What can you expect from the INLOGOV MSc Executive Apprenticeship?

If your organisation has signed up to  INLOGOV MSc Apprenticeships, and has given you the option to apply, you might be wondering if the course is right for you.  This post gives you a brief summary of what to expect to help you decide.

By the way – if your organisation is not signed up then read this post about why it is worth talking to INLOGOV about our MSc Apprenticeships.

The benefits

This is a course than can help you in your work and in your career.

In work it will help you develop as a public service leader and give you new ways to think about the challenges you face.  You will get to meet INLOGOV staff who are involved in cutting edge research and build new connections with others on the course.

Your career will also benefit.  Once you complete the course you will gain a Masters Degree from a Russell Group University, a Level Seven apprenticeship and diploma from the Chartered Management Institute with the possibility of membership.

And, because the scheme is part of the apprenticeship levy, you do not have to pay fees.

Your employer also benefits.  The INLOGOV MSc Executive Apprenticeship is a great way to improve the workforce and to ensure that pressing organisational challenges can be met.

Time and commitment

The course takes two and a half years during which time you need to spend 20% of your contracted work time on the apprenticeship.  This covers both the taught and the work based elements.

The way you spend this time is flexible and can be agreed between you, your employer and INLOGOV.  However, this time must only be used to work towards the MSc Apprenticeship.

Studying for the apprenticeship

Some of your time will be spent on the taught element.  This includes six modules and a dissertation.  You can expect to spent around 8 days on the Birmingham University Campus and the rest of the time studying online at a times to suit you.

There are no exams.  You will be assessed on written assignments and on the dissertation.

The modules you will study are:

  • Public Management and Governance
  • Leadership in Public Services
  • Commercialisation of Public Services
  • Public Policy and Evidence
  • Performance, Strategy and Challenge
  • Digital Era Public Policy

Each module will be assessed in the same way:

  • Assignment 1, 1,000 word essay (30%)
  • Assignment 2, 3,000 word essay (70%)

You will also complete a 12,000 word dissertation. The topic of this project will be chosen with input from your employer.

The workplace element

During the two and half years of the course you will upload a portfolio evidence to demonstrate the knowledge, skills and behaviours set out in the apprenticeship standard.

In the final six months you will also complete a workplace project to look at a current organisational challenge that you have agreed with your employer.

The assessment for the work place element will consist of a professional discussion, looking at the portfolio of evidence,  and a project showcase for your work place project, held with an independent assessor.

Support

Throughout your studies you will receive the same academic support as any other student studying with INLOGOV including access to the resources of the University of Birmingham.

INLOGOV will also provide a practice tutor to support you through the workplace elements of the apprenticeship.

At the beginning of the course you will meet with your practice tutor and someone representing your employer to agree responsibilities.

Applying

Once you get the go ahead from your employer you can start the application process.

To be eligible for the course you should have either a good first degree or be able to demonstrate sufficient work experience.

The application is done online and there is no formal interview required.

Further information

For more information about the course, including details of the MSc modules, visit the course website.

Talk to INLOGOV about your MSc Executive Apprenticeships

 

The MSc Public Management and Leadership Executive Apprenticeship is a new course that has been developed in partnership with SOLACE.  It’s being offered by INLOGOV from October 2018 and has been designed with the Apprenticeship Levy in mind.

Catherine Mangan, Director of INLOGOV, explains why it’s worth thinking about.

“Here at INLOGOV we have been working in partnership with local councils for over 50 years to provide training and learning that is tailored to meet the needs of local government.

We have evolved as you have evolved and we understand what matters to you and to your employees. The challenges of austerity and of working with the wider public sector, for example, are major themes in our research and in our courses.

If you have been working with us on our 21st Century Public Servant project, on commissioning, on commercialisation or on co-production (to name just a few), you will know that staying in touch with local government is part of what makes our research cutting edge.

Using the Apprenticeship Levy to Support Senior Leaders

If you are thinking about investing your apprenticeship funding in the development of your senior managers, then we would love to talk to you.

