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Issue 483, 5 June 2002


Equality and Diversity Policy

Set out below is the University's Equality and Diversity Policy, which applies to staff and students alike.   The Equality and Diversity Statement set out at paragraph 2 below is forwarded to all applicants for posts within the University.

Attached to the policy as Schedule 1 is a code of practice setting out the steps the University will take in respect of its obligations under the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000.   It is intended that further schedules will be developed in due course, covering, inter alia, sex and disability.

Why the University is committed to equal opportunities

1.     The rationale for the University's commitment to equal opportunities includes:

an understanding of the importance of opening the University up to all sections of the community and of identifying, using and developing the skills and talents offered by members and potential members of the University, to their and the University's benefit;

the awareness that, in addition to being illegal and immoral, discrimination is also wasteful;

the recognition of the negative impact on individuals of the effects of discrimination in terms of educational attainment, career progression, self-fulfilment and self-esteem.

Equality and Diversity Statement

2.     The University of Leeds is proud to be a multi-cultural community.   We value diversity, and are determined to ensure:

that we treat all individuals fairly, with dignity and respect;

that the opportunities we provide are open to all;

that we provide a safe, supportive and welcoming environment – for staff, for students and for visitors.

We recognise that we still have work to do to secure a truly inclusive community, and we are committed to a wide-ranging plan of action to tackle discrimination and to promote diversity.

Status of the policy

3.     This policy forms part of the formal contract of employment for staff and part of the formal agreement between students and the University.   All members of the University must abide by this policy - albeit that those in senior or managerial positions or with specific responsibilities for recruitment, selection, training, appraisal and promotion should be especially mindful of the policy - and any failure to comply could result in disciplinary proceedings.

4.     All visitors to the University, together with those contracted to work at or for the University, will be expected to comply with this policy.   This includes those with honorary contracts or 'Visitor' status, for example, members of NHS staff who teach University students and Visiting Professors and Fellows.

Corporate and individual responsibilities

5.     The University's corporate responsibilities under this policy, together with the responsibilities of individual members of the University, are set out below.

Corporate responsibility

6.     Responsibility for ensuring that the University meets its legal obligations in respect of legislation relating to equal opportunities rests with the University Council.   In practice, however, the management of these obligations is delegated to University officers - and in particular to the Director of Human Resources and the Head of the Equal Opportunities and Disability Unit - and to committees, especially the Equal Opportunities Committee.

7.     Nonetheless the University is responsible as a corporate entity for putting into place mechanisms and procedures - and for encouraging a culture and environment - that accords with its statutory obligations and commitment to equality of opportunity.   In furtherance of this responsibility it has - in addition to establishing this policy:

  • drawn up a code of practice setting out steps to be taken in respect of its obligations under recent legislation on race relations (Further schedules will be developed in due course, covering inter alia, sex and disability.)
  • established an associated Code of Practice on Harassment, Bullying and Discrimination;
  • established a Diversity Action Plan, which identifies a range of actions for implementation during 2002-2005 (in the first instance).

Heads of resource centre and department

8.     Heads of resource centre are accountable to the University Council for ensuring compliance with the Equality and Diversity Policy within their own areas but may, however, delegate responsibility for this matter to heads of department where this is appropriate.

9.     Specifically - and in addition to their responsibilities as individual members of the University - heads of resource centre (or department, where appropriate) are responsible for:<

  • fostering an environment in which compliance with this policy is regarded as integral to the work of the resource centre or department;
  • ensuring - as part of the development of this environment - the production and implementation of departmental Equal Opportunities Action Plans.

Responsibilities of individual members of the University

10.  In order to ensure that the Equality and Diversity Policy is put into practice, individual members of the University:

      should seek actively to promote equality of opportunity for others and strive to create an environment in which academic goals may be pursued without fear or intimidation;

      must not discriminate unfairly in the way they provide or procure services on behalf of the University;

      must not discriminate unfairly if involved in the recruitment, promotion and management of staff or in the selection and supervision of students;

      must not encourage other staff or students to practice unfair discrimination or harassment;

      must not victimise any person who has complained of harassment or unfair discrimination, or who has given information in connection with such a complaint.

Corporate support

11.  Corporate support for the University's commitment to equality of opportunity is provided, inter alia, by the following.

  • The Head of the University's Equal Opportunities and Disability Unit and her staff have responsibilities for developing equal opportunities strategies, policies and procedures;  for providing practical help and advice to ensure that they are effectively implemented and to ensure 'reasonable adjustment' in the work and study environments;  and for delivering change initiatives.

  • The University's Staff and Departmental Development Unit mounts equal opportunities training courses, attendance on which is mandatory for chairs of Appointing and Promotions Committees.

  • The University has established an Equal Opportunities Committee to monitor the way in which its policies are put into practice and to recommend improvements.   Data, conclusions and recommendations arising from monitoring exercises, for example, those required as part of the University's specific duties under the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000, together with the outcome of any impact assessments, will be reported to the University's Equal Opportunities Committee (which in turn reports to the Planning and Resources Committee, the Senate and the Council) and to other committees as appropriate.   Furthermore, individuals may draw to the attention of the Committee any matters of policy or general principle by addressing them to the Secretary, Equal Opportunities Committee, Human Resources, E C Stoner Building.

Further information

12.  Further copies of this policy can be found on the Equal Opportunities and Disability Unit website (forthcoming).   Further information and advice – including the codes of practice – is available from the Equal Opportunities Officer ( 0113 3436700,

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