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Agenda Item No

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Cabinet Meeting: 08 May 2013

 

Report of the Leader

 

The Public Sector Equality Duty: Employment Information, Pay Differences and Staff Training

 

Purpose of the Report

1.             To update Cabinet on the measures being undertaken to implement the employment information, pay differences and staff training elements of the Public Sector Equality Duty (Wales).

Recommendations

That the Cabinet endorse the actions being taken to implement the Public Sector Equality Duty (Wales).

Reasons for the Recommendations

To adopt measures necessary for the council to meet the data requirements of the Public Sector Equality Duty (Wales).

 

Background

2.             The Corporate Management Team and Cabinet were both informed of the requirements of the Public Sector Equality Duty in Wales (the Duty), in terms of data gathering and analysis, in January 2012. Since then Human Resources, Transact and Equalities have been working together to ensure that the council will be able to meet the reporting requirements.

3.             The council is required to detail the number of:

·               people employed by protected characteristic;

·               men and women broken down by job, grade, pay, contract type and working pattern;

·               job applicants by protected characteristic;

·               employees who have applied to change position within the council by protected characteristic, including whether or not they have been successful;

·               employees who have applied for training and how many have succeeded in their application by protected characteristic;

·               employees who have completed their training by protected characteristic;

·               employees who have been involved in grievance procedures, either as the complainant or as the person against whom a complaint is made by protected characteristic;

·               employees who are subject to disciplinary procedures by protected characteristic;

·               employees who have left the council’s employment by protected characteristic.

4.             Schools are classed as separate listed public authorities under the guidance and governors are individually responsible for meeting the requirements of the Duty. The School Improvement Service has provided advice in this regard to schools and further specific advice has been published by the Welsh Local Government Association.

Relevant Issues and Options

5.             The council has produced its first Annual Equality Monitoring Report to cover the period April 2011 to March 2012. Despite including much of the required information, the Annual Equality Monitoring Report only contains the protected characteristic data that was being gathered prior to the introduction of the Duty and receipt of Welsh Government.

6.             A full equality survey of employees has not taken place since 2005. However, data such as age, gender, ethnic origin, disability and other protected characteristics is collected from job applicants, and thereby recorded for those who subsequently become employees. However, the provision of equality data is not mandatory so the council does not have data for all employees.

7.             A survey of all employees is now required not only to ensure that the identified gaps are filled but also to ensure that the current data held remains accurate. The council cannot use the Duty to compel an employee (or applicant for employment) to disclose information about their protected characteristics. A 'prefer not to say' option is to be included where applicable on the survey. A copy of the survey is attached at appendix A.

8.             It is intended to run this survey during June of this year. A campaign to alert staff and the distribution of the survey will be conducted by the Equalities section. Data received will be input by C1V as is the case with current equality information submitted by job applicants.

9.             The information gathered will provide evidence upon which equality-related policies, practices and decisions can be made. Collecting employee information is a crucial part of identifying issues that need to be addressed in equality objectives. Publishing the information (anonymously) will also aid transparency and help reveal equality patterns and the progress being made towards equality outcomes.

10.        Some of this data is recognised as sensitive in terms of data protection. The conditions for processing this sensitive data will be satisfied by the employment law requirement to gather the data, and by explaining how their data will be processed to employees and applicants. Each individual's explicit consent will be required and safeguards will be put in place to ensure that personal data is not released either deliberately or inadvertently.

11.        The internal publicity and information campaign will also be conducted prior to a survey of all current employees. Transparently communicating the purpose of collecting this data is likely to lead to increased willingness to provide information and an explanatory campaign will run alongside the staff survey. Information has been placed on Staffnet and the council's recruitment web pages, whilst also utilising Stonewall's 'What's it got to do with me?' leaflet to inform both staff and future job applicants. This leaflet has already been used to assist the Housing Department to survey the revised protected characteristics of tenants with relative success.

12.        The Welsh Government published guidance on what should now be monitored in order to comply with the Duty in October of last year. The Oracle HR module has been updated with the new protected characteristics, in line with the guidance. This has enabled new job applicants' data to be recorded since 1st April 2013. The Oracle HR module will be developed to capture and support all of the data requirements such as on grievances, disciplinary and training.

13.        This will enable the council to publish comprehensive relevant data for the 2013-2014 reporting period by the required date of 1 April 2015. The data for the period 1 April 2012 to 31 March 2013, although not required to be published until 1 April 2014, will not include data for all identified protected characteristics.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

14.        The survey and resulting reports will be undertaken from within existing resources. The data will be input into the Oracle HR module utilising the same staff that currently input the protected characteristic data of job applicants. This will avoid the need for additional training. The likely demand that will be placed on these staff by the survey will be more accurately determined once the data for job applicants is input and measured.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

15.        None

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

16.        The Equality Act 2010 brought together and replaced the previous anti-discrimination laws under one Act.  Under the legislation there are six protected characteristics.   These are age, disability, sex, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief and sexual orientation, and marriage or civil partnerships.  The Act includes a new public sector equality duty, as well as specific duties for Wales.   The Public Sector Equality Duty applies to the six characteristics. 

17.        The data collection, processing and publication will require compliance with the provisions of the Data Protection Act 1998.

18.        In accordance with the legislation, The Equality and Human Rights Commission have powers to seek compliance where it is considered that a listed authority has not complied with its specific duties.

Crime and Disorder Implications

19.        Producing relevant information will help the council to formulate policies and procedures that meet the diverse needs of local people and create greater equality of opportunity.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

20.        The council is required to collect, use and publish this equality employment information to help understand how its policies, practices and decisions affect individuals who share one or more of the protected characteristics. This process is essential if the council is to comply with the requirements of the Public Sector Equality Duty in Wales. The information is required to accurately inform the equality impact assessment process, the Strategic Equality Plan and equality objectives.

Corporate/Service Objectives

21.        The council's core values include ensuring that all citizens obtain fair and equal access to services and equitable and consistent treatment in their dealings with the council.

Policy Framework and Budget

22.        This report is for Executive decision.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

23.        Engagement has been conducted at various stages of the process with the Head of Human Resources, the Head of Financial Services, the Equality and Human Rights Commission and the Welsh Local Government Association. The trades unions have also been advised.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

24.        Corporate Resources

Background Papers

Stonewall's 'What's it got to do with me?' leaflet.

Welsh Government '2012 - Collecting Equality Data and Harmonised Standards Best Practice' guidance.

Equality and Human Rights Commission's Technical Guidance on the Public Sector Equality Duty Wales

 

Contact Officer

Tim Greaves

 

Officers Consulted

Head of Human Resources, Head of Financial Services, Operational Manager Human Resources, Operational Manager Finance and Systems, Training and development Manager.

 

Responsible Officer:

Tim Greaves - Equality Coordinator

 

 

 

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