Whether you are integrating MSc Apprenticeships with your existing leadership programme or creating something new, we can work with you to deliver an MSc Executive Apprenticeship that helps you to attract, retain and develop talented staff and to:

  • Prepare the next generation of senior managers and leaders
  • Recruit the brightest and best into graduate entry posts
  • Invest in your current senior leaders

This course is a way for you to promote a learning culture in your organisation and, through carefully targetted workplace projects, the MSc Executive Apprenticeship will also give you extra capacity to address pressing organisational challenges.

For employees the MSc Executive Apprenticeship is a way to gain an internationally recognized masters degree from a Russell Group University and a professionally recognized qualification without having to pay fees.

About the Course

The core elements of the apprenticeship have been designed with the new Apprenticeship Levy in mind so that local authorities have the option to use their apprenticeship funding to develop their senior leaders.

The workplace elements can be tailored to ensure that the 20% of time that students spend ‘off-the-job’ provides the maximum added value while fitting flexibly around service delivery. Throughout the course students will have access to INLOGOV staff and resources to help ensure that both their academic and workplace studies are a success.

The programme, which typically takes two and a half years, involves a combination of in-work learning and University study.  Participants will be offered a tailored experience and the opportunity to study in the UK’s leading academic centre for local governance and public management.

The MSc element of the apprenticeship combines online course material with a small number of days of more traditional teaching. This gives students both the flexibility that comes with distance learning and the benefit of a campus experience where they get to mix with apprentices from other councils and international students doing our regular MSc in public management.

On successful completion of the Executive Apprenticeship, participants will have acquired the knowledge, skills and qualities necessary to become dynamic and effective leaders of public sector organisations and will be awarded an MSc in Public Management and Leadership from the University of Birmingham, a Chartered Management Institute (CMI) Level 7 Diploma in Strategic Management and Leadership, and Chartered Manager Status (subject to necessary experience) through the CMI.

You can find out more on the INLOGOV website here.

About INLOGOV

The Institute of Local Government Studies (INLOGOV) is the leading UK centre for the study of public service management, policy and governance. With over 50 years of experience working within local government and the public sector, the Institute of Local Government Studies creates the latest thinking for public servants.

INLOGOV is uniquely placed to offer the executive apprenticeship.  As a team, we combine expertise in local government, experience of working with local councils, excellence in teaching and we are a pioneer in offering an online Masters in Public Administration.

We also have a strong track record of co-designing postgraduate programmes with local authorities and public organisations, including delivering the training component of the National Graduate Development Programme in partnership with SOLACE, for the Local Government Association.

Our staff come from varied disciplinary backgrounds and regularly work with politicians, managers, communities and partner organisations to enhance practice through academic insight.  We are engaged in policy and management research, continuing professional and management development and consultancy for central government and other national and local agencies. We draw great strength from our close links with the world of practice in local government, the voluntary sector and other public service agencies, for example those of criminal justice.

We offer a range of postgraduate degrees, at Doctoral, Masters, diploma and certificate levels. We welcome applications for part-time study as well as full-time. Our applied research activity feeds directly into our programmes, so our participants are among the first to hear the latest research findings and to reflect on how new thinking might impact on future policy and practice.

If your organisation is interested in the MSc Executive Apprenticeship contact:

Stephen Jeffares S.R.Jeffares@bham.ac.uk or Louise Reardon L.H.Reardon@bham.ac.uk

Never mind who you voted for, where did you do it?

Chris Game

They’ve become a standard feature of the election season – complaints about the complete or partial closure of schools selected as polling stations. Some, no doubt, are from the actual children whose education is being potentially disrupted.  But more come from heads of affected schools – who are informed, rather than requested, by their respective council Returning Officers, and feel they have little say, even over any financial reimbursement – and from teachers, who have no leave entitlement but are expected somehow to make up lost teaching time.

