North Herts council leader: ‘We must look behind gender pay gap figures’

PUBLISHED: 08:43 14 April 2018

Councillor Lynda Needham, leader of North Herts District Council. Picture: NHDC

Councillor Lynda Needham, leader of North Herts District Council. Picture: NHDC


North Herts District Council leader Lynda Needham, speaking in a personal capacity, discusses the gender pay gap after the latest figures were published – a requirement enforced by law to tackle discrimination in the workplace.

All organisations with more than 250 employees have been required to complete a gender pay gap survey and publish the outcome of the findings – but it is very clear that there is confusion between the gender pay gap and equal pay, and the two are not the same thing.

Certainly NHDC has an equal pay policy to ensure we pay the same to men and women for doing the work of equal pay.

So why, you may ask, are the percentage figures for NHDC so wide following the outcome of the gender pay gap work? One cause of a significant gender pay gap is the distribution of the roles men and women hold in companies and local authorities such as NHDC.

Sixty-five per cent of our employees are female – attracted by our flexible working schemes and willingness to offer part time work which, if domestic responsibilities are involved, make NHDC an attractive choice.

Most of our female employees are in grades 1–8. Equally the jobs which attract young males are within our leisure services, waste collection and grounds maintenance, all of which are contracted out and therefore cannot be used to redress the uneven balance.

However, one of the most positive outcomes of this exercise is to remind us of the comparative lack of women in more senior roles within the council and we must now work to address this situation. What extra support can we put in place? What learning and development is needed to try and increase the number of women in senior roles? Although we know why numbers are as they are, it has been a good exercise in understanding the need to assist women into higher roles.

Naturally I have looked at comparisons with other authorities in Herts and also wider afield and these comparison exercises have borne out the impact that that contracting out services has made to the outcome of the gender pay gap formula.

All councils looked at with a very low gap or even females showing a positive figure still operate all services internally. Hopefully the powers who requested these statistics will look behind the figures and not judge on the bottom line.

Related articles


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Royston Crow visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Royston Crow staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Royston Crow account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More news stories

Yesterday, 12:39

Officers from the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Road Policing Unit (BCH RPU) now have the power to seize vehicles that have been untaxed for longer than eight weeks.

Yesterday, 12:17

Police in the Fens released a tally of hare coursing and related offences from the past two months that include four arrests and 17 vehicles seized.

Yesterday, 08:53

New locations for services and Christmas-themed activities have been announced for Royston’s parish church after the devastating fire at the weekend.

Yesterday, 07:01

Christmas has arrived in Ashwell, as hundreds of visitors enjoyed the village’s annual festive celebration.

Most read stories

Hot Jobs

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

Read the Royston Crow e-edition E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

Royston Crow weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy