In response to a mandate from the University of Exeter Council, the Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity (EDI) Team were tasked with consolidating their work and the work taking place throughout the institution into a coherent, robust and future-proof plan/vision that would enable the University of Exeter not only to be compliant with its legal duties under the Equality Act 2010 and institution wide commitments, but also support a positive inclusive culture and national best practice. 

The proposed changes in approach include new:

1. Aims and Objectives

2. Vision

3. Prioritisation Model

4. Supporting Governance Structures

We believe that Vision 2025’s new aims and will ensure that appropriate steps are taken to resolve these challenges by:

Ensuring the transition from a year on year Action Plan to a Single Equality Scheme (SES) that runs until July 2025

  • The Action Plan/SES will show a clear direction, continue to monitor current metrics, introduce new measures that evidences progress (using external quality benchmarking where possible), impact and extent to which we are achieving cultural competence.
  • A strengthened governance structure for each Equality Group, reporting clearly to the University Inclusivity group, VCEG and University Council
  • The SES will look to maintain good practice and priorities as well as focus on the essential compliance that needs to take place. The scheme will enable us to monitor progress and identify more challenging and aspirational changes.
  • The SES/Action plan will include University Wide focus on action for all those whose responsibility is to lead on EDI (not only the EDI Team)
  • It will be clear which groups will be benefiting from the actions
  • The plan will move away from a deficit model and include an asset-based and social model1 approach which put an emphasis the environment and what the institution can do to change.

We believe the proposed model achieves several outcomes:

  1. It clearly describes the current progress in relation to achieving compliance, culture change and cultural competence for each equalities community
  2. It describes what work will be a priority for the EDI Team
  3. It highlights the manner in which ED&I Activity Supports University Strategic Aims
  4. It enables conversations about priority to be link to business and other ED&I drivers in a coordinated manner
  5. This model will give the ED&I team the ability to clearly understand what work they should undertake linking this to the overall vision.  Whilst the model of prioritisation is primarily an aid to the EDI Team and recommendations to the wider University. It does not prevent others in the University progressing in various EDI agendas.

In developing the Vision 2025 we had a number of pre-consultations. For more information please the full EIA document <link>.

Sessions took place with:

EDI Team, Wellbeing Team and Provost Commission Officer                                   

Christian Carter (Head of OD) and Linda Peka (Director of Operations and Executive lead for EDI)

University Inclusivity Group, HRSMT and OD Team

 

Now this version will now go out to wider consultation to a wider group of students and staff including those who are either:

From a Protected Characteristic

  • Represent Protected Characteristics
  • Whose duty is it is to pay due regard to the public sector equality duty

The overarching aim of the consultation is to ensure that we are addressing the needs of our university community in a coordinated and meaningful way, through the three highlighted stages towards Cultural Competence.  It is important that the proposed Vison is viewed through the lens of our staff, students and other partners and they be given the opportunity to tell us where we may have gaps, or emphasis not quite right.

The policy is likely to have a direct effect on all students and staff. There are some groups that it is likely this will have a disproportionate impact on. The type of impact is likely to be positive but this also needs to be captured here including what we know about these groups.

Race

The White population of Exeter City is approximately 93.1 % (2011 UK census). This is in contrast to 75% White student population and 87.3% White staff population. While it is a real positive that our University community is more diverse than the local community it serves, we should also be mindful that this means BAME staff and students are more likely to be effected by any change. 

Disability

Approximately 1 in 5 of the UK population has a longstanding illness or disability and has significant difficulty with day to day activities. Of those students that disclose, 12% have a disability compared to 5.9% of staff disclosing they have a disability.

Gender

At the University of Exeter in April 2018 males made up 46% of the staff population and females 54% and there was a similar trend in relation to Students - 45% male and 55% female.

Sexual Orientation and Trans

We know that to be representative of the national demographic, between 5 -10% of the population should be LGB and less than 1% are Trans. UoE 2018 staff figures from our HR systems show this to be just 1.6% (n.75.2) Anecdotally we know this figure is much higher e.g. the Employee Engagement Survey saw 7% (256) of respondents identify as LGBTQ+

Age

15.9% of the Exeter City population are over the age of 65.

EES results highlight that younger members of staff feel more optimistic and empowered about the future at the UoE.

  1. Young members of staff have disproportionately higher representation amongst part-time and fixed term staff
  2. EES results shows that older members of staff are not so optimistic about the future of the organisation

Pregnancy and Maternity

Anecdotally, this group of staff are happier with the recent extended period of paid leave at full pay to 26 weeks for employees taking maternity leave, adoption leave and shared parental leave. We hear from staff that they appreciate the opportunity and provision of the Parents’ and Carers’ Network.

Religion and Belief

Disclosure rates can be an indicator of trust, the disclosure rates for Religion and Belief are reducing from 35.5% in 2015 to 31.6% in 2018 - a reduction of 4% but still significantly low.  There may be a relationship between an increased negative media focus and obligation to monitor Religion and Belief more effectively.

Marriage and Civil Partnerships

There is an obligation to consider this in relation to staff only. This will come to play in terms of any changes that have the potential effect on this equalities communities.

One example might be a need to consider how something like Brexit and our implementation of this might affect those in a marriage or civil partnership.

 

The policy will have a disproportionate effect on all those who understand and feel that improvements need to be made and on those who feel that there are not issues or problems.

 

For more specific and detailed information about what we know about who will be affected by Vision 2025, please see the full EA Document.

This policy will be implemented and led with oversight and direction from EDI Governance structures within the University of Exeter. Many of the actions will be strategically and practically led by the experts in the EDI Team.

The EDI Team will play a pivotal role in enacting change, facilitating movement and monitoring progress, but the responsibility for ensuring legal compliance will sit with the Executive of the University.  The responsibility for helping to achieve the goal of being an inclusive culturally competent University will be placed on all staff and students.

Vision 2025 will be implemented through robust annual action plans and Single Equality Scheme which spells out the intended actions to be completed. Further to this EDI will have a more detailed action plan which will include a need to provide support and resources in order to achieve the various action plans developed by the individual Equality Groups and Inclusivity Groups.

Vision 2025 will be communicated through consultation, presentations, briefings and surveys. When agreed we will seek advice from communications and marketing and the design team to ensure it can effectively reach all staff and student communities.  ED&I mandatory/induction training will be updated to ensure it clearly reflects our new Vision.

We aim to follow a robust consultation process reaching out to as many people as possible.