Equality Watch 2018-19


We are proud to publish our annual Equality Watch Report 2018/19 which provides information on our workforce in accordance with the Equality Acts (2010) Public Sector Equality Duty which came into force in April 2011.  Under the Equality Act 2010 we have a statutory duty to ensure that we considers the needs of all individuals in their day to day work – in shaping policy, delivering services and in relation to ouor employees. The Act requires all public sector bodies to publish annual information to demonstrate their compliance with the general equality duty.

This report helps monitor our progress on achieving a workforce that is representative of the borough’s resident population. The statistical analysis also provides information on the areas where under-representation is apparent and helps us to identify positive actions.

The report is designed to offer a snapshot on our workforce information. We remain one of the biggest employers in the borough with 68% of our employees living in the borough.

Our priorities

We continue to focus on allocating our budget for the things people value and need the most - in other words, our priorities, which are:

  1. Creating more jobs and supporting business
  2. Improving housing quality and building more houses
  3. Improving health and well-being
  4. Improving outcomes for young people
  5. Safeguarding the most vulnerable people
  6. Making your money go further

Increased effort is also going into helping people play a greater role in improving things for us all and shaping our towns and improving community life through the Your Call campaign.

Harry Catherall - Chief Executive 2012-2019

Organisational context

We continue to find ways to manage the unprecedented reduction in the financial budget allocated to us by Central Government.  Subsequently, the last twelve months have again limited our ability to increase areas of under-represented groups in the organisations workforce profile as identified in previous Equality Watch Reports as we continue to limit external recruitment activity.

There are still some gaps in the information relating to our employees ethnicity and disability status as employees have not chosen to provide this information to us, however, our HR and Payroll system does enable our employees to update their own records through a self-service approach, which should provide more robust and inclusive information about our workforce demographics.

We continue to be completely committed to ensuring a fair and diverse workforce, with equality for everyone.

An important part of quantifying our equality commitment is to monitor our workforce profile.  Monitoring and analysing workforce data in this way is crucial as it enables us to compare our workforce to our local population, identifying gaps which may need positive action, which can then influence our Recruitment Strategy.  Our commitment to ensuring we operate fairly and equitably extends beyond our workforce and also includes service delivery.  The information collected is used to:

  • inform and develop equality objectives
  • inform and evolve the Council’s Recruitment Strategy
  • inform the work of Management Board and our associated organisational development objectives
  • inform employment policy and practices
  • support departmental polices and service areas

Two key strategies continue to underpin our approach to equality and diversity:

Our People Strategy – ‘The Workforce Wheel’, continues to outline what we expect of our employees and what they can expect from us.  Ensuring equality for all employees and embracing the diversity of our workforce is a key element of the Strategy and inherent in all segments of the Workforce Wheel.

Our Recruitment Strategy – launched in Spring 2018, it clearly sets out our aspirations for 2018 and beyond in terms of filling roles we have available.  A key part of this strategy is to start opening our doors and recruiting externally where possible and where we cannot fill internally, which will start allow us the opportunity to influence our workforce diversity.

Reduction of workforce numbers: 2010- 2018

The workforce and departmental distribution continues to be determined by the reduction in funding meaning political drive and decision making is re-shaping the organisations service offer and changing our priorities.

Accordingly, the organisational headcount has decreased significantly over the last eight years which is outlined in the table below as an overall organisational picture – from 3052 employees in 2010 to 2121 employees in 2018.  Although, we have seen a small increase in employee numbers in the last 12 months.

Reduction of workforce numbers: 2010 - 2018
Year 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 Overall Reduction
No. of Employees 3052 2850 2864 2680 2520 2312 2265 2103 2121 931

The Council has continued to make efforts to prioritise the redeployment of employees at risk of redundancy so the number of vacancies recruited to externally has been kept to a minimum.  However, we acknowledge that it is also crucial we have people with the right skills, attributes and experience in the right roles, so where we cannot fill roles internally, our new Recruitment Strategy facilitated opportunities for us to advertise and appoint externally.

Graph: Employee numbers by year 2010 to 2018

Workforce profile


As at 30 November 2018, our workforce was made up of employees on permanent, fixed term or seasonal contracts, including multiple contracts, the total headcount within the Council was 2121.  This is the total used throughout the Equality Watch Report 2018/19. (These figures do not include school employees, Councillors, Partnership posts or casual posts). 

Our functions are split into three Programme areas: People, Place, Resources and then further split into Departments, each of which delivers a specific type of service, either directly or indirectly to residents of the Borough.  The headcount per department is shown in the table below.

