving a dependant.
  • The Council’s Workforce Strategy makes clear that the Council is committed to ensuring equality of opportunity in the development of its people and recognises the diversity of different groups.  The Council ensures that training and development is accessible in respect of timing of events and venues used.  All potential suppliers bidding to deliver training on behalf of the council are required to submit their own equality statements as part of the procurement process and must comply with the council’s equality policies and all such arrangements if successful in securing a contract to deliver training.
  • The council reserves the right to reject suppliers who are unable to meet our requirements in this area.
  • The Council provides a programme of training for all employees to raise awareness of the equality agenda and the related legislation and their responsibilities to others in this area.

Aim 3: Foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and people who do not share it

  • Our Equality Scheme outlines the action that the Council takes to promote equality in everything we do.  We train and develop our employees on equality issues and monitor and review the way we work.
  • In terms of equal pay, there are recognised appeal routes for grading issues that are open to all employees regardless of any protected characteristic.  Trade Unions also represent all employees across the Council as part of ongoing negotiations on terms and conditions.
  • The Council provides a programme of generic equalities training for all employees to raise awareness of the equality agenda and the related legislation and their responsibilities to others in this area. There are also separate courses available for employees on Disability Equality Training (run on demand);Introduction to Deafness (on demand) and Visual Impairment Training (on demand)
  • We also provide mandatory recruitment and selection training for all employees involved in the recruitment and selection process, which covers equality considerations with specific reference to the recruitment and selection process.
  • Disability Awareness Training also part of the Council’s corporate training programme, which is open to all employees across the Council.

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