Working together for equality

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.

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 the head of resourcing, diversity and inclusion and the equality and diversity team, alongside our committees and other forums support us in guiding, implementing, and meeting our annual reporting responsibilities under the Public Sector Equality Duty.

Our approach to governance

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 Culture, Diversity and Inclusion Committee (CDIC), 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.  

The CDIC and our faculty committees

Reporting ultimately to the Board of Governors, the CDIC includes representatives from our academic, research and student communities, as well as from our professional services and trade unions. The chairs of faculty equality, diversity and inclusion committees are members, as are nominated representatives from our employee networks.

Members of the CDIC 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 CDIC works on cross-university matters, with faculty committees leading on work local to them. Vikki Matthews, our chief talent officer, is our executive champion and chair of the CDIC.

Employee networks and forums

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.

Following the success of a new way of working piloted with our LGBT staff forum (current staff only) and multi-faith chaplaincy, we're changing our employee networks this year to build on this approach.

We're also a Stonewall Diversity Champion - find out more about what this means for our LGBT staff and students.

Part of the community

One of our University values is 'connected'. And our local and regional commitment is clearly captured in our Strategy 2020.  Across our campus locations what we do, and how we engage with community partners on a daily basis, is an important part of our world. We're proud and privileged to work with local as well as national community partners and organisations. 

In 2013, we hosted Plymouth’s RESPECT Festival. Working in partnership with the Plymouth & Devon Racial Equality Council, we threw open the doors of our campus to welcome local schools, partners and diverse members of our local communities to celebrate our differences in a weekend long celebration.