Providing fair employment – a co-operative approach – Oldham Council

Posted on 30th June, 2014

Oldham’s Fair Employment Charter

Building on the success of previous co-operative campaigns such as Fair Energy and Fares Fair, Fair Employment is one of the Council’s latest campaigns to secure a fairer deal for Oldham residents.

The Fair Employment Charter (FEC) reflects our ambition to do more than just reduce the number of unemployed residents in Oldham. We want to create employment opportunities that are fair, ethical, responsible and sustainable. As the largest employer in Oldham, and with a strong emphasis on place leadership, we have a responsibility to positively influence and improve conditions of employment and encourage all of Oldham’s 6,000 businesses, and our own suppliers, to do the same.

Employers who sign up to the Charter pledge to:

  1. Pay a living wage
  2. Offer fair contracts and stability of employment
  3. Offer access to training and support
  4. Support membership of trade unions
  5. Enable and encourage employees to ‘do their bit’ for the borough
  6. Support local people into work through Get Oldham Working

To view the Charter on our website, click here.

Working with businesses and our partners

Securing the support of local businesses is vital to the success of the Charter. Through high profile support, an on-going PR campaign and coverage of the Charter at local events, we’re raising the awareness of the benefits and value of fair and equal employment conditions to business.

The Fair Employment Charter was initially launched at the Oldham Business Awards on 21 March 2014 and was formally launched at an OBLG Business Breakfast on 4 June 2014. This was to promote the Charter to businesses and encourage them to sign up.

Other engagement activity includes:

  • Engaging businesses via the OBLG’s Enterprise Fund to support young entrepreneurs and grow existing organisations
  • Focusing on the ‘Top 100 Oldham Businesses’ to gain the backing of businesses that are:

o   creating new employment opportunities

o   strategically important to the borough

o   new businesses with growth potential

o   businesses within growth sector

  • Using the Council’s Business Engagement Programme, which links businesses to a range of support and campaigns, where Councillors and Officers can speak to businesses about supporting the Charter. It is important to note that this would be at a district level as well as a borough-wide level

Working with our suppliers

As the largest organisation in Oldham, we can encourage our suppliers to join us in becoming ‘fair employers’ through responsible procurement procedures such as the Social Value Procurement Charter. This way we can act responsibly and create a positive impact across our networks.

Through working with businesses, partners and suppliers we will recognise the efforts of local employers and optimise the positive influence the council can exert through procurement and regeneration programmes.

What is Get Oldham Working?

Working with partners across all sectors, Oldham Council set out to turn this around. The Get Oldham Working (GOW) Programme was launched in May 2013. Get Oldham Working is our strategic programme to increase skills, employment, business engagement and support opportunities and aims to:

  • Provide 2,015 work related opportunities by 2015
  • Guarantee that every 18 year old leaving school in 2015 can access continued education, training, apprenticeship or a job

And there are signs that our approach is working – since the launch of the campaign we have seen significant reductions in unemployment across Oldham. Over the last 12 months unemployment in Oldham has fallen sharply. In April 2014 the Job Seekers Allowance Claimant Count was 4,422 (down from 7,985 in April 2013) – making Oldham the 3rd best performing local authority across Greater Manchester.[1] The Youth Unemployment Rate (i.e. the proportion of 18-24 year olds claiming JSA) was 3.8% in April 2014 (down from 10.7% in April 2013) – making Oldham the best performing local authority across Greater Manchester.[2] Although the figures are distorted through the introduction of Universal Credit (movement off JSA onto UC), over the last 12 months unemployment in Oldham has fallen due to; more local job opportunities, the impact of the Get Oldham Working campaign and the potential impact of tougher sanctions imposed on claimants.

 

[1] Economic Review (May 2014)

[2] Economic Review (May 2014)