How Wakefield Council is working to make sure everyone is treated fairly

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1 How Wakefield Council is working to make sure everyone is treated fairly As part of meeting the Public Sector Equality Duty, the Council is required to publish information on how it is working to treat everyone fairly. What is meant by treating everyone fairly? Put simply, this means treating everyone as equals. Making sure everyone has the same chances and opportunities by taking into consideration their different needs. It means recognising that although we are all equal, we are all different too. Certain needs or characteristics of a person could mean they are more at risk of their needs not being met. These include the following: Age Disability Marriage and civil partnership Pregnancy and maternity Race Religion and belief Sex Sexual Orientation Transgender 1. Knowing our citizens and communities Wakefield Council, along with other organisations within the Wakefield district, has brought together important facts about its citizens and communities. This includes information on how the population is changing and whether as a whole we are getting healthier, wealthier or more satisfied. This detailed information is set out in the Wakefield Together State of the District report, which is updated twice each year. A summary of key points in relation to the district s population characteristics are shown in table 1 below.

2 Table 1: Characteristics of the Wakefield District Population Age Gender Ethnicity In 2012, the resident population of the Wakefield district was estimated to be 327,627. Over the next 9 years (mid to 2021) the population is forecast to grow by 7%, to 350,459 people. In 2012 there were 160,827 male and 166,800 female residents in the Wakefield district. The difference in the numbers is more pronounced among the older age groups. For example, there are 5,229 males aged 80 and above and 9,260 females. Wakefield has a relatively small but growing ethnic minority population. In the 2001 Census, 96.7% of people identified themselves as White British; at the 2011 Census this had fallen to 92.8%. Conversely, the size of the district s ethnic population has grown from 3.3% to 7.2%. The two largest ethnic minority groups are: Asian / Asian British up from 1.4% in 2001 to 2.7% in 2011; and White Other up from 0.7% to 2.3%. The expansion of the European Union in 2004 produced an increase in economic migrants coming to Wakefield. The 2011 Census identifies 2.4% of the Wakefield population as being born in the European Union States (EU) equating to around 7,800 residents. The majority of these have come from Poland (up from 173 in 2001 to 4,288 in 2011), with smaller numbers from Slovakia and Latvia and the other new EU countries. The migrants have tended to be young, single people planning to stay for a relatively short time and the majority have found low-skilled, low-paid employment in warehouses and distribution centres. In all, 10,816 people currently in Wakefield arrived from outside the UK in the last ten years. There are just over 100 different languages spoken among the district s school children. The size of the asylum seeker population being supported has also fallen markedly in recent years, to just 20 people in September 2013, down from 565 people at the beginning of Disability Marriage/civil partnership Pregnancy and maternity We know that a large number of people in the Wakefield district suffer from ill health that prevents them from working; approximately 8% (17,100) of working age residents claim Incapacity Benefit or Employment and Support Allowance (IB/ESA). This is higher than the Yorkshire and Humber average. At the time of 2011 Census, 30.9% people aged 16 and over were single; 48.2% of people were married; 0.2% (476 people) were in a same-sex civil partnership; 2.6% of people were separated but still in a marriage or civil partnership; and 10.5% of people were divorced or were in a civil partnership now legally dissolved. In 2012 there were 4,210 live births to mothers usually resident in the Wakefield district. 13.3% of live births in 2012 were to mothers born outside the UK. Religion According to the 2011 Census, the majority of the district s population (around 66% or 216,000 people) class themselves as Christian. This figure fell from 78% in 2001 in line with national trends. There has also been a corresponding increase in the number of people who describe themselves as having no religion. In 2011, around 24% (over 79,000 people) described themselves as having no religion - more than double the amount compared to ten years earlier. In addition, in 2011 around 6% did not state their religion. There was also an increase in the number of Muslims, up from 1.1% (3,600 people) in 2001 to 2% (6,500 people) in All other religious groups combined continue to make up less than 1% of the districts population. Sexual Orientation In a local survey data from 2009, 1.26% of people described themselves as gay or lesbian, which equates to around 4,100 people across the district as a whole. A further 2.47% of people described themselves as bi-sexual, equating to around 8,100 people in total.