Bitterest protesters, though, are understandably working parents. Facing fines if they decide to take their children out of school for a day, even for something educational, they’re told by, in effect, their Local Education Authority that in this case they must do so, and no, on this occasion it’s really not detrimental to their child’s learning.  Plus, they must find and pay for responsible childcare at pretty short notice.

This year was less irksome than those when polling day is in Bank Holiday week itself, but for many it was still pretty unsettling: close on Thursday, reopen Friday, close on Monday, reopen Tuesday.  And last year, of course, we had Theresa May’s ‘snap’ General Election in early June, called too late to combine with the locals, thereby doubling the grief for many.

But for how many?  Difficult, because in our localised ‘system’ of electoral administration, no one really knows. Local authorities select the buildings they’ll use as polling places, and the Electoral Commission keeps no collated records.  All we actually know is that it differs from council to council – greatly, as was illustrated by one of this year’s complainants – the independent campaigning group Parents Outloud, as reported in the London Evening Standard.

Even the group’s non-systematic comparison of London borough polling arrangements showed that practices varied widely. “In Tower Hamlets, 43 school buildings were turned into polling stations, in Croydon 33, Kensington & Chelsea 18, Kingston upon Thames seven … and in Camden four schools closed.”

“Turned into” obviously isn’t the same as “closed”, but it seemed clear Camden’s approach differed markedly from that of at least some of those other boroughs. And a check of the council’s complete list of 60 polling stations showed just five schools in total, or 8%. The other 55 were community centres, council buildings, church halls and other religious venues, libraries, gymnasia, and, pleasingly, The Pirate Castle – which isn’t in this case a pub, but a children’s water sports centre on the Grand Union Canal. Either way, though, it and Camden’s other 54 polling stations wouldn’t have involved children missing a day’s school and parents having to find child care.

I don’t know if it’s an actual Camden policy to avoid using schools where possible, and ignore the Electoral Commission’s guidelines positively pushing schools as an easy and financially advantageous option:

“Schools that are publicly-funded, including academies and free schools, may be used as polling stations free of charge, and the legislation allows Returning Officers to require a room in such schools for use as a polling station.”

But I once did some work for the 2007 Councillors Commission, chaired by Dame Jane Roberts, a former Leader of Camden Council and also a Child Psychiatrist, and I’d be surprised if it’s accidental.

It also prompted me to check Birmingham’s list of polling places, particularly as journalist Anna Tobin had done a detailed count of all 460 in 2014, finding that 60% were in schools, whereas for Leeds’ 357 it was only a quarter. As she acknowledged, from a Returning Officer’s perspective, schools tick all the boxes: general accessibility, disabled access, available parking, facilities for polling station staff, and above all free to hire. In short, the almost too easy option. There’s little doubt local authorities could be a lot more imaginative, if they chose, and examples are cited, like Cambridge City Council, that manage simply not to use schools as polling stations.

Beyond that, one’s instinctive solutions depend a bit on perspective.  Parents Outloud are clear that, if councils can’t or won’t find alternatives to schools, then one or the other should provide free childcare. To which I’m extremely sympathetic, but I’m not and never have been a parent.  My own preferred solution, therefore, would be to do what the great majority of countries do and hold elections at the weekend – whether on Sunday, which most do, or Saturday, or even both doesn’t particularly bother me.

I used to have a map of countries’ usual election days, which at a push – including explanations of why, say, Americans always vote on the first Tuesday after November 1st, and the Irish, as in this month’s abortion referendum, on Fridays – could be spun into a whole lecture.

map_Usual election days

My received understanding of our post-1918 choice of Thursdays, incidentally, was that it was the day furthest from either pay-day Friday, when voters might be unduly grateful to Conservative brewers, or Sunday, when more Liberal-inclined Free Church clergymen could get at them.

The last Labour Government, curious as to whether weekend voting might reinvigorate the democratic process, and – who knows? – maybe get more potential party supporters into polling stations, issued a consultation paper on Weekend Voting almost exactly ten years ago. The evidence was mildly positive. Among responding members of the public, a small majority supported weekend voting, and in an Ipsos MORI survey (p.22) 36% of self-identified non-voters said they’d be more likely to vote at the weekend, with just 2% saying they’d be less likely to.

Unsurprisingly, like so many constitutional reform initiatives, this one came to nothing, and, with weekend voting being such an obviously entrenched Euro-practice, it’s not about to be resuscitated any time soon. Personally, therefore, I’m getting behind Parents Outloud: free childcare or, better still, the ears of some sympathetic Returning Officers.

chris gameChris Game is a Visiting Lecturer at INLOGOV interested in the politics of local government; local elections, electoral reform and other electoral behaviour; party politics; political leadership and management; member-officer relations; central-local relations; use of consumer and opinion research in local government; the modernisation agenda and the implementation of executive local government.

 

All views expressed in this blog are those of the author and not of INLOGOV or the University of Birmingham.

Our Councillors are being disappeared – by stealth

Chris Game

If, as I did, you worked in the pre-internet age for something called the Institute of Local Government Studies, writing occasionally on matters electoral, these April weeks preceding annual local elections could be trying.  Even in the Citizenship Test era, it’s hardly a deportable sin for an English elector to be uncertain if their council is elected in entirety every four years, by thirds in three years out of four, or even in alternate years by halves (I’m thinking of you, Nuneaton & Bedworth) – and, in the latter cases, whether this year’s elections involve their particular ward councillor(s).  Nor is it certifiable to suppose that surely someone in that INLOGOV place would know – so they’d telephone to check.

Even if I weren’t already, it would have inclined me strongly to some countries’ practice, long backed by the Electoral Commission, the 2007 Councillors Commission and others, of a single four-yearly national or at least regional Local Elections Day for all councils. That’s not, however, either of the points of this blog, the lesser of which is a tabular demonstration that old habits die hard, and that I still rather like knowing who should and shouldn’t be voting on Thursday and where.

2018 Local elections table 2

The table is intended to be accurate, comprehensive in its way, and illustrative of the heffalump traps awaiting reporters and broadcasters on Thursday night. But nowadays much fuller lists are easily available, from, inter alia, Wiki and Open Council Data UK.

The latter is particularly detailed, and any minor errors usually inconsequential – though not entirely in this exceptional instance.  For – when I checked, anyway – it omits Blackburn with Darwen as one of the two unitary councils, with Hull, holding all-out elections this year to implement the proposals of a comprehensive boundary review, a process that constitutes the principal justification for my own modest table.

By my reckoning, of the 4,262 Councillors elected at this round of local elections four years ago, the seats won by 99 or well over 2% of them have already been lost before a single vote is cast – lost not just to them, but to their councils, and almost certainly permanently.

The 99 are the net sum of the rulings of the Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE) following its reviews of the 17 councils that are implementing those rulings in all-out elections this Thursday – although ‘net’ is somewhat misleading, as it represents eight proposals of Councillor reductions, counterbalanced by no proposals for increases.

Next year, a further net 51 council seats are already set to go, and last year it was 34. So, in three years that’s the abolition of about five councils-worth of democratic representation, without a ministerial whisper of the R-for-reorganisation word – and that’s from a start in England of a 2,250:1 citizens-to-councillor ratio already far higher than almost any other EU country.

At which point, I should declare a personal citizen interest. As previously anticipated in these columns, my own council of Birmingham contributes 19 of this year’s lost 99, despite the other three significantly smaller big cities also reviewed in this cycle – Leeds (99), Manchester (96) and Newcastle (78) – being allowed to retain all 273 of theirs.

It’s tempting, certainly in lectures, to misquote here the Lutheran hymn about God moving in mysterious ways, his wonders to perform. The LGBCE obviously isn’t that mysterious, for it publishes all its proposals and reports and a certain amount of its reasoning.

The Commission’s aims too are distinctly more modest than God’s, being limited to achieving its singular interpretation of electoral equality: namely, equalising the number of electors represented by each Councillor in any particular local authority. About that intra-council form of electoral equality it is passionate, and it’s what prompts most – though importantly not all – of its reviews.

