For the meeting of the Senate to be held on 3 July 2014
Annual Report on Equality and Diversity
The attached paper updates the Senate Committee on progress on key equality and diversity activities during 2013/14.
In addition to reporting on Equality and Diversity Strategy and supporting projects, the paper also highlights areas of current internal and external activity that may be of interest to the Senate Committee.
The Senate Committee are invited to receive the update report and provide any feedback to the Chair of the Equality and Diversity Committee accordingly.
Chair of the Equality and Diversity Committee
UNIVERSITY OF WARWICK
For the meeting of Senate to be held on 3 July 2014
Annual Report on Equality and Diversity
Equality and Diversity is fundamentally key to many of Warwick’s strategic objectives, and this continues to be highlighted in the recent consultation on the revised University Strategy. The University has a long standing commitment to the promotion of equality and strives to engage and consult with staff and students on a wide range of equality issues. Numerous activities/events are undertaken to promote awareness and meet the needs of different groups of staff and students in order to mainstream and embed consideration of equality into our day-to-day business activities.
Funding Councils have also been placing more emphasis on seeking assurances from HEIs that they are delivering on their equality and diversity agenda.
Athena SWAN and the Gender Equality Charter Mark (GEM)
Significant progress continues to be made by the STEMM departments in their Athena work. In 2013/14 the University successfully achieved institutional Silver Athena status, making it only the fourth institution to hold this prestigious award. The Department of Physics renewed their Athena Silver award, along with their Institute of Physics JUNO Champion status. WMG, Mathematics and Statistics all successfully achieved Athena Bronze status, and Computer Science re-submitted an application for a Bronze award in the April 2014 round. If successful, this will mean that all STEMM departments at Warwick have an Athena accreditation.
The Equality Challenge Unit has developed a Gender Equality Charter Mark which aims to address gender inequalities and imbalance in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, in particular the under-representation of women in senior roles. The Charter Mark utilises the experience and methodology of the Athena SWAN Charter, which will continue to operate as it currently stands, with a view to bringing the Charters together in the future.
WBS have submitted for a Bronze GEM award in the pilot of the scheme, the result of which will be known in August 2014. Meanwhile every opportunity is being taken to disseminate information on the GEM Charter Mark to other departments within the Arts and Social Science Faculties. Several ‘Windows on Warwick’ sessions have been scheduled to encourage departments to start to think about working towards a submission.
A second Athena Annual Report was produced which outlined progress to date and future plans for Warwick’s Athena work – see:
Significant progress is being made on the actions against our HR Excellence in Research submission, which demonstrates the University’s commitment to improving the working conditions and career development for research staff. Progress is monitored and recorded regularly, which includes consultation with the Postdoctoral Research Forum. Up-dates are annually reported to the University Research Committee. In January 2015, the University is scheduled to be reviewed by Vitae to ensure that we are meeting the correct standards of the Concordat and that we are progressing our HR Excellence in Research Action Plan satisfactorily.
The University became a Stonewall Diversity Champion in 2012. Stonewall is Britain’s good practice employers’ forum on sexual orientation. During 2012/13, the University has been implementing some of the suggestions made by Stonewall from feedback on Warwick’s submission to the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index. A decision was taken that until more of the actions were completed or progressed, the University would not participate in the Index in 2013/14. Progress to date includes preparing Warwick’s management systems to collect data on sexual orientation and the establishment of a Staff LGBT Network Group.
HESA Data Collection
Further to points raised during the consultation on HESA data collection with the Chaplaincy and Students Union, terminology and clarification on what the data will be used for have been taken into account where possible in the implementation of the data collection of sexual orientation and religion and belief. The HR systems team is currently modifying sub-screens on the HR system to prepare for the collection. The staff personal record form has been modified for new staff, and existing staff will be asked for this information as part of the next data cleansing exercise.
Progress on the University Equality Objectives continues to be monitored and up-dated and subject to approval from the Senate and Council, the updated version will be published on the Equality and Diversity web pages. A number of objectives are now completed and others embedded into annual business. It is proposed to review the Equality Objectives for 2015 onwards in line with the new University Strategy.
Statistical data is taken at a census date of 1 October each year to report on an analysis of staff by ethnicity, gender, age and disability, and is broken down by staff category and grades. In previous years, recruitment and selection data was produced in a separate report, but these statistics have now been incorporated into one report. It was noted that there has been a slight increase in staff choosing not to disclose against protected characteristics, and this issue will be addressed as part of the annual data cleansing exercise. The report will also be used to consider progress in relation to the equality objectives and to benchmark externally.
