Equality and diversity
The Council's Equality Scheme
Tandridge District Council has a published Equality Scheme which details the corporate commitment to equality and diversity and ensuring that we meet all of the requirements of the Equalities Act 2010.
The Equality Framework for Local Government
The Equality Framework for Local Government (EFLG) is a national standard. It was developed to help local authorities improve their performance in delivering equality of opportunity and valuing diversity and to help them to mainstream equality into all of the workings of the authority. It also serves as a benchmarking tool to enable one local authority to compare its performance against others.
It was developed from the former Equality Standard for Local Government (ESLG) and was introduced in October 2009 when it replaced the ESLG.
The EFLG has five areas of performance against which performance is assessed. They are:
- Knowing your communities and equality mapping
- Place shaping, leadership, partnership and organisational commitment
- Community engagement and satisfaction
- Responsive services and customer care
- A modern and diverse workforce
It has three levels of performance/attainment which are
- Developing - understanding the importance of equality
- Achieving - achieving better equality outcomes
- Excellent - truly making a difference across all of the protected characteristics
The Council adopted the (former) ESLG and self-assessed itself as being at Level 3 (out of 5 Levels) of that Standard. This self assessment was externally validated which confirmed the Council’s rating as a ‘good’ authority in this respect.
The Council has also completed a self assessment against the five performance areas which confirmed that it meets the ‘achieving’ requirements of the EFLG.
Equality Impact Assessments
The Council screens its policies and services to assess those most likely to impact on different groups of people. Equalities Impact Assessments (EIAs) have been carried out for those likely to have the greatest impact to make sure that they do not discriminate. These assess and record the actual, likely or potential impact on different groups of people so that any negative consequences can be eliminated or minimised. It also identifies unmet need which can be used as the basis of service improvement.
The Council conducts an EIA at the planning stage when it is consider adopting something new or changing (in a way that would be consider to have an impact on the user) something that it already does or stopping something that it is doing.
An Improvement Plan is developed to outline the actions proposed to mitigate each identified actual or potential negative impact on any equality group (Including the Protected Characteristics defined within the Equality Act 2010). Actions from this Improvement Plan should be included as part of the final report and implementation taken forward as a part of the process.
Copies of Equalities Impact Assessments undertaken by the council are available here.
Equality & Diversity Champion
The Chief Finance Officer is the Equality and Diversity Champion within the Council. The lead officer is supported by officers from other departments and is a permanent member of the Corporate Management Team.
Equalities Monitoring of the Council’s workforce
The Council collects data on the characteristics (the ‘equality profile’) of its work force against many of the protected characteristics as defined in the Equality Act 2010. Similarly it collects data on applicants for employment with the Council.
It does this to understand and help ensure that its recruitment and employment policies, procedures and practices do not have the affect of unlawfully discriminating against people who share a particular characteristic. Periodical assessment of the data helps the Council to understand the impact of its policies and whether or not they need to be adapted to encourage greater representation of underrepresented groups.
The Council has been monitoring in detail for the protected characteristics of age, disability, race/ethnicity and sex (gender).
It analyses the equality profile of people under the following criteria:
- Overall employment
- Access to training and development
- Discipline and grievance cases
- Performance Appraisal outcomes
- Staff turnover (the number of leavers)
- Internal promotions
- External recruitment
The equality profile of the overall workforce (303 in total) of the Council shows a reasonable balance between male (53%) and female (47%) employees (in the year 2012/13).
Of the overall employees, 22 (7.3%) have declared that they have a disability that is recognised under the definitions set out in the Equality Act 2010. This reasonably reflects the representation of disabled people in the community who are available for work.
There is a low representation of employees from minority ethnic groups but the level is consistent with the representation of minority groups in the community in which the significant majority (94% - 2011 census figure) describe themselves as ‘white’.
From the review of the data on applicants for employment, the most significant conclusion is that there is a disproportionately low representation of applicants who declare that they have a disability. Although the equality monitoring data on job applicants is separated from the application form immediately on receipt such that those who are involved in the selection are unaware of this characteristic, this low representation may indicate reluctance on the part of disabled applicants to declare their disability when making their application.
The council is regularly audited to ensure that is adhering to the principles of the Two Ticks symbol which demonstrates that it has appropriate procedures in place for the recruitment and development of staff who have a disability.
Regardless, the Council is looking at ways in which it can present itself better as an employer that welcomes applications from members of the community who are disabled.
Equal Pay Audit
As part of its equality monitoring of its workforce, in 2014, the Council conducted an Equal Pay Audit. This was to review whether or not there was an unacceptable and unjustifiable gap between the pay of female and male staff. The audit would help ensure that the Council’s pay and reward policies and practice and other payments and allowances are fair, transparent and discrimination free.
The audit includes workforce composition by:
- Full Time
- Part Time
- Permanent Contract
- Temporary / Fixed
- Term time contract
- Ethnicity and Grade
- Average pay
The audit was carried out by a person independent of the Council. Whereas no major discrepancies were identified the auditor made a number of recommendations to help ensure that the reward arrangements are fair and discrimination free and to minimise the potential risk of an equal pay complaint. All of the recommendations have been acted upon.
The Council carries out regular staff satisfaction surveys. The next one is planned for autumn 2016. It includes a question on whether staff, disaggregated by six of the current protected characteristics, felt that they were discriminated against because of their particular characteristics.