However, about inter-council electoral equality, and also about other measures of intra-council equality, it is passionately indifferent. As described in that previous blog, Birmingham’s case was exceptional in its being referred to the LGBCE following the now Lord Kerslake’s highly critical review of the council’s governance and organisation – but not really in the Commission’s processing.  Kerslake identified the number of councillors as one of the council’s weaknesses and recommended cutting them to a round 100, and presumably increasing their workloads, as part of the solution – a recommendation that the LGBCE endorsed and implemented almost precisely, though far from unproblematically.

Its draft ward proposals generated an emotional spasm that canvassers in these local elections would almost pay for, and produced “over 2,000 submissions”, aka protests, possibly some kind of record, and to which, as is their wont, the Commissioners sought to respond.

Council size, however, was non-negotiable. In Commission arithmetic, the former 120 councillors represented an average of just over 6,000 electors, although, since all were elected to three-member wards and had to canvass, deal with and represent all ward residents, the more meaningful figures would have been 18,000 electors and 30,000 persons, considerably higher than any other single-tier authority.

In future, 37 of the 101 councillors will represent single-member wards, with 64 in two-member wards.  Currently, therefore, candidates in the former group will presumably be almost relishing campaigning for the first time for the votes of ‘only’ an average of 7,000 or so electors – the more so as they see their colleagues canvassing similarly new electorates, but twice the size. For, in our system, electoral equality is not for the likes of footsore aspiring councillors, but for generally unaware electors.

Part of this blog’s purpose was to highlight how this most under-appreciated tier of our political class is being gradually but steadily whittled away in a kind of policy vacuum. For there is nothing in the LGBCE’s terms of reference requiring it, rather than equalising upwards in response to generally growing populations, almost always to equalise downwards.

There are, certainly, several instances – including Bexley LBC, as listed in the table – where reviews were initiated not by the Commission, but by the council itself wishing to reduce its own elected membership, whether for financial or other reasons usually not being stated.  In both types, though, the Commissioners’ phraseology, though varying slightly, is that they are satisfied that “decreasing the number of members by XX will make sure the council can carry out its roles and responsibilities effectively”.

Most council officers will have had the occasional thought that “if it weren’t for those pesky members … ”, but it’s a bit concerning, especially at election time, to realise that there’s an unelected body already doing something about it.

chris gameChris Game is a Visiting Lecturer at INLOGOV interested in the politics of local government; local elections, electoral reform and other electoral behaviour; party politics; political leadership and management; member-officer relations; central-local relations; use of consumer and opinion research in local government; the modernisation agenda and the implementation of executive local government.

 

The views in this blog are those of its author and do not represent the views of INLOGOV or the University of Birmingham.

Is there any such thing as a free lunch?

Catherine Durose

Universal Basic Income (UBI) is a radical solution to problems that we are increasingly aware of. For the political left, UBI is positioned as response to spiralling inequality, the levels of which are disrupting crucial social expectations. Rather than ‘if I don’t work, I don’t eat’, for many there is a real prospect that work no longer covers their basic needs. Most people hope for a better life for their children than they have had, but many now face the reality that their children will struggle to achieve those standards. Yet, universal basic income is an idea also championed by the heroes of the Right, from Milton Friedman to Charles Murray, who see it as a means of streamlining a wasteful and intensely bureaucratic welfare system. For both, UBI is a means of challenging the established order as they see it: whether this is through a more equitable re-distribution of power, which not only relieves poverty at a stroke but offers a means of collective dignity and liberation to pursue our passions and fulfil our desires, or a triumph of individual consumer choice and the forging of a new civic culture.

