At CHE we strive to provide a supportive culture and family friendly work environment and to offer equal opportunities to all staff members. We seek to ensure the policies and procedures in the department are fair and support good work practices for everyone.
We have an Athena SWAN Bronze award which recognises our commitment to good practice in recruiting, retaining and supporting the careers of women.
We have an Equality and Diversity Action Team (EDAT) which functions to scrutinise the policies, processes and data in the department to understand our current position and address any issues for the future and ensure our processes are fair for all members of staff. The EDAT also oversees the process for the submission of an Athena SWAN application and ensures delivery on the action plan. We seek to consult widely with our staff and students via staff meetings, newsletters, surveys and a suggestion box, and try to think about opportunities to make CHE a truly welcoming and supportive environment.
Anonymous suggestion box for CHE staff and students to the EDAT:
Suggestion box (Available for CHE staff only)
Our Equality and Diversity Action Team (EDAT) membership is chosen to include representation from both women and men, research students, early career, mid-career and senior members of staff, and Head of Department; administrative and research staff; staff on fixed-term and open contracts; with an interest in ethnic diversity, transgender and disability issues; and individuals who work full and part time.
Current members of the EDAT are: Rowena Jacobs (Chair), Miqdad Asaria, Laura Bojke, Maria Goddard, Idaira Rodríguez Santana, Pedro Saramago Goncalves, Trish Smith, Marc Suhrcke, Kerry Atkinson, James Gaughan, Maria Jose Aragon.
The Athena SWAN Charter is an initiative for the advancement of women's careers in higher education and research in the STEMM (science, technology, engineering, medicine and mathematics) disciplines. Athena SWAN requires departments to demonstrate activities in gender equality and an achievement record in continually working towards equality in career progression.
We hold an Athena SWAN Bronze award which recognises our commitment to good practice in recruiting, retaining and supporting the careers of women. We seek to continue to build on this success by further improving our processes and ensure fair, flexible, accessible and transparent working conditions for all members of staff.
You can read more on Athena SWAN at the following link:
To view our Athena SWAN bronze application and action plan:
Athena SWAN at the University of York:
Rowena Jacobs receives the Athena SWAN Bronze Award on behalf of CHE from Professor Dame Julia Higgins, Athena SWAN patron
CHE is committed to the University’s Equality and Diversity policies. We seek to treat others with dignity and respect and create an inclusive and welcoming environment for all.
Information and guidance on various policies and support available:
I have worked in the same administration support role in CHE since 2004. Over the years we’ve lived in York, I had increasing involvement supporting Betty and Allen, my parents-in-law, to live independently in their own home on the outskirts of Sheffield. They had rising health issues by 2012 and along with their only son, my husband, one of us tried to assist and visit with them about four days in every week, even if only for a few hours. Allen and Betty had social and health professionals support them in their home too; John and I would coordinate and liaise with professional staff, run errands, prepare meals, do outstanding laundry, gardening, etc. This became more demanding when Betty or Allen were more dependent on us when the other was in hospital. During all this time, John (full time) and I (80%) maintained our normal work patterns but it was clear that this could not continue. By February 2013, I requested permanently reducing my CHE work hours to 40%. The nature of this administrative role needs at least 80% fte; the implication was for CHE to initiate its first job share position. CHE’s senior management team supported this. Temporary staff were drafted in for up to 40% per week so I was able to decrease my hours in the interim. My job share partner commenced in September 2013 and this partnership has worked very well since then. Our almost- seamless service works successfully for the research team we support and dovetails well with our other tasks.
By July 2014, both Betty and Allen had died and my own aging mother Ursula needed more support. Since then, along with my two sisters, we share the care of our mother who typically stays in one of our homes for a few months at a time. It has therefore been worthwhile for me to keep working in a job share position as I have had the privilege of extra quality time, especially now with my mother.
I worked full-time up until the birth of my first baby, Charlotte, in July 1997. Following maternity leave, I returned to work part-time in 1998. After the birth of my second child, Elliot, in April 2000, I returned from maternity leave and reduced my hours to just 9.5 a week. Since then I have increased my hours to 16 hours a week. My job title is now Administrator and I help run CHE smoothly on a day-to-day basis involving a variety of tasks including the organisation of the MSc students reception, ordering stationery supplies, assisting with the administration of both the TEETHA courses and the York Summer Workshops as well as helping to organise and promote both the CHE and the Economic Evaluation Seminars series.My first appointment at CHE was in August 1987 where I worked full-time for just 8 months as a junior secretary before I left for pastures new. After a relatively short spell away, I returned to CHE in August 1990 where I’ve remained ever since. Initially I was part of a pool of secretaries working for all members of CHE staff typing letters and reports. Over the years I became more of a personal secretary to more senior members of staff such as the Deputy Director.
