Report of the Chief Executive
The Service Manager Corporate Services delivered a presentation to support the report of the Chief Executive which provided an update on delivery of the action plan for the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Scheme and included the annual diversity report update.
The Group was informed that the data included in the report was from the Census 2011 as the data from the Census 2021 would not be available until October 2022. The data detailed in the report for Rushcliffe was not significantly different to that included in the previous report to the Group.
The Group was informed that 94% of the Council’s workforce was in the white British or white other ethnic group which reflected data for the Borough. The figure for the Borough was higher than that for the East Midlands (89%) and nationally (85%).
The Service Manager Corporate Services added that the age profile of Rushcliffe indicated that the Borough had a larger proportion of residents who were over 60 years of age (25%) than the East Midlands (23.5%) and national average (22%). There was also a larger proportion of residents aged 45-59 within Rushcliffe (21%) than nationally (19%). Conversely, there were fewer younger residents aged 18-24 (7.8%) than the East Midlands (9.53%) and nationally (9.37%). In addition, there was a disparity in the 25-29 age groups between Rushcliffe (4.7%), East Midlands (6.1%) and nationally (6.8%). The age profile of the Council showed that there was a peak at 45-54, this was the same as was reported in 2019/20. 20% of the workforce was aged between 18-34, and 59% were aged between 35-54. The authority continued to support employees who wished to continue working, keeping knowledge within the organisation as well as working towards ensuring effective succession planning by improving the age diversity of the workforce.
Regarding health, data from the 2011 Census showed that 7,540 people (6.7% of the population) in Rushcliffe had a long-term health problem or disability which limited their daily activities to a greater extent. A further 9,939 (8.9%) were limited to a lesser extent – all lower than the percentages for the East Midlands which were 8.6% (greater extent), and 11.9% (a lesser extent).
The Group was informed that the number of employees who declared they had a disability was the same as the previous year at 5%. The Council continued to support employees who were either disabled when they joined the authority or became disabled during their employment. The Group was informed that the Council was a Disability Confident Employer and had reached the required criteria to be reaccredited this year.
The gender profile showed that there were slightly more females (51%) than males (49%) currently residing in the Borough. The gender split at the Council showed fewer female employees than males (42% compared to 58%) which was, in some part, due to the Council’s manual workforce containing roles that were traditionally male dominated. The Council had worked to encourage female employees into this environment and would continue to promote fair recruitment practices and positive action to encourage a diverse workforce.
The Service Manager Corporate Services informed the Group that the Council had made positive improvements to the gender pay gap and reporting now showed that the gap had narrowed from 8.9% (in 2017) between the mean £per hour of male and female pay to now a difference of less than 1%. The Group was informed that the change was due to an improved gender balance in senior positions.
The Group was informed that the Council’s current HR system only recorded male and female as this is how it is recorded and reported to HMRC. Officers would explore whether additional options could be added with the supplier of the payroll system. The recruitment system included options for the full range of gender identity as this was a form developed internally by the Council.
Regarding the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Scheme, the Group was informed that
· EDI actions were embedded in service plans.
· The Council’s website was now accessible to all people with sight impairment who used an e-reader and officers were working through all documents included on the website to ensure that they also complied with the Accessibility Regulations.
· The Council’s action plan also identified the need to engage more young people in democracy and an event had been held at Rushcliffe Arena for 30 Year 10 students from Toothill School which saw four candidates from the group stand for election.
· Training in British Sign Language was being explored for customer services staff, supported by East Midlands Councils, which could possibly be extended to the summer events programme in the Park.
· Customer Services web and email enquiries had doubled in 2021 compared to the volume pre-pandemic in 2019. A review would be undertaken to identify the best ways to meet customer needs.
· Work had been undertaken to tackle inactivity through GP surgeries in Rushcliffe through ‘Active Practice Accreditation’, whereby GPs would encourage staff and patients to be more active.
· A Recruiting Talent event would be held in June 2022 to encourage employers to be inclusive in their recruitment practices and the support available to them.
· A mentoring scheme was being developed under YouNG which would see officers at the Council mentoring young people from September 2022. If successful, further roll-out with Rushcliffe businesses involved would be explored.
· The Council had also employed one Kick Start placement and two supported interns, with identified disabilities.
· Council recruitment practices had been amended to improve accessibility, as a CV only was required when applying for vacancies. The Council was also working with the Careers Transition Partnership to attract veterans to vacancies.
· Over the last year, 281 applicants had applied for jobs at the Council; data on gender, ethnicity etc had been recorded and other Councils had been approached so that comparisons and benchmarking could be carried out. Unfortunately, data was not available at this time.
The Group commended the report and asked how the Council was spending the Apprenticeship Levy and whether the full Levy was accessed. The Service Manager Corporate Services agreed to provide an answer following the meeting.
The Group supported the approach of the Council, for example the use of BSL at the Theatre in the Park events and suggested that the UK Cinema Association could advise on the use of audio headsets. They suggested that, to support healthy eating, the food offered by Lex Leisure be reviewed, particularly in the coffee shop at Rushcliffe Arena.
The Group questioned whether the data regarding demographics (age 30-44 and 44-59) provided in the report in Appendix A2, was accurate as it did not appear to reflect the presentation given. The Service Manager agreed to investigate and report back to the Group.
It was RESOLVED that the Corporate Overview Group:
a) considered and endorsed the report information provided for the diversity annual report; and
b) reviewed the action taken so far as a part of the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Scheme action plan and made suggestions for future action or areas of focus.