All of us could, at some point in our lives, be vulnerable to discrimination through having a 'protected characteristic'. By law these protected characteristics are defined as age, disability, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation.
We have to comply with the general equality duty and:
- eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation (this also covers marriage and civil partnerships);
- promote equality of opportunity between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not; and
- encourage good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not.
We have to set and publish equality objectives at least every four years. These objectives must help us to meet our general equality duty. If we identify an opportunity to add extra objectives we will do so.
Our equality objectives 2021 to 2025
We have a legal duty to prepare and publish one or more equality objective at least every four years. Equality objectives help us focus attention on priority equality issues to deliver improvements in policy making, service delivery and employment, including resource allocation. We will include progress towards our objectives in our quarterly performance reports and will publish an annual update on our website.
Our current objectives are:
|Evidence of need
|Identify and address inequality as a result of the impact of COVID-19 and work to support vaccine take-up across all communities.
Evidence shows that some communities have been harder hit by the health and economic impacts of COVID-19. For example, lower income and ethnic minority communities are disproportionately represented in front line jobs which cannot be carried out from home and therefore are more vulnerable to catching COVID, to being furloughed or to being made redundant.
Although children and younger people are generally less affected by the virus, the containment measures and the resulting social and economic impacts are having significant negative impacts on children and young people’s mental health and on the long-term prospects for young people. Factors include reductions in family income, increases in child poverty, food poverty and hunger, damage to employment and training prospects as well as educational attainment.
Children from lower income families are more likely to be negatively impacted by remote learning requirements and less able to access a computer connected to the internet. A University College London study found that one in five children on free school meals had no access to a computer at home (c.f. 97% of the most affluent children)..
This supports a growing evidence base highlighting the risk of the attainment gap widening as a result of the pandemic.
National research shows that the economies of areas with a high dependence on the most ‘locked down’ sectors such as tourism and hospitality, for example seaside towns and rural coastal areas, have been particularly badly affected.
A poll carried out by Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) shows that hesitancy about having the vaccine is disproportionately high in some of the communities that have already been hardest hit by the pandemic for example, Black and Ethnic Minority communities and lower income groups.
In collaboration with the York and North Yorkshire LEP, implement economic recovery plans for the county.
Support schools to use catch-up and pupil premium funding to effectively support disadvantaged and vulnerable learners, focusing on closing the attainment gap.
Promote and monitor successful evidence-based interventions in relation to national and local initiatives aimed at raising attainment.
Access and analyse regularly published demographic data on local covid-19 vaccinations, including ethnicity, age, sex and socioeconomic status.
Understand what is driving vaccine hesitancy within these communities by involving those who know and work closely with these communities.
Support NHS communications vaccination campaigns via the multi-agency Local Resilience Forum communications group.
Growth and Heritage Services
Education outcomes for disadvantaged and vulnerable learners
Vaccination rates by a range of demographic categories.
|Identify and address inequality in outcomes for people from ethnic minorities.
National research indicates inequalities in outcomes, most recently in relation to Covid-19.
Data on outcomes in North Yorkshire is currently incomplete but there is no reason not to assume similar impacts as seen nationally. Improvement of data collection and quality will form part of the actions required.
However, it is likely that there will be some differences in experiences in North Yorkshire in comparison to urban metropolitan areas. For example, more rural and dispersed communities are likely to mean elevated levels of social isolation and reductions in local mutual support.
improve data collection and quality across council
Ensure engagement opportunities are inclusive and feedback from engagement about service experience is captured and used to improve service delivery.
Define further longer-term actions based on data collection and feedback.
Continue partnership working through hate crime working group to raise awareness of hate crime via a calendar of campaigns.
Strategy and Performance
Data and Intelligence
Engagement teams – across directorates
Children and Young People’s Services
Health and Adult Services
Key Stage education indicators for ethnic children and young people
Outcomes for BAME children from GUNY survey
Public health indicators
No of hate crime awareness sessions undertaken
No of schools accessing hate crime awareness educational resources
No of hate crime awareness campaigns
|To improve inclusion and diversity of staff working for the County Council
There are significant gaps in the data on workforce characteristics and these data gaps make evidencing diversity and inclusion difficult.
The most successful organisations have diverse leaders and influencers. The image of the NYCC workforce remains traditional, which is likely to be hampering attraction and progression of the best talent.
Difference is not celebrated. This can create pressure to fit into the majority norm, stifle and inhibit original and innovative ideas and practice, and is inherently stressful for those who feel different but try to conform.
Diversity needs to be more visible and audible amongst NYCC leaders and influencers. There are limited role models to indicate that those who are different succeed at NYCC.
Continuous programme to increase self-reporting against all protected characteristics. Seek to understand (and remove) the barriers to self-reporting.
Measure and publish diversity information and trends on a regular basis, internally and externally.
Use the data to extend gender pay gap reporting to include ethnicity and disability pay gap reporting.
Investigate areas of pay gaps and develop action plans.
Support the development and maintenance of staff networks maintaining high level Management Board support.
Extend internal and external communications to celebrate difference, visually through images and through the stories and experiences described.
Enable forums (for example, Yammer) to allow employees to develop networks of interest and support for different characteristics.
Flag any protected characteristic dimension to HR casework to allow themes to be collated and improvements to be implemented.
Pay and Reward
NYCC leaders and managers
Increased self-reporting and more complete data sets.
Gender, ethnicity and disability pay gap reporting.
Evidence of increased representation of ethnic minority and disabled employees within workforce.
Evidence of equal access to the recruitment and selection process and progression within the organisation, including access to development opportunities,
HR casework with a protected characteristic flag (disciplinary, resolving issues at work, harassment, performance or capability).
Characteristics of top 5% of earners compared to whole workforce.
% of staff ethnic minority
% of staff disabled
% of staff recorded as LGBT
|To improve health and educational outcomes amongst Gypsy, Roma, Traveller (GRT) communities in the county.
2011 census included ‘Gypsy or Irish Traveller’ as specific ethnic group for first time. NY 588 people - Selby (158), Hambleton (132) and Harrogate (107) with smaller communities across other districts.
Nationally, GRT pupils have high rate of school exclusions and report high levels of bullying and racial abuse. GRT pupils in NY more than 5 times more likely than non-GRT pupils to become home educated.
Evidence to Women and Equalities Health Select Committee 2018 (by NHS Leeds CCG Partnership) cites average life expectancy of approx. 50 years, higher rates of infant mortality and young men committing suicide.
Less likely to be registered with GP and face barriers to accessing health services in general.
GRT communities are deemed high risk for Covid-19 outbreak management.
Significant modern slavery concerns.
National figures suggest violence amongst, and by, younger GRT is increasing.
Under-reporting of hate crime against GRT communities.
Research and learn from best practice elsewhere.
Update JSNA Gypsy and Traveller report data – currently 2016
Improve data and intelligence sharing, in relation to GRT communities, across the council, and with partner organisations.
Develop community cohesion work to improve relationships between communities
Strategy and Performance
Children and Young People’s Service
Data and Intelligence
Hate Crime Working Group
Educational attainment of GRT children
% of GRT children in school
Health outcomes for GRT communities
JSNA report data
No of hate crime awareness sessions undertaken
No of schools accessing hate crime awareness educational resources
No of hate crime awareness campaigns
|To ensure service delivery and commissioning, particularly social care and public health, is inclusive of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans + adults
In 2019, Healthwatch North Yorkshire engaged with LGBT+ adults in North Yorkshire to understand their experience of accessing health and social care, with a particular focus on mental health services.
This project was undertaken in discussion with NYC Health and Adult Services, as we were aware that we had a gap in our knowledge of local need.
The report includes national research findings on health inequalities for LGBT+ people as well as the results of the local engagement activity.
For example, the Stonewall’s (2018) survey asked more than 5,000 LGBT people about their experiences of mental health and wellbeing when accessing healthcare services and found that:
One in seven LGBT people (14 per cent) have avoided treatment for fear of discrimination because they're LGBT.
Review current programme of LGBT+ training for HAS provider teams and develop programme for wider rollout.
Develop and implement consistent approach to gathering LGBT demographic data.
Improve the Information, Advice and Guidance offer for LGBT+ people so that people can be signposted to appropriate specialist support when required.
Ensure that the social care and public health commissioning process and contract monitoring includes consideration and recognition of specific needs of LGBT+ people.
Incorporate findings of HWNY report into Joint Strategic Needs Assessment and ‘Hope, Control and Choice’ mental health strategy implementation planning.
Increase representation and involvement of LGBT+ people in engagement opportunities in order to co-design inclusive policy and practice.
|HAS Diversity and Inclusion Group
Number of HAS colleagues taking part in LGBT+ training opportunities
Number / analysis of complaints received that include element relating to LGBT+ identity
Increase the number of LGBT+ specific resources included in IAG offer
Increase number of LBGT+ groups reached and included in engagement opportunities
|To improve wellbeing, inclusion and feeling safe for vulnerable groups of children and young people.
The Growing up in North Yorkshire survey 2018 provided the following data
Overall for Year 6 pupils 21% stated they had been bullied at or near school in the last 12 months.
For year 6 pupils who self-identify as young carers this was 32%, for children in care 50%, for Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) pupils 28%, Free School Meals (FSM) pupils 29%, ethnic minority 18% and minority religion 16%
Overall for Year 10 pupils 19% stated they had been bullied at or near school in the last 12 months. For Year 10 pupils who self-identify as an ethnic minority this was 22%, minority religion 20%, young carers 35%, SEND 34%, FSM 28%, Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual (LGB) 36% and 41% for trans and non-binary young people
The survey is being repeated in November 2020 with results due in March 2021 which may result in some further actions being identified
A recent Learning Lessons Review in North Yorkshire has also recommended, “All schools across North Yorkshire should be reminded of their responsibility to ensure that they must have robust procedures and operational practice in place to tackle bullying and support victims effectively. Professionals have a responsibility to challenge and share concerns with the school”.
To monitor the data from the Growing up in North Yorkshire survey 2020 with a focus on the identified vulnerable groups and the responses to the bullying questions and other safety focused questions to highlight any emerging issues.
Funding has been agreed for the continuation of the North Yorkshire Healthy Schools award presently to March 2022 . All schools are actively being encouraged to participate in the award. Presently 200 schools are signed up for the award. As part of the emotional health and wellbeing theme for the award schools are asked to have an effective anti-bullying policy in place that is fully inclusive of the Equality Act protected characteristics and encourage a child and young person friendly version of the policy to be developed that is accessible for all pupils.
There is an aim to develop for schools that have achieved the Gold award enhanced badges which would include Diversity & Equality.
For schools to achieve these enhanced badges they would have to provide evidence against an evidence based criteria which has been shown to have a positive impact in schools.
Continue the focused target work to support identified vulnerable groups like the LGBT youth groups, young carers support networks and service family champions. There is an opportunity to use these support mechanisms to listen to the voice of these more vulnerable children and young people which can feed in County anti-bullying work.
|Children and Young People’s Service
Monitor and actively respond to the wellbeing and resilience scores for vulnerable groups from the Growing up in North Yorkshire Survey 2020
Decrease in the percentage of pupils who report they have been bullied at or near school in the last 12 months. (Growing up in North Yorkshire survey data 2020)
Through the North Yorkshire Healthy Schools Award continue to increase the number of schools participating in the award and achieving the Emotional Health and Wellbeing theme and provide support to enable schools to develop an effective anti-bullying policy and having a whole school inclusive ethos.
Developed the criteria for the enhanced healthy schools badge focused on Equality and Diversity for schools to start participating in from September 2021.
Use the North Yorkshire Healthy schools quality assurance process to monitor schools anti-bullying polices and to identify good practice which can be shared with other schools.
To have engaged with identified vulnerable groups of young people on what has worked well for them in North Yorkshire schools to feel included and safe and use this information to share good practice.
|To support digital inclusion for North Yorkshire’s communities and ensure that digital access to our services is inclusive of the widest range of customers as possible, taking into account different access requirements and the needs of those who experience digital exclusion.