In December 2001 I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. I have received excellent support from both CHE and the University with adaptations to make my job easier. CHE has agreed for me to work from home for 2 mornings a week to help make my working hours less stressful and physically demanding. Over this time and the on-going progression of the disease, my close colleagues in CHE have been a constant pillar of support, both adapting my role physically as well as helping me to cope with the mental frustrations in the form of listening and sharing with invaluable emotional support. Adaptations to the working environment include voice activated software, large key keyboard, penguin computer mouse and fitting disabled friendly doors.
In 2012 I received a ‘Making a Difference Award’ in recognition of the high level of determination and commitment demonstrated in carrying out my work for CHE.
I have now worked at CHE for over 26 years and have recently received a University long service award. I can honestly say that the time I’ve spent at CHE has been incredibly fulfilling and enjoyable and I’ve made many close friends along the way.
Both of us joined CHE in 1999, Laura after completing the MSc in Health Economics at York and Chris from the Sowerby Centre for Health Informatics at Newcastle. We both joined full time as Research Fellows with Laura then starting her PhD, funded by an NIHR fellowship, in 2005 and Chris continuing his PhD part time, registered with the University of Gronignen, in 2006.
We married in 2005 with our first child Isabel arriving in 2007. At this point Laura decided to return on a part time (60%) basis to her fellowship and hence PhD. CHE were very supportive of this decision, with the head of department writing to NIHR to support Laura’s application to reduce her working hours. She then successfully completed her PhD in 2008 and returned to work as a staff member, again on a part time basis. Laura was promoted to Senior Research Fellow in 2011.
Chris left CHE in 2004 to 2009 to work in the National Foundation for Educational Research, followed by a private consultancy. He then returned to CHE as a Senior Research Fellow in 2009. On returning to CHE Chris was able to successfully complete his PhD in 2010.
In 2012 our 2nd child Florence was born, with Laura taking 10 months maternity leave. Florence was quickly followed by daughter number 3, Georgia in 2013. Laura again took maternity leave, this time for 9 months. Georgia was unfortunately diagnosed with a large hole in her heart when she was 6 weeks old. This meant that Georgia was very ill and constantly in hospital. This put an incredible amount on strain on the whole family. As a result of hospital visits and ongoing complications of Georgia’s condition, this meant that we were both away from work quite frequently for Georgia’s first year. CHE were fully aware of the situation and were very sympathetic. They agreed to be as flexible as possible with our working situation and were constantly in touch regarding Georgia’s health. In June 2014 Georgia had open heart surgery to repair her heart. Again this placed lots of stress on both of us. We both took compassionate leave during her hospital stay followed by additional leave when she returned home. CHE were fantastic during this difficult period, allowing us time to recover as a family whilst being confident that our jobs were secure when life returned to normality. We are pleased to say Georgia is doing fantastic following her surgery, and although life is never easy with 3 children, working at CHE enables us to enjoy our life as parents whilst maintaining challenging and rewarding careers.
Both Marta and Pedro have been part of the University of York since 2007. Marta started as a Research Fellow at the Department of Health Sciences, moving to CHE in 2009. She was recently promoted to Senior Research Fellow. Pedro did the MSc in Health Economics and started his PhD in CHE in 2008. Following his studies, Pedro then became a CHE Research Fellow in 2012.
Our daughter Alice was born in November 2013. CHE supported Marta throughout her pregnancy, by allowing flexible working hours around the common ‘side effects’ of pregnancy – in this way Marta managed to happily work throughout her pregnancy and managed to start her leave only a couple of days before the due date. But it was only after baby Alice was born that we realised how important it is to have support and flexibility at work, especially when family isn’t close by. A key aspect was that Pedro was able to complement the usual 2 weeks of ordinary paternity leave with annual leave, returning to work only in the beginning of January 2014. It was very important that we were together in this early stage of Alice’s life. Marta took 6 and half months of maternity leave, returning to work in June 2014. At that point Pedro started his 3 month additional paternity leave (ADL). To our knowledge Pedro was one of the first dads to ask and have ADL granted by the University. This time was very special for Pedro and Alice.
We both returned to full time work in September 2014, although, we were both able to use annual leave flexibly to accommodate a smooth start at nursery (and also to account for the sickness that often follows starting nursery) until December 2014. Marta decided to start 2015 on a part time basis (80%) so that she spends more time with Alice. CHE were very supportive of this decision.
Overall CHE was key in supporting and promoting a healthy start to our family life and in obtaining a suitable work/life balance – we are extremely grateful for this.