The bold simplicity of universal basic income has led many to see it as an ‘idea whose time has come’, but is it an idea that we are likely to see happen? Drawing on John Kingdon’s seminal work on policy agendas, such thinking seems idealised and naïve. Whilst inequality and bureaucratic waste are common themes of political rhetoric, the imperative to act to address either in a way that is genuinely transformative seems lacking. Whilst UBI has its supporters from across the political spectrum, it also has its detractors: those on the Right concerned about the impact on our work ethic, those on the Left, who don’t quite trust people to make their own choices. Any radical re-distribution of money or power is going to be confronted by those with vested interests in retaining the status quo. So without a problem imperative or political will to act, will universal basic income remain a solution in search of an opportunity?

These thoughts are inspired by the screening this week of the documentary, ‘A Free Lunch Society’ and the conversation between leaders from Citizens UK: Birmingham and students from the College of Social Sciences. For Citizens UK, UBI is not only a policy solution with the potential to transform our society, it is an idea with the ability to start a political conversation, one that has, as one of our leaders remarked at the event, the ability to help us focus more on calling to account those with power than passing judgement on those who lack it. There is the further acknowledgement that UBI may only be delivered through a different kind of political movement, one that is founded on the principles that our common advancement should also be for our collective good. As the documentary observed, ‘the future is now’: the ever-quickening pace of technological change and automation has the potential to shake our society to its core. Whilst recognising the challenges this presents, we should also see the opportunities it brings to not only think radically, but act radically to shape our future.

If you are interested in being part of the conversation about universal basic income here in the West Midlands, join us at the CoSS Citizens UK Annual Lecture by Professor Guy Standing (SOAS) on 6 June, register here.

Catherine Durose 2017Dr Catherine Durose is a Reader in Policy Sciences at INLOGOV. She undertakes research, teaching and impact work on urban governance and public services, with particular interests in participation, intermediation and co-production. She is part of Citizens UK: Birmingham’s Leadership Group and a member of Citizens UK National Council.

 

All view expressed in this blog are those of the author and not of INLOGOV or the University of Birmingham.

Gender pay gaps: the end of a very protracted beginning

Chris Game

As Lady Bracknell would certainly not have observed: to overlook the UK’s first serious exercise in gender pay gap reporting may be regarded as a misfortune; to overlook additionally the near coincidence of America’s Equal Pay Day would look like literal carelessness. So we won’t.

Butchering another clichéd quotation, last week’s historic publication by nearly 10,000 companies and public sector organisations of broadly comparable gender pay gap data could be loosely likened to Churchill’s characterisation of the war-turning battle of El Alamein in November 1942: “not the end; not even the beginning of the end, but perhaps the end of the beginning.”

In this instance, an even more protracted beginning. And indeed, there is a figure of Churchillian admirability in the equal pay battle too – a remarkable woman politician, though certainly not Theresa May, despite her audacious attempts to persuade us otherwise last weekend.

Yes, it was Prime Minister May who did eventually introduce Statutory Instrument No.172 (2017) – the Equality Act (2010) (Gender Pay Gap Information) Regulations – with its key ‘duty to publish’ stipulations: gender pay gaps, proportions of men and women by salary quartile, bonus payments, and, arguably most important of all, to do so annually.

But it was also Home Secretary May, the new Conservative-led Coalition and its business supporters who were responsible for delaying this beginning by the seven years between those two bracketed legislative dates, by doing their utmost in 2010 to dilute the implementation of the genuinely radical Equality Act inherited from the Labour Government and its author and driver, Equalities Minister Harriet Harman.

Positive Action just survived – enabling an employer, faced with two candidates of equal merit, to recruit or promote one from an age, racial or gender group under-represented in the workforce in order to increase its diversity. But not the pivotal gender pay audit – “Theresa May axes Harman’s Law”, as the Telegraph exulted. Instead of employers having to reveal their gender pay gaps, a voluntary approach, we were assured, would be preferable.  And true, some big companies did respond: five, to be precise.

So, by 2015, with the UK’s overall gender pay gap – that is, between the total pay averages of all, not just full-time, workers – still close to 20%, it was clear even to ministers that voluntary wasn’t working. Compulsory annual reporting, gender pay gap league tables, and annual gap-closing targets are no magic wand. But they furnish authoritative and hard-to-deny data, and highlight details, patterns and trends – the virtual absence, for instance, of a gender pay gap for full-time men and women between 22 and 39. They also indicate where further data are needed and enable genuinely informed debate.