Engagement with the internet has an important influence on the take-up of digital services provided by the public sector. The 2018 Internet User Classification (IUC) is a classification that describes how people living in different parts of Great Britain interact with the Internet. Understanding this geography is critically important to mitigate digital inequality, and the IUC for North Yorkshire provides a means of targeting interventions necessary to ensure smooth transitions to digital service use at the local level.
Different user categories can be seen at Digital Strategy and projects
The move online during the Covid pandemic particularly highlighted a number of barriers to digital access for some groups, particularly some disabled people and people on low income. These barriers included:
The Accessible Information Standard (AIS) aims to make sure that people who have a disability, impairment or sensory loss get information that they can access and understand, and any communication support that they need from health and care services. By law (section 250 of the Health and Social Care Act 2012), all organisations that provide NHS care or adult social care must follow the Standard in full from 1st August 2016 onwards. Organisations that commission NHS care and / or adult social care, for example Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), must also support implementation of the Standard by provider organisations. This action is aimed at reviewing the council’s compliance with the AIS and identifying any areas for improvement.
Information about the website accessibility, current non-compliance and planned improvements, as well as how to access the site with screen reading and translation technology, can be found on our Website Accessibility page.
Continue to implement the North Yorkshire Digital strategy in partnership with district councils.
Implement digital infrastructure projects, including public wi-fi in market towns and improving mobile access.
Work with partners to develop the digital capability and skills of pupils, students, workforces and the community.
Help to bridge the digital divide through the library service.
Ensure our websites and online services can be used by people of all abilities and disabilities:
Review customer channels to ensure that they meet requirement for anticipatory reasonable adjustment.
Review application of Accessible Information Standard to relevant systems and processes across the council.
NY Digital Strategy Group
Customer Strategic Group
AIS: HAS Engagement and Governance Team
Number/percentage of NYCC services available online
Customer usage statistics for online NYCC services
Website user satisfaction data
Feedback and complaints / commendations
Broadband coverage of county
No of assisted digital sessions held in libraries
No of people attending assisted digital sessions in libraries
Requests for information in an accessible format
Understanding our communities
To meet our responsibilities we need to understand more about our communities. We have produced a high-level summary equality profile which gives a picture of our population.
Our Data North Yorkshire site provides access to statistics for North Yorkshire. You can access this system free of charge.
We do detailed research to help us plan the right services for our communities. An example of this is the joint strategic needs assessment which provide a collective voice for people to inform our strategy and service development and that of other statutory bodies.
We work hard with partners to identify and reduce health inequalities.
We have contracted providers for interpretation (including British Sign Language) and translation services to ensure effective communication and access to services for those whose first language is not English. We have developed a welcome pack in a number of community languages to help those settling in the county from overseas.
With our partners, we work to improve community cohesion and to raise awareness of hate crime and improve reporting so that it can be tackled.
Working with our communities we support a number of community forums and partnership arrangements which provide a collective voice for people to inform the strategy and service development of North Yorkshire County Council and other statutory bodies.
Understanding our workforce
We have also gathered information about our employees.
We believe in the importance and intrinsic value of a diverse and inclusive workplace, and of centring the principles of equality, diversity and inclusion in the work we do in the community.
We have a number of employee networks and recognise the value that employee networks bring for both for the council, and for some of our 13,000+ employees (excluding schools).
Our staff networks provide supportive spaces for our employees and are valuable consultation networks for reviewing and improving our culture, policies and services.
Gender Pay Gap (March 2023)
Public sector bodies with 250+ staff are required to publish mean and median pay gaps and the proportion of men and women in each quartile of the pay structure.
North Yorkshire County Council does not pay a bonus so is exempt from this requirement.
The figures for March 2023 pay are set out below for approval prior to publication.
2023 Gender Pay Gap (2022 figures in brackets)
- Mean gender pay gap 7.7% (9.8%)
- Median gender pay gap 8.8% (11.7%)
|Upper mid Q
|£12.93 - £18.35
|G - J
|Lower mid Q
|£10.98 - £12.93
|D - F
|Apprentice - £10.98
|A - D
The high-level figures show a positive trend: the mean gender pay gender is down from 9.8% to 7.7% and the median is down from 11.7% to 8.8%. The proportion of women in the upper quartile (which covers Grade J and above) has increased from 67.6% to 69.7%, and the percentage of women in the lowest quartile has dropped again from 73.6% to 72.8%, representing a steady reduction in the proportion of women in the lowest paid roles.
