Our approach to dealing with and promoting equality issues
What are our equality responsibilities?
We, the Borough Council, have a long standing commitment to equalities, having first adopted an Equality Policy in the early 1990’s. Since then our policies and procedures have evolved in line with legislative changes to ensure we continue to comply with the equalities legislation and recommended practice.
We're committed to equality of opportunity for residents, visitors and employees. And we will take all necessary and appropriate steps to ensure we comply with equalities legislation.
We also recognise that we have a role in promoting equality of opportunity and challenging discrimination. Our role as a community leader, service provider and employer places us in a unique position to:
- work actively towards eliminating unlawful discrimination
- help ensure residents and employees maximise their contribution within west Norfolk
Through our Equality Policy we've set out how we seek to ensure equality for all of our residents, visitors and our employees. We aim to do this through:
- the delivery of accessible and fair services
- treating our employees and service users with fairness and respect
- ensuring all contractors and other third party organisations we work with share our commitment to equalities
What is the Public Sector Equality Duty?
The Equality Act 2010 introduces the ‘public sector equality duty’, which is made up of a general duty supported by specific duties. The ‘general equality duty’ is the overarching requirement or substance of the duty. And the ‘specific duties’ are intended to help performance on the general equality duty.
The general equality duty requires public authorities, in the exercise of their functions, to have due regard to the need to:
- eliminate discrimination, harassment and victimisation or any other conduct prohibited by the act in relation to the protected characteristics
- advance equality of opportunity between all persons; and
- foster good relations between groups of people sharing a protected characteristic and those that do not
What are our specific duties in relation to the Equality Act 2010?
In addition to complying with the ‘general equality duty’, the Equality Act 2010 (Specific Duties) Regulations came into force in September 2011. These require public bodies to:
- publish information to demonstrate their compliance with the general equality duty; this information must be published by 31 January 2012
- set specific, measurable equality objectives by 6 April 2012
The information published must include information relating to people who share a relevant protected characteristic who are:
- it's employees
- people affected by its policies and practices (for example, service users)
What equality information must we publish about our employees?
We're required to publish a range of information in relation to employees. Our aims regarding equalities in employment are outlined in appendix A of the Equality Policy.
Monitoring of a range of employment functions is undertaken annually. The results from this are published in the Annual Employment Monitoring Report.
We also have a policy statement on Harassment at Work. This states that all employees have a right to be treated with dignity and respect. It outlines the steps we will take to ensure this right is protected.
What equality information must we publish about our services?
We publish a wide range of key information on performance, service provision, decisions made and the population we serve. This is used to inform decisions about policies and services.
What are our equality objectives?
A number of equality objectives have been developed to support our corporate business plan. The business plan defines our priorities for the next four years.
Equality Objectives – Services
- use fair and evidence based decision making when reviewing Council policies, services and functions, including ensuring equality implications are taken into consideration
- improve the quality of life for people in west Norfolk through improved access to information and services
- ensure the Council’s approach to equalities issues are regularly reviewed and promoted
Equality Objectives – Employment
- maintain a diverse workforce that reflects the community that we serve
- maintain a working environment that is inclusive and where all staff are treated fairly
- ensure all our employment policies, practices and procedures comply with equalities legislation
Achievement of our equality objectives is supported by an annual action plan, with regular monitoring of progress against the agreed actions for the year. We've produced a report on our progress towards the achievement of our equality objectives during the 2018 year.
What are our employment policies in relation to equalities?
We, as a major employer in west Norfolk, wholeheartedly support the principle of equal opportunity in employment. And we oppose all forms of unlawful or unfair discrimination. The employment related sections of this policy therefore concern all matters directly or indirectly related to employment affecting individuals or groups whether they are actual or potential employees.
We believe that it is in our best interests, and those of all who work for us or who live in the area, to ensure that the human resources, talents and skills available throughout the community are considered when employment opportunities arise. Every possible step will be taken to ensure that:
- individuals are treated fairly
- all employment related decisions are based solely on objective, justifiable and job related criteria
We're committed not only to the legal obligations placed upon it by equalities legislation, but also to the positive promotion of equal opportunities in all aspects of employment. With this in mind, we will ensure that all our employment policies, procedures, guidelines and practices reflect and reinforce our commitment to equality.
Our aim is to create a working environment which is supportive, prejudice free and which reflects the diversity of our local population.
Those applying for jobs with us are encouraged to read our specific policies which are relevant to recruitment processes:
What are our obligations with regards gender pay gap reporting?
The Equality Act 2010 (Specific Duties and Public Authorities) Regulations 2017 require relevant public bodies to publish, on an annual basis, six ‘pay metrics’. 'Relevant employers' are those which on the 'snapshot date' (31 March) have 250 or more employees. Employers have a year from the snapshot date to publish their first data, and must then report annually. We're covered by this legislation and have complied with the various requirements, as outlined below.
In addition, Alive West Norfolk (a wholly owned company of the Borough Council of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk) is required to comply with the requirements of the Equality Act 2010 (Gender Pay Gap Information) Regulations 2017. They are required to publish data by 5 April annually. Information in relation to Alive West Norfolk is also given below.
If you wish to learn more about the Council’s gender pay gap information, please view the following documents: