Annual Statement of Equality

1. Introduction

South Norfolk Council is strongly committed to equal opportunities and treatment in all aspects of the Council’s activities and our vision is to provide an environment where all people thrive, physically, mentally, socially and economically.

It’s the aim of the Council to ensure that all people are equally valued regardless of their age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief and sex (gender).

The Council believes that discrimination in any form is unacceptable and will comply with relevant legislation and best practice.

The Council aims to ensure that no user of its services suffers detriment, disadvantage or unequal treatment and seeks to provide an environment in which staff and members of the public are treated with dignity and respect and free from any form of harassment or intimidation.

2. The Public Sector Equalities Duty (PSED)

The Council is subject to the public-sector equality duty which is supported by specific duties. The general equality duty requires public authorities, in the exercise of their functions, to have due regard to the need to:

  • Eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation and other conduct prohibited by or under the Act.
  • Advance equality of opportunity.
  • Foster good relations between people who share a relevant protected characteristic and those who do not share it.

2.1 Having due regard means:

  • Removing or minimising disadvantages suffered by people due to their protected characteristics
  • Taking steps to meet the needs of people from protected groups where these are different from the needs of other people
  • Encouraging people from protected groups to participate in public life or in other activities where their participation is disproportionately low

3.  Equalities Statement

Our vision states that we want people to reach their potential and be able to use our services in a way that meets their needs. We aim to engender an inclusive approach as a community leader, service provider and employer of choice. The commitments outlined in this document applies to Councillors and staff and sets standards for others who deliver services on our behalf.

4. South Norfolk Council District-  Equalities Information

Under the Equality Act (2010) we publish information about how we comply with the Public Sector Equality Duty. This must include information about people who share a protected characteristic, who are our employees and people affected by what we do.

We collect information about the protected characteristics of people that use our services and our employees, only where this is relevant to what we do and the decisions we take. Information about our population is provided below.

5. South Norfolk Council District - Our Resident’s Profile  

South Norfolk is mostly an affluent district, with an ageing population and low levels of deprivation – this is a similar profile to Norfolk county. The total population of South Norfolk is estimated to be 135,000 with 54,620 households.

According to the 2011 census report from the Office of National Statistic (ONS), the average age of South Norfolk’s population is 43 years old with 39.3% of its population aged between 30 and 59 years old. The age structure of South Norfolk matches that of both Norfolk and England overall.

The majority (95.2%) of South Norfolk residents’ class themselves as ‘White British’ which is 15.4% higher than national figures. 4.8% or 6,200 of South Norfolk’s residents belong to an ethnic minority group which is low when compared to the national average of 20.2%.

South Norfolk’s religious demographic mirrors that of the rest of the county with an estimated 62.3% of the population following Christianity and 36.4% not identifying with any religion.

More than 55% of South Norfolk’s population is married which is 8.9% higher than the national average. Out of the remaining population 7.3% are widowed which is most likely to be because of the age profile of South Norfolk.

Overall South Norfolk has relatively good or very good health (82%) which is slightly higher than national figures however 7.4% of the population have long term health problems which limit their day-to-day activities.

6. Community Cohesion

6.1 The council continues to lead, promote and participate in many activities which supports community cohesion and helps to foster good community relations.

Some examples of how our Community Connectors work with communities, especially those groups protected by the Act are shown below:   

  • Regular engagement with and support to the South Norfolk Older Persons Forum
  • Regular engagement with and support to the South Norfolk Youth Advisory Board
  • Engagement with various local support or specialist groups such as The Ring which is a peer to peer support group for people with rheumatoid and other kinds of inflammatory arthritis.
  • Being the lead organisation in developing the South Norfolk Dementia Action Alliance
  • The connectors frequently are in contact with all sorts of groups and to demonstrate the types of activities they have been involved in are:
    • mother and toddler groups
    • religious
    • groups (multiple),
    • care uk and the carers council (carers support),
    • clinks care farm (specialising in mental health provision)
    • dementia groups, U3A (university of the third age)
    • men’s shed (men and mental health).
  • We are a member of the CREN (community relations and equalities network)
  • Working with the wider G&T community
  • Awarding funding to a consortium of partners to deliver a project seeking to alleviate the loneliness and its effects and making links to “voice groups” who can offer guidance and support in engaging with marginalised groups.

6.2 Interpretation and Translation Services

6.1 SNC subscribes annually to INTRAN which provides Interpretation and translation services which are crucial for public-facing organisation.

By providing translation services allows our residents to:

  • be aware of their rights
  • communicate their specific needs
  • access public services
  • understand their options.

6.3 Intran Statistics

During 2017/18, SNC received 27 translation booking requests in 7 languages:

  • Bulgarian (18 requests)
  • Bengali (3 requests)
  • Polish (2 requests)
  • Other languages requests were Urdu, Russian, Lithuanian, and Greek.

7. Workforce Profile - Our Employees

7.1 Workforce Headcount

Our workforce profile forms part of the equality information that we use to help us meet our duty to eliminate discrimination and harassment, promote equality of opportunities and foster good relations between different groups within our workforce.

