Leader concedes gender pay gap needs to be 'equalised' at Northamptonshire County Council

Leader Councillor Matt Golby said he was 'aware' of the gender pay gap at the authorityLeader Councillor Matt Golby said he was 'aware' of the gender pay gap at the authority
Leader Councillor Matt Golby said he was 'aware' of the gender pay gap at the authority | jpimedia
The gender pay gap at Northamptonshire County Council needs to be ‘equalised’ moving forward, according to its leader.

Councillor Matt Golby says the authority will do what it can to ensure the gap is narrowed, following a latest report which states that female council workers were paid 13 per cent less than their male counterparts.

The findings caused Labour councillor Danielle Stone to question what the authority was going to do about it.

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Speaking at a recent full council meeting on March 19 at County Hall, she said: “It’s a really comprehensive report, though I can’t say I enjoyed reading. The gender pay gap described in the report is rather alarming.

Labour councillor Danielle Stone questioned how the county council would address the issueLabour councillor Danielle Stone questioned how the county council would address the issue
Labour councillor Danielle Stone questioned how the county council would address the issue | jpimedia

“It’s always the case isn’t it that women are the most impacted by austerity and economic measures, first as workers and then secondly as users of services. So it’s not a surprise that we have a gender pay gap, but what is a surprise is the size of it and that the trends are going in all the wrong directions.”

The report, which was read by councillors prior to the full council meeting, states: “The pay gap is a snapshot in time, reflecting organisational structure and individuals in post as of 31 March 2019. Both measures have widened significantly, compared to those reported in 2019 (where the mean was eight per cent and median five per cent).

“The increase is a direct consequence of service changes during the reporting time frame, most notably the transfer of Olympus Care Services (OCS) into the council in March 2018. This workforce is predominantly female and heavily skewed towards lower paid roles and therefore caused the expansion of the pay gap.”

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Female workers at the council earned on average £13.73 per hour, compared to the £15.70 that was earned by men.

Councillor Stone added: “What is going to be done in this local authority to address that? Because if we have our staff working and being poor, if we have our staff using food banks, if we have our staff whose children are among the thousands of children living in poverty in this county, then we have to take some responsibility and some action about that.”

Responding to Councillor Stone’s concerns, the council’s Conservative leader Councillor Matt Golby said the figures were something the authority was ‘very aware of’.

He added: “The concerns are expressed in the report and we have got 80 per cent female staff in Northamptonshire County Council. But I know we have regular meetings with the unions and the deputy leader, and they are well attended and a lot of those concerns are expressed and brought to the fore. Of course we need to try and equalise that gap and do what we can moving forward.”