The Single Status Agreement is a national agreement between the employers and the trades unions which represent the workforce in scope of the National Joint Council for Local Government Services. It was introduced in 1997 as part of the pay settlement and amended by the 2004 settlement.
Single Status is about equity - equal pay for work of equal value. Historically, many employers have maintained a pay gap between male and female employees. Some roles seen as traditionally 'female' may not have been properly rewarded, regardless of their work content or the value they bring. Such employers face risks of equal pay claims. Legislation is in place to end this discrimination.
The council and its individual managers have a legal duty to ensure equal pay between male and female employees who do work of equal value or work rated as equivalent.
Wolverhampton City Council made a commitment to implementing the national Single Status agreement in 1997, in partnership with UNISON and in consultation with other recognised trade unions for Local Government Services' employees, GMB and UNITE. The agreement was successfully implemented in April 2013.
To support and encourage:
- High-quality services delivered by a well-trained, motivated workforce with security of employment. To this end, local authorities are encouraged to provide training and development opportunities for their employees.
- Equal opportunities in employment; equality as a core principle which underpins both service delivery and employment relations; and both the removal of all discrimination and promotion of positive action.
- A flexible approach to providing services to the community, which meets the needs of employees as well as employers.
- Stable industrial relations and negotiation and consultation between local authorities as employers and recognised trade unions
Single status is about equal pay for work of equal value.
In 1997, local government employers and the trade unions signed up to the Single Status Agreement. It covers 'Green Book' employees - members of the workforce covered by the National Joint Council for Local Government Services (NJC).
As well as eliminating any gender-based pay gaps and introducing an 'equality-proofed' pay model, Single Status harmonised pay and terms and conditions between former manual and non-manual workers.
The guiding principles that Wolverhampton City Council followed in its Local Implementation Agreement (LIA) are set out in Part 1 of the 1997 National Single Status Agreement. These emphasised the need for:
- high-quality services delivered by a well-trained, motivated workforce with security of employment
- equal opportunities in employment, with equality as a core principle underpinning both service delivery and employment relations
- the removal of all discrimination and promotion of positive action
- a flexible approach to providing services to the community, which meets the need of employees as well as employers
- stable industrial relations and negotiations and consultation between local authorities as employers and recognised trade unions
On 6 January 2010 the council's Cabinet agreed to use Job Families and Role Profiles for the purpose of Job evaluation. The outcome of the job evaluation process was that posts were allocated to these job families and job profiles in order to facilitate the implementation of Single Status in the council and schools.
WAYS HR, a Manchester-based consultancy which holds a copyright for the Job Family methodology, was engaged to help council managers and school representatives design the Job Families and Role Profiles for Wolverhampton City Council. WAYS HR also trained Managers, some Headteachers, Trade Union representatives and Human Resources (HR) staff to carry out the allocation of council jobs into the new Job Families.
The Single Status Agreement aims to eliminate inequalities in Pay and Grading Structures which have existed historically in most local authorities in the UK.
In January 2010 Cabinet gave approval to the use of a Job Families methodology for completing the Single Status Agreement requirement to carry out factor based job evaluation in order to implement an equality proofed pay model. The Single Status programme team then worked with Ways HR Consulting (who have a copyright for this Job Allocation methodology) up to the final stage of the Job Families project - that of appeals.
In October 2010 Cabinet authorised the procurement of services from RewardWorks, a specialist reward company offering a pay modelling solution with consultancy expertise, to support the programme in designing an affordable pay model.
The role profiles were written by Managers / Headteachers from across the Council, with the help of trade union representatives and support from Human Resources. Most importantly, all those who took part had to be familiar with the areas of work relevant to the profiles they created.
Senior Managers / Headteachers who had the authority to make decisions and who were close enough to day-to-day operations; to understand the type and levels of work that people were doing, allocated all the Council's existing jobs to the appropriate job families and role profiles.
For schools, Headteachers and Business Managers were nominated from the Schools' Implementation Group and their appointments ratified by the School Improvement Partnership Board.
A collective agreement between the council and recognised trade unions was signed in March 2013 and the Single Status agreement was successfully implemented in April 2013. Revised terms and conditions and a new pay and grading structure went live on 1st April 2013. The Job Allocation methodology continues to be used to maintain the integrity of the agreement.