Lewisham Council praised for gender equality improvements

A review published by the Institute for Employment Studies (IES) has praised Lewisham Council for overcoming its gender pay and position inequality.

The study found that 56 per cent of those in senior grades at Lewisham Council are female, with the pay gap leaning slightly in favour of women. The report found that the council promoted and supported talent regardless of background, with the council’s success attributed to its combination of history, culture and leadership.

The IES also identified that HR and diversity policies played a significant role, in addition to training and the monitoring of diversity statistics. The councils also has a ‘grow your own’ senior talent policy, with 12 out of 26 of the most senior roles held by internally appointed employees.

Duncan Brown, head of HR consultancy at IES, said: “Gender pay and power gaps are not always easy to close so it is nice to be able to report on an HR success story. The learning for other organisations is that there are no easy policy formulas or 'quick wins' to copy. It’s about a sustained focus from the top over a number of years with a wide range of supporting HR and diversity policies.”

Sir Steve Bullock, mayor of Lewisham, welcomed the news: “I’m pleased that we have become a local government leader in this issue. Workplace gender equality is a real focus for us - and the median earnings for female employees in Lewisham are now higher than for men.”