County's public sector pay gap revealed

Pay gap
Pay gap
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The gender pay gap across Lancashire’s public sector can today be revealed.

New figures show how women actually earn more on average than men at two Fylde coast councils – but names those lagging behind when it comes to bridging the gender divide.

Councils, NHS trusts and the county’s police force are all among those required to publish details of their pay gaps under new rules.

Organisations with more than 250 employees had until today to comply.

And while many of Lancashire’s public sector bodies are leading the way when it comes to equality, campaigners say unfair pay differences are ‘more common than people realise’.

Sam Smethers, chief executive of the Fawcett Society, which campaigns for gender equality, said: “Gender pay gap reporting is a game changer in terms of workplace culture and practices. It forces employers to look at themselves and understand their organisations and it prompts employees to ask some hard questions.

“But even better than that, finally women are realising that they have a right to talk about pay and they cannot be silenced.

“By finding out what their colleagues earn they are then in a position to challenge any pay inequality. It is much more common than people realise.”

The figures show councils are leading the way when it comes to narrowing the gender pay gap – with Blackpool, -6 per cent, and Fylde, -18.7 per cent, both reporting median pay gaps in favour of women.

However, Lancashire County Council (LCC), which said some of its services attract more female workers, reported a worse than average median gap of 20.3 per cent. The national average is 18.4 per cent.

The county council’s mean pay gap, 13.6 per cent, is better than the national average of 17.4 per cent.

Meanwhile, the police and some of the county’s academy trusts were among the worst for tackling the disparity in pay.

The median pay for women at Lancashire Police is almost 25 per cent lower than for men. The mean gap is narrower at 15.4 per cent.

A spokesman for the force said it employed more women than ever before and was ‘confident’ the gap would reduce over time.

He added: “We are committed to ensuring that the Constabulary is fair and inclusive so that our staff can be proud of where they work and serve our local communities well.

“Some of the factors we can’t influence, for example police officers’ pay, which is set nationally, but others we can.

“For example, we can do more work to try to ensure our workforce is more representative and we’ve already made some progress in this area with a higher proportion of women than ever before now applying for the role of police constable.

A spokesman for LCC said: “Our gender pay gap is wider than that of district councils within Lancashire reflecting the type of services we provide which are much more focused towards delivering personal care and support, which are roles that often attract more women.

“Many of these roles offer the opportunity for part-time or flexible working which often suits women who have chosen to fit their work around family life.

“We seek to provide opportunities for all staff to develop their careers, and are particularly looking at how we can attract and support more women who are returning to work as we recognise they have a lot to contribute.”