Letter to Age Discrimination Scrutiny Panel. (unanswered)
25 January 2005

25 January 2005

Age Discrimination Scrutiny Panel
Room 223,
Waltham Forest Town Hall

To the members of the Age Discrimination Scrutiny Panel

Last week I was sent, by way of the Community Learning and Skills Service (CLaSS) an attitudinal survey concerning age discrimination.  Until this e-mail was received, I was not aware of the lack of specific legislation making it unlawful for employers to discriminate against applicants and employees on the grounds of their age.

Since reading the survey, several points of concern arise, which include: 

  1. I have not returned the survey form because I received the form by e-mail with only 4 days for completion and return.  The time given to return the survey form is far too short for many people to respond.
  2. Many Council employees and certainly those who are elderly and on fractional and part time contracts, may not have the necessary level of expertise in using e-mail to enable their views to be included in the survey.  I teach this group of people most days each week.
  3. The council’s conditions of service are quite specific about employees reaching retirement age.  When I reached retirement age it went by unnoticed by council, even though the assent of members’ is specifically required if employment is to continue.  Am I now lawfully employed or not? Am I entitled to my wage, however low?
  4. I have heard of staff being compulsorily retired when reaching retirement age and then subsequently being taken on again, but at a lower wage. Is this fair and just?
  5. There are, in CLaSS, no elderly men at a senior management level. Even though, within this group, there will be those who have considerable influence within their own communities and appropriate experience in management.
  6. There are, in CLaSS, no elderly ethnic men or women at a senior management level. Even though, within this group, there will be those who have considerable influence within their own communities and appropriate experience in management.
  7. There are, in CLaSS, no elderly Muslim men at a senior management level. Even though, within this group, there will be those who have considerable influence within their own communities and appropriate experience in management.
  8. Does the term “age discrimination” refer only to the old or also to the young?   The issue of ICT training for younger people was highlighted some years ago at a meeting in the Lea Bridge Road Mosque, at which I together with CLaSS management and Council members were present.
    Senior management in CLaSS, at a meeting last year, highlighted the problem of the lack of inclusion of young ethnic people in education, training and skills acquisiton. I have, for example, very few, if any, young Muslim men in my ICT classes.
  9. Does the term “age discrimination” refer to those employees, possibly single parents returning to work for the first time and on very low incomes, who can not afford to pay in to a pension fund.  These people will, in time, become old and retire impoverished with either little pension or no pension at all. 
    An added age related feature of this form of age discrimination is that as this group becomes older, their earnings increase and pension payments can begin.  However, the pension pay in years reduce each year, with consequent increasing inability to buy back years or to add to their pension by paying in to an AVC. 
    Does the term “age discrimination” refer to an employee who, having no pension, retires on ill health grounds, and receives no pension benefit. 
  10. Is CLaSS in possession of an age discrimination policy? 
    If so, who wrote it?

The Community Learning and Skills Service has no governing body, and as such, is directly responsible to the council for all its policies, procedures and practices, and is accordingly politically driven with attendant political objectives.   This can not be right in a modern plural inclusive democratic society.

Kind regards

Kaleidoscope (LGBT staff network)
17 May 2007
wfcwKaleidoscope (LGBT staff network)
Background
Following from a Management Development Programme (MDP) project report in 2005, the Council supported staff to set up a steering group to help remove the barriers faced by LGBT staff.
The steering group then developed a LGBT staff network which was launched on IDAHO on 17 May 2007.
LBWF Management board LGBT champion
Senior management have a clear commitment to doing more to support LGBT equality in the workplace.
Michelle Moloney, Director of Residents First is the Council's LGBT Champion. Michelle will be working with the LGBT Steering Group and other stakeholders and leading on Council-side communications with all staff on LGBT issues to raise their profile and ensure that all staff have access to LGBT information and support. Michelle will be working closely with the Chairs of the Council's LGBT Steering Group and meeting with Daniel Danso of Stonewall, the lesbian gay and bisexual charity as well as linking into the valuable work done by the LGBT Champion at Ernst and Young who has offered support.
The Council is committed to treating all its staff with respect and dignity and creating a working environment that is safe, harmonious and free from harassment and victimisation. The Council values its diverse workforce. By reflecting the diversity of the communities we serve we can improve the quality of our services and send out a positive message about inclusion and equality of access. For example the Council was recently named by Stonewall as the highest achiever in the capital and third nationally for work in youth involvement projects supporting young people to speak out against homophobia. This achievement was made possible by the work of our LGBT colleagues.
Kaleidoscope (LGBT staff network)
The original staff network was launched on 17 May 2007. The group was refreshed with a new name on our 5th birthday on 17 May 2012 at the event to mark IDAHO – International Day to end Homophobia On this day Kaleidoscope extended its membership to NHS colleagues in North East London Foundation Trust
Who can attend the group
Kaleidoscope is open to any LGBT member of staff working for Waltham Forest Council in schools in Waltham Forest or in NELFT.

