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Suffolk County Council’s Gender Pay Gap continues to close

Suffolk County Council’s mean and median gender pay gaps have reduced in the last year, by 0.5% and 1.0%, respectively.
Published: 08 Mar 2023

Suffolk County Council’s median gender pay gap as at 31 March 2022 is 13.8% - 1.1% lower than the national median average (14.9%) and 3.7% lower than the East of England median average (17.5%). Overall, Suffolk County Council’s Gender Pay Gap has reduced by 4.8% since reporting began in 2017.

The gender pay gap is a measure of the difference between the average pay all men in an organisation receive, compared to the average pay all women in the same organisation receive.

The Gender Pay Gap is not the same issue as ‘equal pay’, which concerns people doing the same or similar jobs. Suffolk County Council has a robust job evaluation process, which includes representation from the trade union UNISON to ensure confidence that the council does not have an equal pay issue.

Suffolk County Council’s gender pay gap is linked in part to societal conditions and the employment law landscape, which are gradually changing over time. It is also related to the gender composition of its workforce: the council has a high proportion of women working in lower paid roles (80.7%). Despite the fact the organisation also has a high proportion of women in higher paid roles (67.0%), this adversely impacts the average pay of female staff. Since 2017, the proportion of men in quartile 4 (lowest paid) has increased by 3.2%, and the proportion of women in quartile 1 (highest paid) has increased by 4.72%.

In the last year Suffolk County Council has taken a number of actions to reduce its gender pay gap, which include:

Making changes to pay and spinal points, to remove the lowest spinal point and improve the lowest pay level in each grade, except at senior management, meaning that all staff will progress to the highest paid point within their grade in less time. These changes particularly benefitted lower paid staff and as the council currently has more women in lower paid roles, these changes will have particularly benefitted women.

Promoting equal parenting and a family-friendly, flexible working culture. The Council was a winner in three categories at the national Working Dads Awards last year (2022). The categories were Flexible Working, Parental Policies, and Supporting Returning Fathers. Suffolk County Council was the only organisation to win in three categories and was up against large corporate organisations such as Nationwide, Aviva, Vodafone and John Lewis.

Improving support for staff who are carers, through: Introducing a new Carers Policy, which includes one week of paid carers’ leave, forming a new carers staff network, and achieving Carer Confident Level 2 Accomplished status, on the national scheme run by Carers UK.

I am proud of the work Suffolk County Council has achieved in reducing its gender pay gap further this year. We have made great progress in providing more support and flexibility for our staff and developing mechanisms which support women into higher paid roles, but equally important is encouraging men into caring roles which may be lower paid. We know there is more to be done and we will continue to strive to close any equality-related pay gaps we have, for as long as they exist. Our action plan for 2023/24 continues to build on our successful approach in previous years; with a range of activities supporting parents and carers and improving recruitment and development opportunities to ensure that Suffolk County Council continues to be an employer of choice.
Councillor Bobby Bennett, Cabinet Member for Equality and Communities
Cllr Bobby Bennett, Cabinet Member for Equality and Communities

Suffolk County Council’s Gender Pay Gap report for 2023 can be viewed in the Committee Meetings section of our website.