Programme Area Department Total
People Adults, Communities and Prevention 393
Children's Services 518
Public Health & Wellbeing 192
Schools & Education 82
People Total 1185
Place Environment & Operations 222
Growth & Development 269
Growth Lancashire Ltd 13
Strategy & Funding 6
Place Total 510
Resources Chief Executives 18
Digital & Business Change 131
Finance 183
HR, Legal & Governance 94
Resources Total 426
Grand Total   2121

Age profile

The table and graph below shows the age profile of our employees in comparison to the local population figures.  The breakdown remains broadly consistent across all age categories as in previous years.  The average age of an employee here is 44.9 years.

We have seen an increase in the number of employees aged 16 – 24 in the last 12 months from 85 to 111.  This is still low when compared with the local working age population so we know we have some work to do here with regards to our Recruitment Strategy to ensure we do attract young people to the roles we advertise externally.  Part of the solution is our continued commitment to our Annual Apprenticeship Scheme and we have already started planning for our 2019 intake.

Age profile
Age Range Total No. of Employees % of Workforce (16 - 64) Mid-2017 (Working Age Only) * % of Borough (16 - 64) Difference
16 - 24 111 5.4% 16,848 18.2% -12.8%
25 - 34 339 16.4% 20,409 22.0% -5.6%
35 - 44 542 26.2% 19,398 20.9% 5.3%
45 - 54 605 29.2% 19,980 21.5% 7.7%
55 - 64 475 22.9% 16,184 17.4% 5.5%
Total 2072   92,819    
65+ 49        
Grand Total 2121        


Graph: Compare- age of workforce against age of population

Graph: Compare age of workforce against age of population

Ethnicity profile

The tables below show the breakdown of headcount by ethnicity. Almost three quarters of the workforce are from a white ethnic background and a further 16.9% are from a BME (Black and Minority Ethnic) background which is an increase of 1.1% from the following year.

The figures compared with the local population profile in relation to ethnicity, demonstrate an under-representation of the workforce with regards to ethnicity, as 16.9% of the workforce have stated their ethnicity to be BME compared to 30% of the working age population estimates.

Nearly 6.8% of employees are yet to update their personal employee record with regards to their ethnicity.  The HR and Payroll system has self-service functionality which allows employees to update their personal records accordingly and we are keen to understand the ethnicity of all employees so we continue to encourage completion of this field.  The field is mandatory for all new starters who join the organisation.

Summary of ethnicity of employees
  Total No. of BwDBC Employees BwD Population Difference
Ethnicity No. % % %
White 1580 74.49% 69.2% 5.29%
BME 358 16.88% 30.0% -13.12%
Other 8 0.38% 0.8% -0.42%
Not Known 144 6.79% / /
Prefer not to say 31 1.46% / /
Grand Total 2121      

Graph: % of workforce by ethnicity

Graph: % of workforce by ethnicity

Ethnicity breakdown for the organisation
Ethnicity Total No. of BwDBC Employees BwD Population (Census 2011) Difference
  No. % % %
Asian or Asian British 11 0.52% 1.1% -0.6%
Bangladeshi 3 0.14% 1.0% -0.9%
Black 11 0.52% 0.6% -0.1%
Chinese 1 0.05% 0.5% -0.4%
Indian 209 9.85% 13.4% -3.6%
Mixed 12 0.57% 1.2% -0.7%
Pakistani 111 5.23% 12.1% -6.8%
Polish 3 0.14%   0.1%
White 1580 74.49% 69.2% 5.3%
Other 5 0.24% 0.8% -0.6%
Not Known 144 6.79%    
Prefer not to say 31 1.46%    
Grand Total 2121      

Over recent years there has been limited opportunity to influence the workforce demographics with regards to ethnicity as the majority of recruitment has been internally from within our own workforce – however, set out in our Recruitment Strategy, where we advertise externally, we work hard to raise awareness of our vacancies and encourage applications from all sections of our community.  We work with partner organisations to raise awareness of our roles, utilise social media as the fastest growing engagement tool and encourage interested applicants to sign up to our email alerts for vacancies to ensure we retain their interest.

Gender profile

The table below shows that the Council has a predominantly female workforce (two thirds) and this has remained consistently the case for many years.

Gender Total No. of Employees % of Workforce
Female 1440 67.9%
Male 681 32.1%
Grand Total 2121  

Gender Pay Report

The Equality Act 2010 (Gender Pay Gap Information) Regulations came into effect in March 2017. They require that organisations with 250 employees or more publish a series of statistics covering a number of different measures of the gap between the total pay of male and female employees.