The data relates only to staff who are directly employed by South Norfolk Council including those who are on secondment; it excludes those staff who are engaged as temporary staff.

As of 31.8.2018, 468 individuals were employed by South Norfolk Council.

7.2 Gender/Sex

51% of the council’s workforce is male which is reflective of the South Norfolk Council population which shows 49% are male.

24% of the workforce work part time staff of which 19% are female.

Our flexible working opportunities enable us to attract and retain talent and specifically helps support both female and male employees to gain employment when childcare and or parental responsibilities are supported.

This is particularly evident when considering South Norfolk councils Gender Pay Results which states South Norfolk Council gender pay gap is -0.3% which means that our female employees are earning slightly more than male employees. A link to the full results can be accessed by clicking on this link:

https://www.south-norfolk.gov.uk/sites/default/files/Gender%20pay%20statement2018.pdf

7.3 Disability

The number of employees declaring a disability is 2.56% of which 83% are male. It should be noted that 71% of employees have stated they do not have a disability and 25% have not declared if they have a disability or not.

7.4 Race

The majority of employees (78%) have declared their race, however, for publishing purposes, we have not showed specific categories so as not to inadvertently identify any individual

7.5 Religion and Belief

70% have recorded their religious nomination including ‘no religion’ with a further 7% selecting ‘preferred not to say’ option which tells us that 23% of employees have chosen not to declare their religion.

7.6 Sexual Orientation

69% have recorded their sexual orientation with a further 7% selected ‘preferred not to say’ option which shows that 24% of employees have not declared their sexual orientation.

7.7 Age Profile

The age profile at SNC suggests the highest proportion of people are aged between 35 – 44 with the majority of the remaining employees falling into the older categories.

Age Number %
Under 25 61 13.03
26 - 34 71 15.17
35 - 44 116 24.79
45 - 49 69 14.74
50 - 54 67 14.32
55 - 64 77 16.45
65 + 7 1.50

 

South Norfolk Council actively seeks apprentices and graduates, both have proven successful with very high numbers of apprentice applicants.

Whilst there is no age restriction for apprentices and graduates, they traditionally attract a younger applicant which encourages the development of the workforce in the lower age bracket.

7.8 Marriage and Civil Partnership

72% of our workforce have stated their marital status and a further 3% have stated they do not wish to disclose that information.

7.9 Pregnancy & Maternity

In 2017-18, 4 staff were on maternity and three took paternity leave.  

8. Employment policies that supports equalities and diversity

8.1 Disability confident scheme

South Norfolk Council has been awarded the Disability Confident standard. We are committed to working with the Job Centre and the Department of Work and Pensions to support and promote disabled people in the workplace. This includes:

  • Ensuring our recruitment process is free from discrimination and available through a range of channels
  • Making job advertisements accessible including providing information in accessible formats if required
  • Offering an interview to those candidates who have a disability and meet the essential criteria for the role (detailed in the job description)
  • Making reasonable adjustments as required.

8.2 Maternity, Paternity and adoption

This policy sets out the provisions employees are entitled to, both before and after the birth of their child. These provisions comply with relevant legislation and apply to all staff employed by South Norfolk Council (SNC).

Employees are protected against discrimination when pregnant, because of a pregnancy related illness or for up to two weeks after a pregnancy ends.

8.3 Flexible Working Policy

This policy is in place to ensure that flexible working requests and working arrangements of South Norfolk Council (SNC) employees are managed in a fair and consistent manner. 

Flexible working describes a working pattern which is requested by an employee to suit their needs. An employee considering requesting a change in work pattern should speak to their manager at the earliest opportunity to explore what options may be available.

Employees are expected to adhere to this policy in line with the Council’s obligations under equality legislation. Managers must ensure that all reasonable adjustments or supportive measures are considered to allow equality of access and opportunity regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability, faith or religion, gender identity, pregnancy or marital status.

8.4 Absence Management

This policy is to ensure that the absence management of South Norfolk Council’s employees is managed in a fair and consistent manner. It is regularly reviewed to ensure it meets the Council’s aims and objectives, changes in employment legislation and other best practice initiatives.

This policy is also to recognise and support those who are absent as a result of a disability in accordance with the Equality Act 2010.

8.5 Gender Reassignment

South Norfolk Council is strongly committed to equality of opportunity and treatment in all aspects of the Council’s activities.  This policy sets out to ensure that everyone is treated with equal dignity, fairness and respect regardless of their gender identity.

8.6 Training and Development

Being an IiP Platinum accredited employer, we are recognised for our commitment to support informal and formal training interventions which are available to all employees.

9. Equalities Objectives

Under the Equality Act (2010) we must prepare and publish one or more objectives to show how we will achieve any of the things mentioned in the aims of the public sector equality duty.

SNC’s equalities objectives aims to strengthen performance relating to the Public Sector Equalities Duty and by creating objectives ensures we focus on achieving specific outcomes that have an important part in enabling the Council to demonstrate compliance with the PSED.

SNC’s equalities objectives are published in our Equalities statement which is due to be reviewed every 4 years i.e. in 2020.

https://www.south-norfolk.gov.uk/sites/default/files/Equalties_Statement_2016.pdf