3 Understanding the needs of our citizens and communities Corporate Plan The Council has in place a Corporate Plan that is set out in the Wakefield District Plan The Plan sets out the Council s overall aim to stand up for Wakefield, for all who live, work, visit and do business in the district. To achieve this, the Council s focus for the next three years will be: To continue to get the basics right - to maintain our quality services even in financially challenging times and seek to improve those services where priorities allow; To continue to protect our most vulnerable citizens; and To invest in the future to ensure the long term success of the district. The Council also has in place a number of documents and initiatives that help guide how it deals with specific customers and citizens generally. These are listed below. Equality and Diversity Policy This policy sets out how the Council will make sure it does not treat people worse than other people because of a protected characteristic, both at work and when delivering services. Find out more about the Equality and Diversity Policy Engagement Strategy This strategy sets out how the Council and other local organisations make sure individuals and groups within communities can become involved in the making of decisions, no matter what their circumstances and/or the amount of involvement they want. This includes targeted engagement with people that have certain protected characteristics. Find out more about the Engagement Strategy. Partnership Engagement The Council and its public sector partners across the district have created the Wakefield Together Equalities Partnership Group. The Group is working to find out (and share) the issues facing specific groups of people in the district to ensure these are fed back to managers to inform future decisions and service delivery. Area Based Working Wakefield Council and its public sector partners have created a new approach to making sure both individuals and groups are at the heart of decision making within their own areas. This is known as area based working and involves a direct link to local councillors as well as community groups and service providers such as the Council, Police, Wakefield and District Housing and Health. Area based working is supported by meetings which are open to all members of the public and provide an opportunity for issues to be raised. Citizen perception surveys Perception surveys are analysed by respondent characteristics. For example, results from the West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner s survey suggest that older people tend to be more satisfied with their local area as a place to live. Also, the survey found that women more likely to agree that the police and Council are tackling the crime and anti-social behaviour issues that matter.

4 Making sure service users are treated fairly A large number of our citizens also access our services directly: they are service users. To make sure the Council delivers its services in a way that meets people s needs, we have in place a number of policies and strategies that guide what we do and how we do it. Some of the main policies and strategies are outlined below. Customer Care Standards The Council has set out Customer Care Standards which guide how we meet, greet and treat customers and service users across a range of different access channels. The standards describe how people can expect to be treated and help ensure they receive high quality, customer-focused services. Procurement Strategy This Strategy sets out how Wakefield Council makes sure the organisations it uses to deliver its services meet all the requirements and standards the Council expects - this includes the Public Sector Equality Duty. This includes making sure the chosen organisations have an Equality and Diversity Policy that mentions all nine protected characteristics and that the services being carried out are assessed as to whether or not there is the potential of a negative impact in respect of equality where a solution needs building into the contract. Comprehensive Impact assessments Wakefield Council has set up a comprehensive approach to checking the impact of its decisions and functions across a number of issues such as economic and environment, but more importantly the nine protected characteristics and the three arms of the Public Sector Equality Duty. The approach requires completion of a standard template known as a Comprehensive Impact Assessment (CIA). Resident satisfaction surveys The Council uses a number of different techniques to measure citizen satisfaction, including a reputation tracker telephone survey and the West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner s postal survey.

5 2. How Wakefield Council is making sure its employees are treated fairly? It is important the Council has an understanding of the people it employs. This means it can then make sure staff needs are understood, supported and managed well and service delivery is improved. Workforce profile Some of the Council s key workforce characteristics are set out in table 2 overleaf. Information in this profile refers to Council staff employed on both a permanent and temporary basis. It does, however, exclude casual/relief employees and those employed under the Future Jobs Fund initiative. Unless stated otherwise, the figures quoted are accurate as at the end of December In total the council employs 11,105 individual members of staff. This figure is inclusive of 6,569 non-school employees (4,977 full time equivalents) and 4,536 school employees (2,771 full time equivalents). Non-school staff (referred to in table 2 as council staff ) include the council s main front line services areas such as home care, children s services, street cleansing and waste collection as well as supporting back office functions such as finance and property management. School staff includes: teachers; administrative and support staff; teaching and nonteaching assistants and breakfast club and lunch time supervisors. School staff only includes those who are employed by the council, so does not include academies. Also, the figures do not include schools which have outsourced their payroll service.

6 Table 2: Workforce characteristics Age Gender Race Religion and belief Disability Council staff The age profile at the end of 2013 remained broadly static compared to the previous year. The average age of council staff is 46 years whilst the average age of the Wakefield district population is 40 years. Around three quarters of our employees are 40 or above and the majority (around 66%) are in the age bracket range. Around 9% of our employees are 29 or under. Recent research from the Local Government Association indicates that local government typically has an older age profile than the private sector and the economy as a whole. Wakefield Council s employee age profile reflects this. The gender profile at the end of 2013 remained broadly static compared to the previous year. The Council employs more women than men - around 71% of council employees are female and 29% are male. The majority of employees in the lower grade pay scales (G1-6) are female (77%). However, at higher grades, gender differences are less evident. Indeed, within the grades G7-12, 63% of employees are female. Above G12, around 58% of employees are female. Overall these figures do not reflect the gender balance in the working age population of the Wakefield district which has a male to female ratio of roughly 50:50 (ONS Population Estimates for England and Wales, Mid 2011 Census Based). However, according to the ONS Public Sector Employment Survey, the Council s gender profile is similar to that of local government as a whole with higher numbers of female employees (particularly part-time). The majority of council employees class themselves as White British (89%), a similar proportion to the rest of the district. Around 3.6% of Council employees declare themselves as being from a Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic (BAME) background. This is lower than the proportion of BAME residents living in the district (which according to recent figures from the 2011 Census is now around 7.2%). There are proportionally fewer BAME employees at lower grades compared to the Council as a whole. Around 36% of BAME employees are graded 1-6, compared to 59% of employees within the Council overall. Less than half of council staff declared their religion (around 42%). Out of those staff, around 63% describe themselves as Christian - which is in line with the district as a whole. Around 30% of employees who declare religion describe themselves as having no religion which is around 6% higher than the general population. Around 2% of employees declaring religion are Muslim which is in line with the district overall. Approximately 2% of staff are from other religions. Around 2.5% of employees declare themselves as disabled. The term disability refers to the legal definition set out in the original Disability Discrimination Act 1995 and includes a range of impairments including those linked to physical mobility, hearing, speech, sight or learning. It also includes depression, HIV and cancer. School staff The average age of school staff is 43 years, which again is above the average age for the district of 40 years. Around two thirds of the employees are 40 or above and the majority (around 60%) are in the age bracket range. Around 13% of the employees are 29 or under. Around 92% of employees are female and 8% are male with a disproportionately higher proportion of females in the lower grade pay scales (G1-6) compared to males. In respect of teaching roles, the percentage of females is disproportionately higher at primary level, but lower at secondary schools. Around 2.5% of school employees declare themselves as being from a Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic (BAME) background, which is lower than the proportion of BAME residents living in the district. Around 62% of BAME employees are graded 1-6, which is in line with the Council as a whole. Less than a fifth of school staff declared their religion (19.2%). Out of those who have, around 69% describe themselves as Christian which is slightly higher than the district as a whole. Around 26% of employees declare themselves as not having a religion which is in line with the Wakefield District as a whole. Around 3% of employees are Muslim and 2% from other religions. This is broadly in line with the district overall. Less than 1% of employees declare themselves as disabled as per the DDA definition.

7 Council staff School staff A direct comparison against the district as a whole is not available as disability data is not available at district level. However, as a proxy, approximately 8% (17,100) of working age residents claim Incapacity Benefit or Employment and Support Allowance (IB/ESA). Note: anecdotal evidence suggests that disability numbers for many organisations are typically underreported as employees are not always willing to declare themselves as disabled. The Council has an employee network for disabled staff and encourages those that are disabled to register as such so that any reasonable adjustments can be made to their working arrangements. Sexual Orientation Leavers and new starters Around a third of council staff declared their sexual orientation (34%). Out of those staff, around 3% of the workforce is Lesbian, Gay or Bisexual (LGB). Anecdotal evidence suggests that sexual orientation numbers for many organisations are typically underreported. The Council has an employee network for LGB staff and encourages those that are LGB to join and raise any issues in relation to sexual orientation. Although the Council is a large employer, prevailing economic conditions meant that the number of new starters over the last 12 months was relatively low. However, there was a larger numbers of leavers (although a significant amount of these were transfers to other organisations). Nevertheless, the net effect of these changes was limited change to the overall workforce profile during that period. The calendar year 2013 saw 280 new starters, most of who were female and employed at grades 1-6. The same period saw 685 leavers, the profile of which was broadly in line with the organisation as a whole. Over a third of these leavers were transfers to other organisations (mostly cleaning and catering staff to schools and other companies). Less than a fifth of school staff declared their sexual orientation (around 18%). Out of those staff, around 1% of the workforce is Lesbian, Gay or Bisexual (LGB). Again, anecdotal evidence suggests that sexual orientation numbers for many organisations are typically under-reported. The calendar year 2013 saw 449 new starters, most of who were female and employed at grades 1-6. The same period saw 1525 leavers, although 1,041 of these were classed as leavers due to schools converting to academy status. Marriage and Civil Partnerships Pregnancy and Maternity Gender Reassignment Full time/ part time It is estimated that just over half of council employees are married or in a civil partnership. This is broadly in line with the district as a whole, where the figure is around 48%. The Council is currently in the process of improving its people management information system which will support better collection, collation and monitoring of issues around pregnancy and maternity, such as return to work rates, etc. This information will be published as soon as possible. Due to the sensitive nature of this subject, and further to detailed discussions and advice from specific support groups relating to gender reassignment, the Council is currently exploring how best to ensure information in relation to this protected characteristic is published. Half of non-school staff are employed on a part-time basis, whilst within schools this rises to over two thirds of staff (around 73%) employed on a part-time basis.

