Report of the Chief Executive
The Service Manager for Economic Growth and Property presented the Diversity Annual Report to the Group and explained that the report included information about Rushcliffe Borough Councillors, information from the 2021 census and that the number of Council employees had increased due to bringing Streetwise Environmental in-house.
The Service Manager for Economic Growth and Property took the Group through the demographic data, highlighting that 89% of residents were white, 28% of residents were aged 60+, that 6% of residents had a long term health problem or disability which limited their daily activity and that there were slightly more males than females in the Borough. In comparison, 84% of Rushcliffe Borough Council staff were white, with this standing at 88% for the East Midlands and 25% of East Midlands’ residents were aged 60+. The Council had 38% female and 62% male employees, likely impacted by it having a manual workforce.
In relation to gender pay gap reporting, the Service Manager for Economic Growth and Property explained that all employers with 250+ employees had to declare this information and that for the Council the ratio in 2022 was 3.46% higher for women.
In relation to job applicants, the Service Manager for Economic Growth and Property said that 60% had been white, 92% had not reported a disability and the majority were aged between 25 and 34, which was lower than the majority Council employee age which was between 45 to 54.
In relation to Rushcliffe Borough Councillors, the Service Manager for Economic Growth and Property said that 66% were male and the majority were aged 65+. The Council did not currently record Councillor ethnicity.
The Service Manager for Economic Growth and Property presented an update on the Equality and Diversity Scheme and explained that the scheme had evolved to become a live document with a supporting action plan to proactively monitor progress. She confirmed that the Action Plan had been adopted in May 2021 and was reported to this Group annually, to review work carried out over the last 12 months and to influence planning for the coming 12 months.
The Service Manager for Economic Growth and Property said that the focus was to make Rushcliffe a welcoming place with easy to access services for everyone, and a place where everyone could achieve their potential. She said that the aim was for these ambitions to be embedded across the Council and as such it had been designated as a strategic task which would be regularly reported on. Training had also been provided for all staff and Councillors and the Council would be further supported by East Midlands Councils in shaping the work of the Steering Group.
The Service Manager for Economic Growth and Property highlighted schemes which had been delivered by the Council over the past year, including at Rushcliffe Country Park which had a new shelter with hard flooring and wheelchair accessible benches and paths and a changing places toilet, Bingham Arena which had been built to the highest accessibility standards and Gresham which was home to the East Midlands PAN Disability Football League.
The Service Manager for Economic Growth and Property referred to Rushcliffe Chief Executive giving a presentation at a Recruiting Talent event which promoted the benefits of recruiting staff from a wider, more inclusive pool of talent.
In relation to UKSPF and Rural England funding, the Service Manager for Economic Growth and Property explained that the Council had received circa £3m to be spent by March 2025, which it had used to provide community workshops and one-to-one support about the cost of living pressures and the Council was looking at how best to repeat that in the coming year. The Council had also provided grant pot funding for local businesses and community organisations which had required Equality Impact Assessments to be included as part of the application. It was hoped that the grant funding would bring forward a variety of projects that would bring benefit to Rushcliffe communities.
The Group was informed that improvements had been made to Adbolton Play Area and at Alford Road and Abbey Road making them more inclusive for all to use and that Rushcliffe Community Team had been working with Ellerslie cricket club to support costs associated with setting up a walking cricket team targeted at 50+ ages.
The Group was informed that the Council had supported Holiday Activities and Food Fund (HAF) which offered free school holiday provision for children and young people aged 5 – 16 years who received benefits-related free school meals. In supporting Rushcliffe to become a Dementia Friendly borough, the Alzheimer’s Society had delivered a Dementia Friends information session to the Council’s leadership and the first Memory Café at Rushcliffe Country Park would be held in June providing opportunity for residents to experience nature based activities and to socialise and enjoy the beautiful surroundings.
In relation to housing, the Service Manager for Economic Growth and Property explained that the Council was working in partnership with Broxtowe Youth Homelessness to deliver homelessness prevention training sessions to over 268 young people in schools in Rushcliffe and that it had resettled 41 individuals as part of the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme, 13 individuals via the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy and the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme and had provided £178k capital grant to deliver an affordable rented wheelchair adapted bungalow in Cropwell Bishop and £812k Disabled Facilities Grant.
