Our commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion

Our commitment

Our increasingly diverse community of staff and students is part of what makes our University so special. Valuing the different contributions that each of us brings and respecting each other sits at the heart of our commitment to the talented people who visit, work and study with us.

We're fully committed to promoting equality and eliminating discrimination for our staff and students, applicants and visitors. This means that as an integral part of the way we work, we seek to ensure that people are treated equitably regardless of their:

  • age
  • disability
  • ethnicity (including race, colour and nationality)
  • gender
  • gender reassignment
  • religion or belief
  • sexual orientation
  • marriage and civil partnership
  • pregnancy or maternity.

We regularly review our approaches to ensure we deliver our commitment. For example, since the report by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) Report in October 2019 “Tackling racial harassment: Universities Challenged” our University Executive leadership team has reaffirmed their commitment to ensure we take action to tackle all forms of racial harassment and any other harassment.


The Board of Governors, through the Vice-Chancellor, has ultimate responsibility for ensuring that our equality policies are fully implemented. 

Each manager is accountable for delivering the equality commitments in their areas of responsibility. 

All staff are required to ensure that they apply the University’s equality and diversity policies and this is enshrined in our job descriptions.

But there is a broader expectation that as well as our staff teams, all of our students, partners, and those carrying out work or delivering services on our behalf will comply with our policies and ensure that their behaviour and/or actions do not amount to conscious or unconscious discrimination or bullying and harassment in any way.

On a day-to-day basis University Equality Diversity and Inclusion team working in partnership with the Academic Registry as well as alongside our committees and other forums support us in guiding, implementing, and meeting our annual reporting responsibilities under the Public Sector Equality Duty.

In February 2020 the University of Plymouth launched “Speak Up” which is an online reporting tool available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. This tool allows staff, students and visitors to report incidents anonymously so we can continue our preventative work against abuse, hate or harm. For staff, we also have established informal and formal policies and process and support networks to understand and tackle all forms of harassment (e.g. confidential dignity and respect advisors network, staff networks).

Our approach 

The world we live in is constantly evolving, but at the core of our work we need a clear and simple structure to discuss matters and make decisions. We recognise that our governance and reporting structures are critical to our success.  We intend to build on our excellent reputation for the quality of our reporting, and our ability to monitor our progress and success against our equality and diversity commitments. This will include reviewing the way we work on a formal basis to:

  • monitor the progress we are making against our equality objectives
  • determine proposals for changes to our policies
  • collectively discuss plans and actions we want to put in place to realise these.

In 2012/13, we decided to start making some changes. We formally recognised the critical role that diversity plays in shaping our University culture. In agreement with our governors, we began by changing the name and terms of reference of our central equality and diversity committee. Renamed as our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee (EDIC), the committee asked itself three key questions that shape the work we're now doing:

  • How do we measure and capitalise on the true value that the diversity and richness of our talented people brings to us, through their skills and experience?
  • How do we articulate this in a way that moves beyond reporting on individual protected characteristics, but rather recognises the multiple facets that each of us possesses?
  • Is the way that we communicated and connected our formal reporting responsibilities in the past the way that we want to moving forward?

We're embarking on a new journey to answer these questions. A journey where everyone connected with the University feels that they can bring the best of themselves in to what they do, and interact with others in a way which is respectful and empowering. This is in line with our University values.  

Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Committees

Reporting ultimately to the Board of Governors, the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee (EDIC) includes representatives from our academic, research and student communities, staff network representatives, as well as from our professional services and trade unions. Each faculty has it's own EDIC which in turn reports to the University EDIC.

Members of the EDIC come from a broad spectrum of backgrounds and career levels, with each person being recognised for the unique voice and perspective they bring to our work. They are selected for their passion, their insights and commitment to making a difference.

Collectively, the EDIC works on cross-university matters, with faculty committees leading on work local to them. Professor Dafydd Moore is our executive champion and chair of the EDIC.

Staff networks

We have a number of networks colleagues can access, which:

  • provide a supportive networking environment
  • influence the University’s equality and diversity agenda
  • contribute to policy and decision making
  • organise equality and diversity related events
  • celebrate success.

Network representatives support and inform our work so that our University is always a welcoming and inclusive place to work, study and visit.

The University holds a Bronze Athena SWAN award and we're also a Stonewall Diversity Champion - find out more about what this means for our LGBT staff and students.

Reports and governance

The University has numerous requirements to share information and data on a wide-range of areas including the Gender Pay Gap, however, we aim to be as transparent as possible with our reporting and our actions to tackle issues raised.

As well as our annual Gender Pay Gap report we issue an Annual Equality Report and hold details of our successful Athena SWAN applications.

Read our latest reports