8 Understanding the needs of our employees Best People Plan The Council has developed the Best People Plan which sets out the approach we are taking to make sure we get the best out of our most important asset: our employees. The Best People Plan sets out how the Council continues to invest in, develop and value its employees. It also recognises that new demands, new technologies and ways of working require the Council to continue to re-examine its skills base, and how it develops people at all levels and across all disciplines. The Council also has in place a number of policies and strategies that help guide how it deals with employees. These include: Equality and Diversity Policy The Equality and Diversity Policy sets out the way in which the Council will make sure it treats all its employees fairly and ensure no individual member of staff is treated worse than any other due to a particular protected characteristic they either have, thought to have or are associated with in being linked to another person. Harassment and Bullying Policy This policy sets out the requirement for Council employees to make sure they do not violate another employee s dignity or create an uncomfortable working environment because of a protected characteristic they either have, thought to have or are associated with in being linked to another person. Nominated Carer Leave Policy This policy sets the basis on which Council employees are able to take time off work to care for family members whether as a result of marriage or same sex relationships; old or young disabled people. Parental Leave Policy This policy sets the basis on which Council employees are able to take time off work as a result of having responsibilities for children. Sickness Absence Procedure This procedure sets out how Wakefield Council supports and manages people who do not turn up for work because they are sick. The policy acknowledges people could be off due to impairment, such as chronic fatigue syndrome or depression Retirement Policy This policy reflects the recent changes to abolish the former statutory retirement age of 65. Employees who reach the age of 65 do not now have to retire at the age of 65. Employee Networks To ensure the Council keeps track of, shares and addresses employee issues, it has established a number of networks, such as the Network for Disabled Staff.

9 Checking employees are being treated fairly (i) Stonewall Workplace Equality Index Wakefield Council uses the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index to provide an objective assessment on how well it is doing as an organisation in treating everyone fairly. Stonewall has identified where Wakefield Council is doing well: We have policies in place to ensure all employees are dealt with in a fair and just manner. We have resources in place to support the equality agenda. We have processes in place to check the impact of decisions in relation to equality i.e. Comprehensive Impact Assessment. We have employee networks which provide support and guidance to members of staff. But, we know there is more we can do to make sure we treat everyone fairly. This includes: More regular evaluation of policies to ensure they are working. Providing evidence of proactive equality work carried out by our senior champions. Working with our suppliers to make sure they are active in their commitment to treating everyone fairly. (ii) Employee equality survey The Council undertakes periodic employee surveys around equality issues. The most recent survey was conducted between July and August 2013, with over 600 responses received. The breakdown of those who took part in the survey was broadly representative of the workforce as a whole. The aim of the survey was to get a better understanding of employee views around how the Council treats staff with regard to equality issues. Overall responses to the equality survey were generally positive, with 86% of those responding to the survey feel the Council is committed to equal opportunities and 91% of respondents feel they are treated with respect by colleagues and peers with regard to equality. (iii) Have Your Say employee survey The Council undertakes regular Have your say surveys to measure overall employee satisfaction and identify areas for improvement. The results of these questionnaires are then used to develop action plans for each directorate.

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