This will be the last report of the county council’s gender pay gap with next year’s report reflecting the larger combined North Yorkshire Council. In the six years of reporting of the gender pay gap the mean gap has reduced from 12.0% to 7.7% and the median from 14.6% to 8.8%. The proportion of women in the upper quartile has increased from 65% to nearly 70%, and in the lower quartile has reduced from 78.6% to 72.8%.
The set up and strengthening of employee network groups to further our inclusive employer ambitions, includes a gender equalities group and wider inclusion forum. Colleagues from across the inclusion and employee networks have supported recruitment and help develop specific attraction campaigns.
- individual campaigns are supported by equalities promotion material: Working for us North Yorkshire Council and video have been produced by the equalities networks
- women in Engineering and Planning, Women in Tech and Men Care Too are targeted recruitment campaigns to attract underrepresented genders in key careers. Other notable campaigns are the inclusion of women in road maintenance and waste collection campaigns
- significant focus and investment in the culture of the new council’s culture is underpinned by our values and behaviours
- these values and behaviours, our joint commitment is shared across all recruitment campaigns. Recruitment training and development, includes a specific focus on values-based recruitment
- in preparation for the new council, enhancing terms and conditions for employees included family friendly and flexible working provision for all staff, that is showcased across recruitment campaigns to help underrepresented genders enter diverse careers and encourage returners
There are a variety of factors that impact the gender pay gap, some reflecting historical occupational segregation and others outside of the control of the council, for example, national minimum wage changes and national pay awards for local government. Some positive changes take time to work through, and the labour market has been particularly volatile post-Covid. However, the steady decrease in the gender pay gap over the last six years is a testament to positive employment practices: recruitment, selection, development, and retention.
It is recommended that:
a) The information is approved for publication.
b) The actions previously agreed to help to tackle the gender pay gap (set out as an appendix to this report) are rolled over to 2024-25 and work continues.
The Government Equalities Office has commissioned research into what is effective at tackling the gender pay gap. Many of the recommendations are already in place at North Yorkshire Council but in addition it is recommended to:
- increase the use of skill and value based assessment tasks in recruitment rather than interview questions based solely around experience
- attract and support returners, for example, target places where returners are likely to be looking, ensure the recruitment process is returner-friendly, offer support before and during the assessment
- continue to use apprenticeships, graduate recruitment and training and development opportunities to tackle occupational segregation
- showcase flexible and part-time working success stories in professional and management roles internally and externally, building on hybrid working
- ensure internal and external communications and imagery reflect diversity and challenge stereotypes
- utilise workforce metrics which measure wider progress on inclusion such as the split of full time and part time working by grade; the gender, ethnicity and disability profile of the top 5% of earners; and recruitment and promotion statistics by gender, ethnicity and disability
- challenge gender stereotypes by promoting parental and care leave and flexible working arrangements which reflect the roles of fathers and mothers and
- encourage senior managers to act as agents of change through blogs and messages to share their own relevant data
Planning and delivering our services
We plan services to make sure they meet the needs of people with protected characteristics effectively, within the money available.
The strategies, plans and policies section of our website sets out the key plans for the council's work. They all help us meet the needs of our communities. Particularly important for showing how we support vulnerable people are:
- The joint health and wellbeing strategy;
- The children and young people's plan;
- Adult social care - local account; and
- North Yorkshire's dignity in care charter.
We use equality impact assessments to try to make sure we deliver services fairly. These assessments help us consider the needs different people have and make sure that we can meet these needs. We take into account the statutory protected characteristics and the following additional characteristics: people living in rural areas, people with lower socio-economic status and unpaid carers. The assessments will often include the views of people who use the service. We also consult people about what we are doing.
Our services are also subject to external inspections. For example, the Care Quality Commission inspects residential care and home care and OFSTED inspects the children's services which the council provides.