Councils Facing Legal Challenges over Job Cuts

Councils have been warned that they could face legal challenges over job cuts on equality grounds. The warning came after a Freedom of Information request made by the public sector union UNISON, found that nearly three quarters (72 per cent) of councils did not complete equality impact assessments (EIAs) over their initial redundancy proposals and 78 per cent of councils did not complete EIAs on their final job loss plans. 

Under their public sector equality duties, councils must give ‘due regard’ to equality when making decisions, say the union and completing equality impact assessments is one of the key ways for councils to do this. 

Heather Wakefield, UNISON Head of Local Government, said: 

“Councils are duty bound to make sure job cuts do not have a disproportionate impact on women, on workers with disabilities or ethnic minority staff. But this survey shows they are flouting the rules and ploughing ahead with heavy job cuts regardless. 

“Councils should put the brakes on and take a closer look at the effect of job cuts. Women, ethnic minorities and people with disabilities are well represented in the local government workforce, so there’s a real chance that heavy job losses will fall disproportionately on to these groups. This could leave the door wide open to costly and time-consuming legal challenges.”


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