A number of councils, including Cheshire CC as well as North Yorkshire CC, face bills of over £1 million following the ruling earlier this year (LGC, 14 July).
In it the House of Lords upheld appeals by three dinner ladies who claimed they had been the victims of sex discrimination when their wages were cut to give the direct service organisation a better chance of retaining the contract when it came up for tender.
A spokesperson for the Local Government Management Board said the DoE's stance was helpful.
However, the DoE was less helpful in advising how DSOs can remain competitive but still comply with the equal pay laws.
'The message seems to be that authorities must find a way of being competitive and comply with equal pay legislation regardless of any difficulties this poses,' the LGMB says in a bulletin published this week.