Aims of the strategy

This EqIA covers two parts of a major project: the publication of Dorset Council’s Workplace Travel Plan 2020-25 and the implementation of the measures and initiatives outlined in the plan. The second part is dependent on the action plan developed as part of the Workplace Travel Plan 2020-25. Further EqIAs may be required for subsequent projects/interventions. 

Background to the proposal

Dorset Council is newly formed; a climate emergency has been declared along with the aspiration to be carbon neutral by 2030 and the transport and travel sector is filled with new technological innovations that make it an exciting time to be rethinking the way we travel.

With sustainability so high on the council’s agenda, this presents the perfect opportunity to sweep away the old habits and behaviours around workplace travel and to revamp our infrastructure for the 21st century. Whilst a few workplace travel plans exist among the former councils, they have become outdated and no longer reflect the aspirations of the newly formed council. 

In 2019 around 4.5 million business miles were claimed by about 3000 employees, agency staff and associates, using their own vehicles. The cost of these claims was £2.1 million. We estimate that at least 13 million commuter miles were driven during 2019. The total daily commute for staff if they all journey to their centre of duty is about 26,000 miles. The COVID19 crisis and the accompanying lock down will have impacted these figures dramatically with an estimated 2,500 people forced to work from home. At the time of writing there is no way to estimate what these figures may look like when a new normal takes shape and work/travel patterns stabilise. The only certainty is that work and work prompted travel behaviours will be different to the patterns seen before lockdown. 

Of the people journeying to work (pre-COVID19) around 1500 are based at County Hall with a further estimated 800-1000 people based in Dorchester. County Hall is the only one of the 120+ Council sites (excluding schools) where a charge is made for parking; there are about 350 spaces including the Loder’s car park. The Workplace Travel Plan 2020-2025 has a Countywide scope – all sites including County Hall will get a travel audit from which recommendations will be made. 

Dorset Council signs up to services provided by Liftshare.com. Numbers using this are dwindling with only around 130 Council staff signed up to the service. 

A cycle to work scheme is offered bi-annually to support people with the “purchase”, using salary sacrifice, of a bicycle for travel to work. 

The Council operate a small pool fleet of between 12-15 vehicles. These are mostly based at County Hall with additional hire pool cars placed at the former district council sites. The current pool car arrangements have considerable scope for improvement that amongst many other things will address the inequalities around the existing set up.

Why we have a Workplace Travel Plan

Workplace travel plans are a way of tackling the pollution, inefficiency and undesirable economic and environmental cost of travel to/from and at work. 

This is achieved by encouraging efficient and environmentally friendly methods for travelling to work and at work. They seek to encourage the use of lift sharing, buses, trains, walking, cycling, and alternative working methods. Car use is discouraged, but if it is essential then it should be made in the most sustainable vehicle available.  

Dorset Council employs more than 4500 people (excluding school staff) across over 100 sites. Travel to and from these sites, and travel in the fulfilment of its duties makes up a significant number of journeys and has a significant impact on the environment. If the Council is to stand a chance of achieving its goal of carbon neutrality by 2030 it must address the part of its business activity that contributes up to 38% of its carbon footprint. 

There are other impacts too of all this movement. Congestion, (anyone travelling along the Dorchester-Weymouth corridor at half past eight in the morning will understand what this means), not to mention pollutants both have a negative impact on health and the environment. 

The Workplace Travel Plan 2020-25 fits with the Climate and Ecological Emergency Strategy, Low Carbon Framework, Corporate Plan, and the Local Transport Plan. Schools are not included as they tend to have their own travel plans and are guided by the Schools Mode of Travel to Schools Strategy. 

Intelligence and communication 

Data, information, evidence and research used and how it has influenced the decision-making process

An attempt was made to extrapolate data from the 2011 Census based on two census questions relating to work related travel:

  • method of travel to work
  • distance travelled to work

Whilst Dorset wide data is available for the whole population, BAME groups, age and gender for these questions, when the data was translated into a profile for Dorset Council it was deemed unusable because:

  • 2011 data is 9 years old
  • the numbers against each group were so low it would be difficult to draw any reliable conclusions from the data
  • there was no discernible relationship between the census data and other known, more recent datasets

For comparison purposes the annual UK National Travel Survey is a household survey of personal travel by residents of England travelling within Great Britain, from data collected via interviews and a seven-day travel diary. Some key uses of the data include describing patterns, for example how different groups of people travel, monitoring trends in travel, including sustainable modes; assessing the potential equality impacts of transport policies on different groups; and contributing to evaluation of the impact of policies.