The Service Manager for Economic Growth and Property said that the Council hoped to replicate a previous event where students from a local school had visited the Council to learn about elections and democracy. She said that the Council was reviewing its Equality Impact Assessments with support from East Midlands Councils and that it would be engaging with and supporting the Rushcliffe Youth Forum.
In relation to future UKSPF funding schemes, the Service Manager for Economic Growth and Property said that the Council was starting to make plans now and so this gave opportunity to contribute. She noted that £100k of funding had been secured to install changing places toilets at Gresham and Cotgrave and that the Council was considering ideas to mark Chinese New Year in response to the growing Hong Kong community based in the Borough
The Chair referred to the Rushcliffe Community Cohesion Network and asked why it had finished in 2012. The Service Manager for Economic Growth and Property said that it had been one of the groups that the Council had supported as part of the Local Strategic Partnership and that it had disbanded when that support stopped, and she thought that it was now important to look at what other groups existed in its place.
The Chair asked whether the Recruiting Talent Event would be repeated and the Service Manager for Economic Growth and Property said that this could be organised.
The Vice Chair of Communities Scrutiny Group asked for more information about Disability Confident Employer accreditation and the Service Manager for Economic Growth and Property said that she would report back to the Group.
The Vice Chair of Communities Scrutiny Group referred to recording Councillor ethnicity and thought that it may help encourage a more diverse range of people to come forward. She noted that the Council had not reported any information about children with disabilities and thought that this would be available from Nottinghamshire County Council and would support making play areas and leisure centres more inclusive. She said that she was pleased to learn that the Council would be supporting Rushcliffe Youth Forum and suggested promoting Democracy Week to local schools. The Service Manager for Economic Growth and Property confirmed that the Elections Team was engaging with local schools.
The Chair of Communities Scrutiny Group referred to data about job applicants and asked whether it could be broken down to look at job type and disability. The Service Manager for Economic Growth and Property said that she would review what information the Council held. The Service Manager for Corporate Services explained that Officers did not have any knowledge about candidates’ disabilities when assessing and interviewing applicants, that it was only when a decision had been that this became available so that adjustments could be made if required.
The Chair of the Communities Scrutiny Group referred the Ellerslie Walking Group and disability sports groups and asked how they were created, whether the groups approached the Clubs or the other way around and whether there was scope for other local clubs to do the same. The Service Manager for Economic Growth and Property said that Ellerslie had applied for Reach Rushcliffe funding and had set it up with support from the Council’s Community Team, who worked with clubs across the Borough. She said that she would report back to the Group with more information.
The Group asked whether the Council provided information for the Hong Kong community and the Service Manager for Economic Growth and Property said that she had met with East Midlands Councils who were looking to run an event in Rushcliffe focussed on supporting and engaging with that community. The Group asked whether the Council had plans to celebrate other traditions such as Diwali.
The Chair of Communities Scrutiny Group asked whether there was any information available in relation to veterans, particularly in relation to housing and healthcare, to look at how best to signpost and tailor support. The Service Manager for Economic Growth and Property said that she would report back to the Group.
The Vice Chair of Governance Scrutiny Group referred to changing places toilets and suggested that there was need for one at West Bridgford Park as this had the most popular play area. In relation to West Bridgford, she said that there was a problem with café furniture moving across pavements creating difficulty for people with mobility issues. The Service Manager for Economic Growth and Property said she had visited the area recently to look at how best to address this.
The Chair of Governance Scrutiny Group referred to engagement with local schools and thought that it was beneficial for Councillors to engage with and visit their local schools. The Chair supported incorporating this into democracy week proposals.
The Chair of Governance Scrutiny Group referred to the gender pay gap and asked whether the Council monitored it at employee role level and the Service Manager for Economic Growth and Property confirmed that it did. The Chair of Growth and Development Scrutiny Group asked about reviewing Officer pay information to check that it was equitable, and the Service Manager for Corporate Services confirmed that information about senior staff salaries was publicly available and that staff salary in general was the responsibility of the Head of Paid Service. The Service Manager for Corporate Services agreed to feedback comments from the Group to the Head of Paid Service for review.
It was RESOLVED that the Corporate Overview Group:
a) considers and endorses the report information provided for the diversity annual report
b) reviews 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.