Benefits to Waltham Forest Council of having Kaleidoscope (LGBT staff network)

Advocacy and promotion
Provides point of contact for staff and voice for LGBT staff within LBWF and schools
Development of LGBT awareness raising course

Recruitment and retention
Shows visible commitment to diversity internally and externally
Stonewall kite mark = Employer of choice

Community cohesion and engagement
The present of the network and the borough’s engagement in LGBT events such as marking IDAHO  helps the borough reach the community of LBWF and demonstrates the boroughs commitment to equality and diversity and that the borough is a  service provider of choice

Staff engagement
The network is of benefit to individual LGBT members of staff and can also be a resource for non LGBT staff, in relation to consultation on strategies etc, also a  management and  staff support resource

Benefits for staff of having and being part of Kaleidoscope (LGBT staff network)

Point of support
A named point of contact for the authority and for schools which is anonymous and confidential and can provide advice and sign posting.
Mentoring available from named contacts.

Self-development
Opportunity to learn and enhance personal skills around

  • Event organisation
  • Negotiation skills through links with senior management and HR

As well as opportunities to networking across the borough and  with external partners

Representing your borough
Opportunity to represent  Waltham Forest externally at events such as Pride etc.

Kaleidoscope meeting dates 2012/13
3 July 2012 Pre Pride meet up at Walthamstow Town Hall
7 July 2012 – taking part in WorldPride parade with the other 3 London Boroughs who are part of Stonewall top 100 (let us know if you want to take part)
18 October 2012 Meet up in Town Hall
6 December 2012 winter social event venue and date to be confirmed
February 2013 marking LGBT history month – date and venue to be confirmed depending on events taking place
Stonewall annual workplace questionnaire
Stonewall, an organisation that works to achieve equality and justice for lesbians, gay men and bisexual people, is conducting their annual survey to identify Britain’s top employers for lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) staff. All LGB staff are encouraged to participate in this survey. More on the questionnaire
About these pages
This site aims to:

  • Keep you updated with the work of the Steering Group
  • Keep you informed of the LGBT Staff Network Events
  • Inform staff of their rights under the Framework for Personal Practice and Managing People, as well as the Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003 and the Equality Act 2010.
  • Help the Council progress, we have recently signed up to Stonewall’s Diversity Champions Programme in 2006. This programme is the leading good practice forum on sexual orientation. Over 300 organisations have signed up to the programme.

Contacts
For further information on the Staff Network or Steering Group see the links on the right or contact the Steering Group Chairs:
Suzanne Elwick
WFSCB business manager
Phone: 020 8496 3683
Email:suzanne.elwick@walthamforest.gov.uk
Duncan Pike
Assistant Director - Finance
Phone: 020 496 3502
Email:duncan.pike@walthamforest.gov.uk
John Harold
Jenny Hammond School
Phone: 020 8519 3977
Email: john.harold@jennyhammond.waltham.sch.uk
Wendy Anderson
Walthamstow School for Girls
Phone: 020 8509 9446
Email: wendy.anderson@wsfg.waltham.sch.uk
Email lgbt@walthamforest.gov.uk