Council Equality, Diversity and Inclusion statement

The Council, as the University’s governing body and trustee board, wishes to embody through its own composition, deliberations, decision making and outlook, the University’s founding principles of ‘social justice and combating inequality’.

This sets the tone for a University which exists for the public good, through practising governance which upholds ‘a deep commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion’ as set out in the strategic vision.

Article 6 of the University Charter enshrines the principle of equality of opportunity as integral to the purpose of a University existing for the public good: ‘The University shall treat students, staff and other people solely on the basis of their merits, abilities and potential, regardless of gender, race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin, age, disability, religious or political beliefs or sexual orientation’ (subject to Privy Council approval).

The Council subscribes to the CUC HE Code of Governance which draws particular attention in its six primary elements of higher education governance to equality, inclusivity and diversity, and upholds the view that: “The governing body promotes a positive culture which supports ethical behaviour, equality, inclusivity and diversity across the institution, including in the governing body’s own operation and composition. This includes ensuring under-representation and differences in outcomes are challenged and, where practicable, corrective action is taken to ensure fair outcomes for all.”

Council membership diversity

The CUC HE Code states that ‘the governing body must routinely reflect on its own composition and consider ways it can encourage diversity in all its forms, thus leading by example’ (4.4).

To ensure that Council sets the tone and culture for equality of opportunity for the rest of the University, it needs to be representative of the University’s diversity, as well as being ambitious that we advance the diversity of the University community further. 

Council commits to maintaining and sustaining a ‘gender-balanced’ membership, that is 60:40 ratio of either sex, but with an ambition that there is an equal balance of men and women across its membership. In terms of wider diversity among Council’s own membership:

  1. the University’s preferred supplier list of executive search firms, including for the recruitment of senior posts and independent Council members requires longlists and shortlists to include appropriately qualified diverse candidates and accompanying equality and diversity analysis;
  2. advertising and promoting vacancies via diverse recruitment networks dedicated to underrepresented groups;
  3. that a positive action statement to encourage under-represented groups is included where a University-led advertisement for independent Council members is placed;
  4. that internal staff elections to Council are accompanied by a diversity statement to encourage under-represented candidates to stand, and that nominations to Council include diversity as a factor in appointment;
  5. that Constitution and Nominations Committee will consider diversity characteristics in recommending recruitment or rotation across Council committees, and of Council itself.

Council commits to monitoring and publishing diversity data annually regarding its membership profile, to identify gaps to improve its own membership diversity in membership succession and vacancy considerations.

Council data Feb 2022


Female Male
9 (43%) 12 (57%)


White Other mixed background Other ethnic background Asian/Asian British Chinese
(n=18) (n=1) (n=1) (n=1) (n=1)


The majority of respondents declared ‘No Known Disability’. Due to the low numbers of members identifying as having a disability we have not disclosed the data, as due to the small size of the Council, this would breach Article 5(1) of the UK GDPR principle (a) lawfulness, fairness and transparency, and would be exempt from disclosure under section 40(2) of the Freedom of Information Act (FoIA).

Sexual orientation

The majority of respondents identified as heterosexual. Due to the small numbers of members identifying as LGBT+ we have not disclosed the data, based on the GDPR principles and FoIA principles in 2 above. One respondent refused to disclose this information.


20-25 25-30 30-35 35-40  45-50 50-55 55-60 60-65 65-70 70-75
1       2   2 6 3 1

Council supports the routine monitoring of diversity data for Council, Senate (and their committees) to improve diversity, with the gender-balanced challenge cascaded to each of these bodies.

The above tables use data as of 3 February 2022. All equality data for two candidates on Council has not been collected due to recent appointment to Council, and data also reflects a small number of candidates who have chosen not to disclose EDI data.

Council members’ development

Council wishes to develop its own learning and understanding in relation to EDI matters and remains updated and informed on major EDI initiatives within and beyond the University.

Recently it has considered topics, involving internal and external speakers in relation to:

  • anti-racism initiatives at the University, including decolonising the curriculum
  • staff and students
  • access and participation
  • the importance of EDI considerations in relation to the Prevent Duty and Freedom of Speech
  • the University’s partnership with IntoUniversity and the University of Hull to launch a learning centre in Hull.

Council business

Council commits to ensuring its own cycle of business brings EDI matters to the fore as well as embedding them into all relevant proposals or reports.

For example, Council fulfils its statutory but also moral obligations in relation to EDI through receiving key strategic and regulatory information so it can be accountable, and supporting the University Executive Board in ensuring EDI is paramount.

These include Access and Participation Plan and Strategy approval and monitoring to understand and be accountable to ensure management and the wider University community remove barriers to access, progression and continuation for students, Gender Pay Gap Reporting, the University’s Equality Strategy, specific EDI Transformation Initiatives and the requirements of Equality Data Monitoring.

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The Governance & Assurance Office