Scope of the Workplace Travel Plan 2020-25 is limited to employees and associates, so the impact of its initiatives is internally focused. Schools/education is out of scope because they generally have their own travel plans. SEN and other Council run transport is out of scope and being addressed through a separate review. 

Internal EqIA data

The data contained within this EqIA for internal analysis relates to non-school’s employees, as the system does not encompass those working in schools. The data below was collected at two different times. The data for age, disability, ethnicity and gender were all collected as at 31 October 2019. The data for sexual orientation and religion/belief was as part of an EqIA collected between 29-31 May 2019. It relates to all employees of Dorset Council, held on the HR Payroll systems: SAP and ResourceLink. 

Data as at 31 May 2019

Gender

Gender
Category Overall workforce (count)
Male 1,758 37
Female 2,946 63
Total 4,704 100

Ethnicity

Ethnicity
Category  Overall workforce (count) %
White British 3,258 69%
White other 113 2
BAME 53 1
Prefer not to say 354 8
Not declared 926 20
Total 4,704 100

Disability

Disability
 Category Overall workforce (count) %
Disabled 129 3
Not disabled 2,710 57 
Prefer not to say 312 7
Not declared 1,553 33
Total 4,704 100

Age

Age
Category Overall workforce (count) %
14 to 24* 293 6
25 to 39 1,124 24
40 to 49 1,116 24
50 to 59 1,441 31
60 to 64 482 10
65+ 248 5
Total 4704 100

* Employees aged between 14-16 are casual swim helpers. Data collected between 29 to 31 May 2019.

Religion / belief

Religion
Category Overall workforce %
Christian 15.14
Buddhist 0.14
Hindu 0.02
Jewish 0.02
Muslim 0.02
Other 0.72
No religion 10.99
Prefer not to say 4.02
Not declared 68.93
Total 100

Data gathered will be used to inform the actions and interventions emerging from the Workplace Travel Plan 2020-25. 

National Travel Survey data can be used to indicate potential bias for scheme implementation. For example, at a national level, women are a third less likely to cycle than men. Recognition of this fact and its potential implications would therefore need to be accounted for in any cycling initiatives proposed as part of the workplace travel plan.

Results of 2019 National Travel Survey published August 2020 

Workplace Travel Survey, planned as part of the proposal. The survey will be run at a point when workplace travel has stabilised post COVID-19 lockdown and other measures which have changed travel behaviours. This may not be until beyond March 2021, the Workplace Travel Plan is a living document so the survey even at this late point will be relevant. Workplace travel surveys will be a bi-annual event. 

Four employee forum engagement workshops were held in June-July 2020. The workshops covered all aspects of the proposed workplace travel hierarchy. The workshops generated ideas for inclusion into the workplace travel plan. Delegates were encouraged to consider ways in which specific interventions would impact different personas or cohorts of people. A summary of the workshop output will be included in the Workplace Travel Plan. 

Hive Survey – August 2020 – data from this survey has informed our understanding of the impact of COVID-19 and the increase in working from home. 

Engagement or consultation that has taken place as part of this EqIA

These stakeholders will be consulted/engaged with, and their views accounted for in successive drafts of this workplace travel plan:

  • representatives of employee groups with protected characteristics
  • all participating council employees across all sites
  • council members
  • special interest groups
  • senior leadership team
  • human resources and organisational development
  • transformation team members
  • parking services
  • fleet management
  • transport planning
  • facilities management
  • Dorset Council Climate Change Advisory Panel
  • Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council
  • trade unions
  • Dorset Property
  • Workplace Travel Plan Group
  • Dorset Workplace

Internal engagement/consultation planned:

  • 4 online employee forum engagement workshops
  • touring exhibition boards at 7-15 locations – subject to COVID-19 measures
  • travel plan versions available on the intranet
  • sharing of successive drafts of the Workplace Travel Plan 2020-25
  • face to face/online meetings with key stakeholder groups
  • presentation of key elements to senior leadership team/s
  • interactive exercises
  • Dorset Workplace group

External engagement/consultation:

  • interim Workplace Travel Plan 2020-25 available online
  • Dorset County Hospital
  • Workplace Travel Plan 2020-25 shared with BPC Council
  • joint initiatives with BPC Council
  • Dorset Travel Service
  • Sustrans
  • public transport bodies 

Feedback

Via the Workplace Travel Plan 2020-25 which will be made available online (externally/internally) and in printed format upon request at various points in its lifecycle beginning with the first draft. 

