Equality and diversity

Accessibility

The council is continually evaluating the accessibility of its services - whether this is printed guidance and circulars or information on the internet, or physical access to buildings and open spaces or access to partners' services - to make sure that our customers are not excluded from these services.

Equal opportunities

The council is committed to equal opportunities in employment. To ensure that our policies are effectively applied, we will ask you to complete a monitoring form. The form is confidential for monitoring purposes only and kept separately from your application form. Personnel staff will detach the monitoring form before your application is passed to the manager responsible for selecting the short-list.

Equalities

The Equality Act 2010 replaced previous pieces of legislation and 100 statutory instruments and brought it all together into one piece of legislation. The Act was widened to include nine protected characteristics:

  • age;
  • disability;
  • gender reassignment;
  • race;
  • religion or belief;
  • sex/gender;
  • sexual orientation;
  • marriage and civil partnership, and;
  • pregnancy and maternity

As well as the nine protected characteristics, we also consider anything else of particular local relevance - for example rural isolation is particularly relevant in the council's case.

Our duties under the Act

We have a duty under the act to have due regard to: a) remove or minimise disadvantages suffered by people due to their protected characteristics, b) take steps to meet the needs of people from protected groups where these are different from the needs of other people and c) encourage people from protected groups to participate in public life or in other activities where their participation is disproportionately low.

Positive about disability

We show that we are positive about employing and retaining disabled people by using the 'two ticks' disability symbol. This means we have made specific commitments regarding the employment of people with disabilities. As part of this, anyone with a disability is guaranteed an interview if they meet the essential criteria of the job concerned.

Along with the job application form, we ask applicants to fill in a recruitment monitoring form. This helps us to track groups that are underrepresented and take positive action if appropriate. The forms are kept by our Personnel section and are not made available to the selection panel. Staff regularly receive equalities training to make sure they follow equalities requirements.

Rehabilitation of offenders act 1974

Criminal records may be taken into account for recruitment purposes only when the conviction is relevant. Unless the nature of the work demands it, you will not be asked to disclose convictions, which are 'spent' under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act. Having an 'unspent' conviction will not necessarily bar you from employment. This will depend on the circumstances and background to your offence(s).

Please note: however that if your job requires an enhanced check as you will be working with children or vulnerable adults you will be required to declare all convictions, reprimands, final warnings and cautions regardless of whether they are spent or not will continue. Please refer to the About the Vacancy sheet for the position you are applying for or, contact the Personnel Section on 01243 534526 for further guidance. Alternatively log on to the disclosure calculator website to calculate if your conviction is spent under the new regulations.

Rehabilitation of offenders: revised rehabilitation periods

The rehabilitation periods will not start from the date of conviction as was the case, but will be the period of the sentence plus a "buffer" period starting from the end of the sentence as follows:

For custodial sentences:

Rehabilitation period for custodial sentences

Sentence length

New rehabilitation period (sentence plus "buffer" period below)

6 months or less

2 years

Greater than 6 - 30 months

4 years

Greater than 30 months - 4 years

7 years

Greater than 4 years

Never spent

For non- custodial sentences:

Buffer period for non custodial sentences

Sentence

Buffer period (will apply from end of sentence)

Community Order (& Youth Rehabilitation Order)

1 year

Fine

1 year (from date of conviction)

Absolute discharge

None

Conditional discharge, referral order, action plan order, supervision order, bind over order, hospital order

Period of order

Staff consultation

We believe in solving employee relations issues as far as possible by discussion and agreement. This is conducted by both councillors and employee representatives. Together, they make up the Joint Employee Consultative Panel, meeting four times a year.

A number of issues are decided at a national level through the National Joint Council for Local Government Services (NJC). This body encompasses the majority of our staff except those covered by separate local agreements or arrangements. National agreements are included in the NJC National Agreement on Pay and Conditions of Service (the 'Green Book'). For more information, please contact the Personnel section for job related enquiries.