The LGBT impact of cuts to local government services

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2017 Local Government Service Group Conference
23 February 2017

Conference notes that cuts to local government services are biting ever deeper. With the current Tory Westminster government’s economic policies, there are no signs of any relief. This impacts negatively on our members providing those services in innumerable ways. It includes job losses, increasing severity and complexity of service user needs, and reduced pay and terms and conditions. Our members are increasingly being pressurised into ‘doing more with less’ and take on increased workloads, leading to higher rates of work-related stress and sickness absence. This is often compounded by the stress of reorganisations, fear of redundancy, and threats of privatisation / outsourcing of services.

This affects all local government members and we are united in our call for proper investment in our vital local government services and the members that deliver them, and our opposition to increasing privatisation.

Conference also acknowledges that the cuts affect different groups of local government members in different ways, with disproportionate impact on members of disadvantaged groups. Conference welcomes the GPF-funded research conducted last year by NatCen Social Research which investigated the impact on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people and services.

Findings in relation to the local government workforce include:

1)Redundancies in specialist LGBT and other equalities posts;

2)Increase in short-term temporary contracts and high turnover, making it difficult for staff to establish robust equality expertise and networks;

3)Increasingly wide-ranging remits for equality work, which prove very difficult to cover;

4)LGBT equality and inclusion increasingly seen as a buzzword with little value;

5)LGBT workforce training out of date, with reduced funding for it;

6)Considerable increase in workload and stress, with people working harder for less pay in real terms;

7)Increasingly low staff morale, sickness and burnout.

Conference notes that these findings back up 2016 Liveable Lives research into how local authorities in England are meeting their Equality Act duties. This research showed that the local authorities surveyed were doing little or no work directed at LGBT equality. This clearly has implications for LGBT workers.

Conference therefore calls on the local government service group executive to:

a)include the findings of the LGBT cuts research in campaigning against local government cuts and for pay justice;

b)use the findings to recruit and organise around the impact of the cuts, working with the LGBT group to highlight the particular LGBT impact;

c)continue to encourage local government branches to work with community organisations to campaign against cuts and privatisation, and support initiatives in the Save our Services campaign;

d)remind local government employers that they are responsible for our members’ health, safety and welfare, working with the national health and safety committee on tools to assist members deal with the stresses of austerity.