Workplace Travel Survey – separate feedback/analysis published via staffnet/staff Facebook pages .

Assessment

Impacts of the strategy

impacts table
Impacts on who or what? Effect Details

Age

Unclear

Data from the national travel survey suggests there are differences in travel habits, vehicle ownership and vehicle licenses held which need to be considered for initiatives/actions coming out of the Workplace Travel Plan. 

Employee’s at different life stages will have different needs and demands on their travel patterns and habits. Impacts of these will also need to be considered for any future initiatives.

Disability:

(including physical, mental, sensory and progressive conditions)

Neutral

It’s important that the workforce can contribute to and comment on different drafts of the Dorset Workplace Travel Plan 2020-25. The plan will be available in accessible format. 

For example, an initiative encouraging pool car use as an alternative to an employee’s own vehicle would need to make allowances for drivers who require a specially adapted vehicle. 

Policy changes and/or initiatives designed to encourage active travel (or discourage single occupancy vehicle use) should account for the needs and abilities of different groups. The current cycle to work scheme, for example, caps the cost of a cycle at £2000 which whilst enough for most users may not be enough for someone needing a specially designed/adapted cycle. 

Initiatives or infrastructure changes must of course adhere to legislative requirements e.g. access, parking provision etc. An illustrative example is parking for electric vehicles – these must be wide bays accessible to wheelchair users. 

Inevitably there will be initiatives which have a benefit to those employees able to take advantage of them. Where a person with a disability cannot take advantage of that initiative care must be taken to ensure they are not disadvantaged. For example, electric pool cars being widely available to employees will have several benefits for them – reduced wear and tear on their own vehicle, reduced fuel costs, use of a newer vehicle etc. If a person with a disability were unable to use the vehicles because they needed a specially adapted vehicle for example, then they must not be unfairly disadvantaged

Gender Reassignment & Gender Identity

Unclear

Dorset Council does not currently collect this data.

Care should be taken that ‘cumulative’ impacts of Workplace Travel Plan 2020-25 initiatives (with other protected characteristics) do not disproportionately adversely affect people undergoing gender reassignment or because of their gender identity.

Engagement with representatives from this protected characteristic group will be sought to establish whether there could be any positive or negative impacts from potential initiatives.

Pregnancy and maternity

Neutral

Care should be taken that workers who are out of the office on family-leave, through Maternity, Paternity, Adoption or Shared-Parental or Dependents Leave should be engaged with and have the same access ability to comment/contribute to each draft of the Workplace Travel Plan 2020-25 as those not absent from the workplace. 

Initiatives emerging from the Workplace Travel Plan 2020-25 will need to consider the impact on this group and accommodate/allow for any additional needs or requirements.

Race and ethnicity

Unclear

Engagement with representatives from this protected characteristic group will be sought to establish whether there could be any positive or negative impacts from potential initiatives.

Religion or belief

Sexual orientation

Marriage or civil partnership

Neutral

It is not felt that the proposals will have a significant impact on this group. The Workplace Travel Plan and subsequent initiatives are applied equally irrespective of protected characteristic

Sex (consider both men and women)

Unclear

The national travel survey identifies several travel characteristics which at a national level would indicate differences between men and women. Currently there is insufficient data available to tell whether these same characteristics could be extrapolated onto the Dorset Council workforce in any meaningful way. For example, more men than women have driving licenses but only if one factors in people aged over 70 where a disproportionate number of men have licenses compared to women – DC has few workers over the age of 70 so it’s unlikely to exhibit the same characteristic. 

The planned Dorset Council workplace travel survey should provide a more reliable picture, subject to any inadvertent/inbuilt bias in what is likely to be a self-selecting survey.

Carers

Unclear

Initiatives emerging from the Workplace Travel Plan could impact this group, but further work needs to be carried out to establish how. For example, an initiative that gives greater access to pool cars that must return to base at the end of the day, may impact on someone’s travel patterns if they have caring responsibilities on the journey to/from work. Data covering this eventuality is sought via the Workplace Travel Survey planned for 2020.

