Meeting the Equality Duty - University of York Equality Information

The University of York was founded in 1963 on principles of excellence, equality and opportunity for all. Today, equality of opportunity and inclusivity remain fundamental to the vision and values of the University, as set out in the Mission and strategies:the University Plan.

The University of York's approach to equality is informed by information gathered in a number of different ways; principle methods include via consultation, forums and surveys held with staff and students, feedback on services, equality progress reports, analysis of data on both staff and students and comparison with appropriate benchmarks, issues arising in committees, outcomes of complaints and the results of Equality Impact Assessments.

The information gathered is key in evidencing to the University where it needs to focus in order to continue to improve and develop its work on equality. Once appropriate action to address an equality concern is identified, actions are incorporated into appropriate plans/priorities/objectives (for example, Athena SWAN Action Plan, Staff Survey) and progress is monitored by the appropriate committee/office. The Equality and Diversity Committee and University Council play a key role in overseeing the University’s progress on equality.

The university is undertaking an ambitious equality review of its current activities, initiatives and priorities to produce a concise University Strategy and Framework  for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion. The Strategy and Framework will set out a roadmap of objectives to achieve its equality vision. These objectives will also respond to the University responsibilities under the public sector equality duty. 

Equality Policies, Schemes and Strategies

The University's work on equality is underpinned by its policies, schemes and strategies in key areas:

Disability: The University's work to ensure that the needs of people with impairments are taken into account is overseen by the Disability and Accessibility Group and underpinned by the Equality and Diversity in Employment Policy and the Disability in Employment Policy.

Gender Equality priorities: The key priorities for the University are set out in the Athena SWAN Action Plan.

Race: The Race Equality Policy sets out the University's commitment to race equality.

Dignity at work and study: The University's commitment to the creation of an environment where harassment is unacceptable and where members of its community treat each other with dignity and respect is set out in the Code of Practice on Harassment and the web pages on the University's anti-harassment work.

Equality Policies: The University's equality policies: The Equality and Diversity in Employment Policy, The Equality and Diversity Policy for Students and the range of HR policies and services aim to promote positive attitudes to equality and diversity and ensure that staff and students are treated fairly and with dignity and respect.

Widening Participation: The University is committed to widening participation in higher education and is keen to see a socially and culturally diverse student population at York. The University's Access Agreement sets out this commitment.

Teaching and Learning: The University values the diversity of backgrounds and experiences that staff and students bring to the academic environment of the University and is committed to meeting the needs of a diverse and changing student body. The Learning and Teaching Strategy has an overarching ambition of achieving a 'consistent culture of quality' across the University, and a vision which is to provide the opportunity for all students to realise their full potential during their studies and in their later lives as leaders and role models in organisations and society.

Student recruitment and admissions: The University is committed to excellence in admissions and aims to provide a professional and fair service for applicants as set out in the Undergraduate and Postgraduate Admissions Policies.

University Careers Service: The University's Employability Strategy aims to ensure that every student has a high quality, fulfilling student experience and is provided with support to develop their employability. Schemes are offered such as the York Award and Volunteering.

Policy Review

Equality Impact Assessment (EQIA): A summary of the University's procedure is available on the EQIA web page.

Equality Reports

The University produces regular equality reports as listed below:

The Equality and Diversity Office: are developing a University Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy that will set objectives and actions for the next five years.  Annual Reports from previous years show the progress on annually agreed objectives.

Staff Survey: the results of the staff survey 2014 (internal used only) have been analysed by demographic group. Along with specific questions in relation to harassment these results are being incorporated into action plans which are being addressed both at University-wide and departmental level, co-ordinated by the Employee Engagement Steering Group.

National Student Survey: information on how students of the University rated their university experience is available on the Unistats web page.

Equal Pay Review: an equal pay review was undertaken by the University in 2013.

Athena Swan (Scientific Women's Academic Network): Detailed submission reports contain staff and student data on gender equality.

Equality Networks

The University recognises that Equality Networks provide an excellent opportunity for peer networking, support and development as well as informing and influencing the University's work on equality. Two staff networks are currently supported:

Staff Race Equality Forum: The Staff Race Equality Forum was relaunched in 2017 in response to a need identified by staff. It provides opportunities for peer networking, support and development amongst BME staff and the promotion of University values around inclusiveness.

Staff Sexual Orientation Forum - LGBTI Matters: This Forum was set up in 2008 to help inform and influence the University's work in relation to its gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex staff. It also provides opportunities for peer networking and support.

INCLUDE (Inclusive Network Connecting and Linking University Disabled Employees) was established in response to a need identified in part by the disabled staff at the University of York. It was launched in February 2015 and is an inclusive network, open to all staff with a disability, long-term condition or an interest in supporting the University in becoming more disability confident

Athena SWAN Forum was launched in 2016. It is a University-wide forum to share good practice across disciplines, host occasional external speakers and help raise awareness across the University

Harassment and Conflict Resolution

Harassment Advisers: a network of trained members of staff can provide confidential assistance to members of the University community concerned about harassment.

Mediation Service: the University's mediation service is open to all staff and provides an informal, confidential way of resolving conflict within the workplace.

Equality related training

A range of equality and diversity courses for staff are offered through Learning and Development. Key messages on equality and diversity are incorporated in generic training courses, both online and face-to-face.

Further information, advice and guidance


Public Sector Equality Duty:



Updated by the Equality and Diversity Office

March 2017

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