The Diversity and Inclusion Lead provided the Committee with an overview of the Gender Pay Gap Report for 2021. The main message was that overall gender equality remains a strength at Slough Borough Council. Nevertheless the Council was committed to continuing to improve gender equality in its workforce through the range of recommendations set out in the report.
Members raised questions on the timeline for policy reviews within the report, on the distinction between mean and median statistics, and on the quite high degree of volatility in the reported figures. It was explained that there was a HR schedule of policy development and that further information and details on timelines and dates for the HR Policy Schedule Review would be provided to the Committee. On the mean and median statistics the Diversity and Inclusion Lead acknowledged that the Council would carry out more analysis and break the figures down further as improvements in the Agresso system would mean improved data interrogation ability. On the high degree of volatility in figures, it was explained that this was partly due to just 2 years figures being presented in the report, and that the transformation programme and restructure had had an impact on statistics, for example in Phase One of the restructure the Council’s senior leadership was significantly reduced in number.
Some Members also raised concerns on the number of women in apprenticeship programmes and the number of women in Director-level appointments. It was explained that the subject of apprenticeships would be covered in more detail under Item 5 of the Agenda in the Annual Workforce Profile Report. On the lower number of women in Director-level positions, the Diversity and Inclusion Lead acknowledged that there was no easy answer on this, as such appointments would depend on the candidates available and the layer from which they were being recruited. It was common that part-time working and caring responsibilities increased for women later in their careers. The main priority for Slough Borough Council was that those who wanted to progress were given the opportunity to do so.
Members also suggested that it was important, in the report recommendations, to highlight areas where the Council was doing well and getting things right as well as making new recommendations, so as not to lose any of the best practices that were already in place. There was also a reminder on recruitment policy that the workforce of the Council should represent the community it serves.
Finally Committee Members made a general request that where specific questions were asked which could not be answered immediately, that the answer be provided by email to all Committee Members following the meeting rather than waiting for the next Committee Meeting. The Associate Director, Customer & HR agreed to this request.
At the conclusion of the discussion, the report and associated recommendations were noted.
Resolved – that details of the report be noted.