Hence, the end of the beginning. Harman had been right, although her Equality Act would have constituted a much bigger, as well as earlier, beginning. For, despite its interminable gestation, this month’s exercise has major limitations.  First, it is confined to organisations with 250 or more employees – a count which, contrary to some reports, should include part-time workers and job-sharers (as whole employees), but, significantly for councils, not agency workers or service companies.

Secondly, there is no definitive database of companies with 250-plus employees. No way of knowing, therefore, who’s not reported, never mind penalising them for non-compliance. The most the Government Equalities Office (GEO) can threaten is that non-compliance runs a “reputational risk”. Scary!  Thirdly, there’s no way, with only 14 pieces of information requested, of checking patently implausible returns – not even overall employee totals by gender.

For illustrative purposes, I’ve made my own small comparison of West Midlands metropolitan councils’ returns – obviously very limited in scale, though slightly more than a straight lift from the GEO website.

Gender Pay Gap table

The 14 items of information required of employers comprised:

1 – 2: Mean gender pay gap – difference between women’s and men’s average hourly wage rates across the whole organisation, a -10% gap meaning women’s hourly wage is 10% lower than men’s and that they earn 90p for every £1 that men earn.

3 – 4: Median pay gap – calculated by ranking all employees from highest paid to lowest paid and taking the hourly wage of the person in the middle, a -10% gap meaning the middle-paid woman’s hourly wage is 10% lower than the middle-paid man’s. Median pay is widely considered the preferable measure of ‘typical pay’, less influenced by workers with either very low or very high pay, and is the measure used here.  Currently it is 18.4% for all workers, 1% higher than the mean pay gap.

The GEO helpfully translate the percentages into more readily graspable cash terms, but I’ve always liked the US concept of Equal Pay Day, marking how far into the next calendar year the average American woman must work to earn what the average man earned the previous year – which for 2017/18 just happened to be the Tuesday of this past week, April 10th, representing a mean pay gap of about 21%.

The UK’s Fawcett Society defines it slightly differently, as the day – November 10th last year – after which women in effect begin to work for free, due to the pay gap. That column’s calculations, therefore, are mine.

5 – 9: Proportions of women in each pay quartile, calculated by dividing all employees into four even groups according to their pay, and indicating women’s representation at different levels of the organisation.

10 – 14: Proportion of men and women receiving bonuses; mean and median gender bonus gaps. Important statistics, but excluded here, since Solihull and Walsall were the only councils paying bonuses.

Hopefully, after that much explanation, the figures speak largely for themselves, at least as a starting point for discussion or further examination. The sector headline results were widely reported, particularly by the Local Government Chronicle, though usually using mean, rather than median, figures.  Two-thirds of councils – 193 of 293, and all but Coventry in the WM metro sample – reported mean pay differences of over 5%, the threshold deemed “significant” by the Equality & Human Rights Commission. In just 18 of the 193 cases was the gap in favour of women, but these did include both Worcester City and neighbouring Wyre Forest councils.

The former, interestingly, is fractionally over the 250-employee threshold, but obviously plenty of smaller districts are below, like Malvern Hills (in which an INLOGOV colleague has more than a passing interest), which shares an all-male senior management team with Wychavon district, but the genders of whose 170 staff it’s not required even to count. Not yet, anyway. But, as Harriet Harman would be entitled to note, this is barely the end of the beginning.

chris gameChris Game is a Visiting Lecturer at INLOGOV interested in the politics of local government; local elections, electoral reform and other electoral behaviour; party politics; political leadership and management; member-officer relations; central-local relations; use of consumer and opinion research in local government; the modernisation agenda and the implementation of executive local government.

This blog was originally posted on the Political Studies Association Insights blog.

The views and content of this blog reflect the views of the author and not the views of INLOGOV or the University of Birmingham.