The regulations provide that the following five measures must be published:

  • Mean average total female pay as a % of total male pay
  • Median total female pay as a % of total male pay
  • Mean average total female bonus pay as a % of total male bonus pay
  • The proportion of males and females who receive bonus pay in each pay quartile
  • The number of male and female employees in each of four equal pay bands or quartiles

These measures must be published, no later than 30 March 2019 for Public Authorities, and every 12 months thereafter. However, we have prepared ours in advance and decided to include it below.

We were very pro-active in ensuring that a review of pay and reward was undertaken at a very early stage over ten years ago and we have continued to monitor the impact of this on our workforce. Men and women in the same role, performing equal work are paid equally, ‘same job – same pay’.

We actively support the progression of both men and women within the organisation and all employees progress proportionately. We are proud to acknowledge that following the analysis of our gender pay gap, we are one of the best Local Authority performers having one of the lowest gaps within the North West. Mean and Median average total female pay as a % of total male pay:

Mean and Median average total female pay as a % of total male pay
Gender Hourly rate - mean
Female 13.49
Male 13.58
% Difference 0.66
Mean and Median average total female pay as a % of total male pay
Gender Hourly rate - Median
Female 11.89
Male 11.74
% Difference -1.28

Mean average total female bonus pay as a % of total male bonus pay:

The only bonus payments paid by the Council (as defined as a bonus within the ACAS Gender Pay Reporting Guidance) are our long service award where we award £100 after 20 years service and £200 after 40 years service.

These are paid in vouchers for the local shopping centre.

Mean average total female bonus pay as a % of total male bonus pay
Gender Bonus
Female 117.39
Male 135.71
% Difference 13.50%
Mean average total female bonus pay as a % of total male bonus pay
Gender Proportion No. Proportion %
Female 23 62.16
Male 14 37.84
Total 37 100.00

The proportion of males and females (of those who were eligible) who receive bonus pay in each pay quartile:

The proportion of males and females (of those who were eligible) who receive bonus pay in each pay quartile
Gender Median
Female 100%
Male 100%
% Difference 0

The proportion of males and females who received bonus pay in 2017/18 ie Long Service Award:

The proportion of males and females who received bonus pay in 2017/18 ie Long Service Award
Gender Percentage
Female 1.44%
Male 1.76%

The proportion of male and female employees in each quartile of the organisations pay structure:

% Employees in each Quartile of Pay Structure
Quartile Female Male
1 68.72% 31.28%
2 62.98% 37.02%
3 68.77% 31.23%
4 67.31% 32.69%
 Total 66.94% 33.06%

The Equality and Human Rights Commission reports that in the Britain, there is an overall gender pay gap of 18.1%


Disability profile

The table below shows the number of employees who state they have a disability.

As at 30 November 2018, 76 employees, or 3.6% of the total workforce, had declared they feel they have a disability.  Employees are asked at their point of entry into the organisation i.e. at point of application, to disclose whether they feel they have a disability.  During the course of their employment, employees are not asked to redefine their disability status at any stage even if there have been any changes. We are keen to enable employees who become disabled to remain in work by providing reasonable adjustments to their working environment or how they carry out their duties.

We have a Level 2 Disability Confident employer status owing to our ability to demonstrate how we continue to meet our disability commitments.

Organisationally, we have limited data on the disability status of our employees as 59% of employees have either chosen not to say or not updated their employee record.  We are committed to continue to improve the quality of data collection for our employees disability status so this is being addressed as part of the continued implementation of the HR and Payroll system and self-service functionality.  Employees are actively encouraged to update their disability status in the personal records section.

It is important to acknowledge that the provision of data on disability will always be a sensitive one, and employees may decide not to share their disability status if they do not feel they need any support or reasonable adjustments to help them.  We are confident that all our policies and procedures are equitable and fair for everyone.

Disabled Total No. of Employees % of Workforce
Yes 76 3.6%
No 789 37.2%
Prefer not to say 2 0.1%
Unknown 1254 59.1%
Grand Total 2121  

Employee relations cases

The tables below show the Grievance and Disciplinary cases undertaken within the organisation, broken down by gender, age and ethnicity.  The number of cases represent a small number of employees as a proportion of the total workforce and are broadly consistent with the number of cases over previous years.

There were no cases involving employees who have indicated they have a disability.