An equality impact assessment (EIA) was completed prior to the submission of the University of Warwick’s REF Code of Practice (CoP) to HEFCE for approval. The impact assessment outlined a number of actions that the University would undertake to ensure that the procedure for selecting staff for inclusion in the REF submission was fair, transparent and that the selection process did not discriminate against individuals with protected characteristics.
The REF Executive Steering Group considered appropriate management information reports during the course of 2013. Any prima facie imbalances were investigated by the REF Executive Steering Group (REF ESG) to ensure that appropriate action was taken. The REF ESG reviewed the EIA as the University’s submission was prepared, and made any necessary changes to prevent discrimination or promote equality prior to the submission deadline.
In determining the impact of the CoP on equality and specifically those individuals with protected characteristics, the EIA considered both statistical data on the REF submission and qualitative data based on consultation with staff and key decision makers within the REF process. The assessment also reflected back on the commitments within the CoP to evaluate the general effectiveness of the processes contained within the Code.
A number of issues identified through consultation, feedback and the statistics have been highlighted for further consideration, both from a wider equality aspect, as well as for the next Research Exercise.
Training on Equality and Diversity
During the period 1 June 2013 to 31 May 2014 a number of Equality and Diversity Training sessions have been held:
Face to Face Training Sessions:
No of Staff that have taken the course
‘Think what You Think’
‘Types of Discrimination’
‘Mental Health Awareness’
No of Staff that have taken the course
Diversity in the Workplace
305 (as opposed to 118 in 2012/13)
Recruitment and Selection
190 (as opposed to 74 in 2012/13)
Further training days have been scheduled for 2013/14.
Other Equality and Diversity training include: Windows on Warwick sessions on Unconscious Bias and Gender Equality Charter Mark briefings to departments.
Disability Interest Group (DIG) for staff and students, continues to meet termly and reports to the Equality and Diversity Committee. The group provides an open forum for discussion, review and implementation of disability related actions. The Disabled Staff Network Support Group meet immediately after DIG meetings.
The Equality and Diversity Network Group also meet termly and provides an opportunity for staff to understand and engage with a number of E&D projects and activities. At its January 2014 meeting, the Welfare and Campaigns Officer for the Students’ Union gave a very informative presentation on the Students’ Union approach to Equality and Diversity. The E&D Network group reports to the E&D Committee, highlighting issues for further discussion.
The Returning Parents Network Group continues to meet regularly and has had a number of both internal and external speakers attend meetings, which continue to be well attended.
Academic Womens’ Network Group
The Academic Womens’ Network Group meets once a term and is chaired by Professor Pam Thomas (Chair of the Faculty of Science). At a meeting in February 2014, Siobhan Benita, the Director of Policy and Strategy in the Economics Department, gave a presentation on her experiences as a women working in Whitehall, which was extremely well received. The group continues to discuss and support initiatives that could be instigated to ensure that all staff have the opportunity to achieve their full potential.
Legislation and External Benchmarking
Review of the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED)
The Government undertook a review of the public sector Equality duty and the specific duties, in particular in relation to public sector procurement processes and the collection, retention and use of diversity data by public bodies.
The Independent Steering Group responsible for the review recommended that it is too early to make a final judgment about the impact of the Public Sector Equality Duty, since it was only introduced in April 2012. Therefore the Government propose to conduct a full evaluation of the PSED in 2016, when the duty will have been in force for five years.
The Equality Act 2010 – Third Party Harassment Provisions Repealed
It was reported that from 1 October 2013, the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 has abolished the third party harassment provisions of the Equality Act 2010. However even though the third party harassment provisions have been abolished, University staff and students must ensure that appropriate action is taken to examine any alleged claim of harassment.
The University will continue to participate in appropriate Equality and Diversity Network Groups such as the Russell Group Diversity Network and the Higher Education Equal Opportunities Network to share best practice and to consult with the sector.
Work will continue on many of the initiatives mentioned above in this report, and further engagement with the staff and student community is planned to highlight equality and diversity issues, with a view to embedding E&D into core processes.
Whilst significant progress is being made on some initiatives, there are others, such as achieving full diversity in the academy, that require further consideration and action at institutional level, and where achieving substantial change is slow. However it is imperative that the university has robust measures in place to ensure not only compliance with legal requirements but also to promote equality of opportunity and good relations on campus.
The University Council (through the Vice Chancellor) has overall responsibility for equal opportunities and this will continue to be taken forward through the Equality and Diversity Committee which reports jointly to Senate and Council, given that Equality and Diversity is fundamental to every aspect of business.