Indicators show Welsh councils have poor staff equality record

4 Apr 02
Local authorities in Wales have a poor record on employing senior female staff and people from ethnic minorities, while service standards still show huge disparities, according to a compendium of performance indicators published this week.

05 April 2002

The Best Value and supplementary indicators were released by the Audit Commission for Wales on April 2 with surprisingly little fanfare and even less commentary.

The report, a precursor to a more comprehensive review of public services expected later this year, indicates a poor record on diversity. According to the figures, just 0.45% of the local authority workforce are from ethnic minorities, only 1.47% have disabilities and an average of 15% of senior positions are held by women, falling to 4% in Wrexham and 5% in the Isle of Anglesey.

Significantly, nine out of the 22 councils had not implemented the Commission for Racial Equality's Standard for Local Government, which sets out guidelines on services and employment. On a scale of 0-5 for conforming to the standard, only three managed to get as high as 2.

Seven councils also admitted that none of their buildings was suitable for people with disabilities. Top of the league is Rhondda Cynon Taff, which has 91.

Service standards also showed wide disparities between authorities. In social services, Bridgend managed to visit 100% of children on its at-risk register every six weeks compared with 38% in the Vale of Glamorgan. The average time to relet properties was 105 days for Cardiff and just 19 days in Rhondda Cynon Taff.

The report also included the first user-satisfaction survey for benefits services. Only 60% of users were happy with the clarity of forms, but 77% were satisfied with the service from staff.


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