Cases by gender
Gender Case Type Grand Total Total Headcount within organisation % of Workforce
Disciplinary Grievance
Female 21 2 23 1440 1.59%
Male 28 5 33 681 4.8%
Grand Total 49 7 56    
Cases by age
Age Range Case Type Grand Total Total Headcount within organisation % Workforce
Disciplinary Grievance
16 - 24 2 0 2 111 1.8
25 - 34 4 3 7 339 2.06
35 - 44 11 2 13 542 2.4
45 - 54 21 2 23 605 3.8
55 - 64 11 0 11 475 2.32
Grand Total 49 7 56    
Cases by ethnicity
Ethnicity Case Type Grand Total Total Headcount within organisation % Workforce
Disciplinary Grievance
BME 3 0 3 358 0.84
Not Known 7 1 8 144 5.56
Prefer not to say 1 0 1 31 3.2
White 38 6 44 1580 2.78
Grand Total 49 7 56    

Equality improvement

Comparison with local demographical data

The summary table below compares the profile of the local population and our workforce with respect to four of the nine protected characteristic groups as recorded in the Equality Act (2010)

Comparison with local demographical data
Equality Group Local working age population (16 – 64) BwD Workforce Comparison
Age 37.1% of the working age population in the Borough are aged between 45-64 Largest employee age band is 45-54 which represents nearly a third of the workforce (29.2%) with 52.1% of employees aged over 45 16-24 remains significantly under represented in our workforce
Disability 18.1% have limiting long term illness 3.1% declared disability low levels of data No clear picture however it is statistically difficult to ascertain whether the proportion of employees match that of the local population through the 2011 Census, since the Census asked different questions and gave no option to not state whether day to day activities were limited by a disability.
Ethnicity 30.4% BME 16.9% BME Under represented but a consistent positive increase
Gender 49.5% female 67.9% female No overt concern and consistent with previous years

From previous experience and feedback, we recognise that it can be inappropriate to ask personal and intrusive questions to employees and this explains why for some protected characteristics we hold no information or low levels of employee data. Nevertheless, we recognise the importance of ensuring the views of protected characteristic groups are captured where possible to help inform employment policies and practice.

Equality improvement

Summary action plan

Action Activity Timescale
Improve data quality to address areas where little or no data is held Continue to encourage employees to complete gaps where no data is held using self-serve modules and take responsibility for ensuring accurate and timely personal information.
  • Ensure effective collection of data at source ie online application process, new starter process, internal starter process
  • Directly engage with Departmental Directors to target gaps in data
  • Engage with employees on the reasons we need the information and what we use it for via TeamTalk
  • Ensure our managers promote the regular updating of individuals MyView records to reflect changes in circumstances and the needs of those individuals
Ongoing during 2019
Continue to commit resources to our annual intake of Apprentices Particularly targeting the 16 – 24 age group, we will continue to resource and invest in an annual intake of Apprentices of circa 20 roles, in services across the organisation to maximise interest and ensure diversity of opportunity. September 2018 September 2019

Workforce data sources

All information contained in this report is compiled from the information held within Human Resources on our employee data management HR and Payroll system.

Data collection and definitions

Who’s included

All employees on Permanent or Fixed term contracts, unless otherwise stated.

Who’s not included

School employees are excluded from all statistics as schools have a duty to publish their own data. Councillors are also excluded as are partnership posts and casual employees.

Reporting periods

These statistics represent a “snapshot” of the workforce based on a point in time date (as at 30th November 2018) and a 12 month period covering (1st December 2017 to 30th November 2018). Except for the Gender Pay data which was taken as at 1 April 2018. The following categories have been used in the employment data:


Age is broken down into the following categories: 16-24, 25-34, 35-44, 45-54, 55-64 and 65+.  This is a derived field calculated using date as at 30th November 2017 and a person’s date of birth.


Gender is recorded as male or female.


Ethnicity is self-defined - employees are asked this at point of application in the recruitment process and all employees have been asked to confirm their ethnicity on the employee record on the HR and Payroll system. The classifications are as follows:

  • A: White – British; Irish or any other White background.
  • B: Mixed – White and Black Caribbean; White and Black African; White and Asian or any other Mixed background.
  • C: Asian or Asian British – Indian; Pakistani; Bangladeshi or any other Asian background.
  • D: Black or Black British – Caribbean; African or any other Black background.
  • E: Chinese or other Ethnic group – Chinese or any other Ethnic Group.

In the current report the classifications used are based on the 2011 Census.


Employees are asked whether they considered themselves to be disabled under the definitions of the Disability Discrimination Act 2005 – they are asked this at point of application in the recruitment process and all employees have been asked to confirm their status with regards to disability on the employee record on the HR and Payroll system.

If you require a summary of this information in an alternative version such as large/giant print, braille or audio please contact Equality@blackburn.gov.uk