Rural isolation

Unclear

Flexible/remote working reduces the need to travel to a central location/base. Homeworking is encouraged but dependent on good (good enough) internet connectivity which some rural locations can lack. The corporate response to COVID-19 and the fact that 2500 people were able to work remotely demonstrates the possibilities available and the impact on employees. 

Employees in rural locations would benefit (time and cost) from shorter/no journey to/from work if remote working is encouraged/extended (a desirable outcome from the Workplace Travel Plan 2020-25) 

Employees in rural locations often have fewer travel options (distance may rule out active travel methods and public transport may be infrequent or non-existent). Any emergent initiatives should account for this.

Single parent families

Unclear

There are distinct benefits for single parent families in more flexible work time/workplace arrangements if these are a feature of the Workplace Travel Plan.

Care should be taken that cumulative impacts with other protected characteristics do not disproportionately adversely affect people because they are in single parent families for emergent projects coming out of the Workplace Travel Plan 2020-25

Social and economic deprivation

Unclear

Robust statistical data on the effects of poverty on employees does not currently exist.

Higher proportions of women and BME employees on lower pay scales may mean that ‘cumulative’ impacts with poverty disproportionately adversely affects them. 

Initiatives and policy changes proposed in the Workplace Travel Plan could impact people on lower pay scales but until the initiatives are known/staff engaged with, it is difficult to establish the impact (positive or negative on different groups or individuals). 

The council currently expects officers performing a broad range of roles to own/have access to a vehicle. Mileage claim payments are made a month in arrears with the expectation that the travelling officer bear the cost until payment is made. There is no evidence that these two factors on their own create hardship it can be assumed that officers on a lower wage or part-time will be disproportionately impacted when compared with higher waged officers. A Workplace Travel Plan initiative such as one giving greater access to pool vehicles could help address this kind of inequality.

Armed Forces communities

Neutral

Robust statistical data on this group of employees does not currently exist.

However, it is not felt that emergent initiatives from the Workplace Travel Plan 2020-25 will have a significant impact on this group.

Key to impacts 

key to impacts table
Type of impact Explanation of impact
Positive impact 

the proposal eliminates discrimination, advances equality of opportunity and/or fosters good relations with protected groups.

Negative impact 

Protected characteristic group(s) could be disadvantaged or discriminated against.

Neutral impact 

No change/ no assessed significant impact of protected characteristic groups.

Unclear 

Not enough data/evidence has been collected to make an informed decision.

Action plan

action plan table
Issue Action to be taken Person(s) responsible Date to be completed by

Engagement with key stakeholders including if appropriate representatives from protected groups

Carryout consultation on successive drafts of the workplace travel plan prior to final draft publication 

Engage with stakeholder groups to generate ideas and establish how potential ideas/initiatives could impact different personas

Christopher Whitehouse

31 Dec 2020 subject to COVID19 disruption

Workplace travel plan initiatives

Carry out EqIA for each major initiative emerging from the Workplace Travel Plan 2020-25

Christopher Whitehouse and/or project leads

When required – during project initiation phases

Establish workforce views/seek out ideas for potential initiatives

Workforce engagement workshops – factor in items to explore impact of proposed initiatives on protected and other groups

Christopher Whitehouse

Sarah Harvey (Organisational Development)

TU input

31 July 2020

Establishment of baseline data for workforce travel

Workplace Travel Survey 2020

Christopher Whitehouse

Mark Simons

Subject to stabilisation of work-related travel post COVID-19 lockdown

Under representation of key stakeholders

Identify additional stakeholder groups for inclusion in consultation phase

Christopher Whitehouse

31 October 2020

Insufficient data/knowledge to fully complete EqIA

Review and revise EqIA as findings from Workplace Travel Plan 2020-25 emerge

Christopher Whitehouse

31 December 2020

Unknown

Seek out the views and experiences of different protected groups to avoid making assumptions where the EqIA statement is unclear. This includes: BAME, disability, Gender Reassignment and Gender Identity groups

Christopher Whitehouse

31 October 2020

Who has agreed this EqIA?

agreement table
Role Name Date
Officer completing this EqIA

Christopher Whitehouse

8 October 2020

Equality Lead

Susan Ward-Rice

22 October 2020

Equality & Diversity Action Group Chair

Rebecca Forrester

22 October 2020

 

Diversity and Inclusion Officer - Dorset Council

Name: Susan Ward-Rice
Email: susan.ward-rice@dorsetcouncil.gov.uk
Tel: 01305 224368
Full contact details

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