I started my studies as a PhD student in 1998 at the University of York, supervised by staff in CHE. I then joined CHE as a full-time Research Fellow in 1999 and continued my PhD part-time working on various projects aligned with my research on performance measurement in healthcare. In 2002 I completed my PhD and was promoted in 2003. I was continually encouraged and supported to develop my skills, working on different projects, attending conferences and training courses and submitting applications for research grants in my area of interest, both as CI and as PI. My research interests evolved over time to focus on performance measurement in mental health services and with significant support from senior CHE staff in 2006 I was awarded an NIHR post-doctoral fellowship from the Department of Health to further develop my research in this field. In the same year I was promoted to Senior Research Fellow.
In 2008 I took my first career break for maternity leave and CHE was enormously supportive, keeping in touch with me whilst away and facilitating a smooth transition back into work. Prior to returning in 2009 I requested to work part-time and this was supported by CHE and I have worked part-time ever since. I took a second period of maternity leave in 2010, returning in 2011 and again benefitted from CHE’s supportive culture. I have profited from role models and mentors in the department throughout my career who have supported and encouraged my progress, supported investment in my career through leadership, development and skills training, and in 2014 I was promoted to personal Chair.
There is no doubt that having children changes one’s priorities and combining family life and a career can be complicated, particularly with no extended family nearby to offer support. My husband, who also works in STEMM (medicine), has much less flexible working arrangements than me. The ability to work part-time and flexibly has therefore enabled me to achieve a reasonable balance between work and home demands and while it is often challenging to combine a busy work life with the care of two young children, it is hard to imagine a more supportive environment than CHE in which to do this.
I have been a part of the University of York since starting my undergraduate degree in Economics in 2006, going on to do an MSc in Health Economics and joining the Centre for Health Economics as a Research Fellow in 2010. Initially the flexibility of CHE was of great help in easing me into an academic career, as it allowed me to work in a way that I found to be most productive rather than requiring a regimented working day. The nature of academic working, with long periods of lone-working and a need for independent and original thinking, can be challenging to many, however, the ability to adapt one’s working hours has been of huge help personally.
In addition, during my wife’s pregnancy in early 2014 this flexibility was hugely helpful to us both, as it allowed me to support her through difficult periods, including a recurring broken foot and severe morning sickness, while maintaining my usual levels of productivity and working hours.
In May 2014 my wife gave birth to our daughter almost two weeks late, after a protracted stay in hospital. Initially I had been concerned that I would not be able to be present for her time in hospital as I was aware that paternity leave would only begin at the time of the birth. However, it was made very easy for me to take leave for the period before the birth and thus stay with my wife.
Everyone at CHE was hugely supportive in helping me return to work at the end of my leave, and to balance my new work and home commitments, made more challenging by the nature of the deadlines associated with much of our work.
As my wife returns to work (not with the University) after a year of maternity leave in March 2015, and has less flexible working arrangements, I become the primary carer for our daughter. CHE and the University has been very supportive in allowing me to reduce my working hours by one day a week to ease this transition.
Thinking about developing your career further? Here are some resources and suggestions, which you may find useful.
The University is committed to providing a framework that supports and encourages the development of staff, in line with the delivery of the UoY’s corporate plan and departmental objectives. There is a ‘Staff development policy’, which you can find here.
Developing your career at the UoY may mean different things; developing your skills within your current role, in a different role within your existing department or in a different role elsewhere within the UoY.
The policy and guidance on Role Review for existing roles can be found here.
Completing a Professional and Career Development Plan (PCDP) may help you identify your own goals and enable you to have a meaningful discussion with your Line Manager.
You can discuss your career plans (and your PCDP) during your Performance Review.
Consider using your current role to develop specific skills and experiences that you have identified as part of your career plan.
Career development may involve a different work / life balance.
Flexible working arrangements which result in a change to your contract, the use of flexi time or career breaks (perhaps to enable time away to study or undertake volunteer work) can all help to achieve this.
Where operationally and financially viable, the Department will support staff who wish to alter their work life balance.
Check out the Careers Resources section of the HR web pages.
The Learning & Development department offer a range of courses and events.
This includes an Internal Candidate programme to give you and understanding of the recruitment process at York, and how you can best prepare your application for a different role.
Check out the on-going initiative Professional@York which includes conferences, awards, development & assessment centres, development of secondment opportunities, mentoring, coaching and more.
All University of York vacancies are advertised here. Some vacancies are advertised as Internal vacancies. There is a link to this webpage on the sidebar.
The University runs a Rewarding Excellence scheme each year (currently under review for 2016). This is a competitive scheme, but successful nominations, can result in an additional increment to your salary and enhance your CV.
The Centre for Health Economics also runs a Making the Difference scheme that is intended to provide recognition to any member of staff whose contribution on a one-off or short-term basis has been exceptional or outstanding:
We have introduced the Athena Initiative Award which was to encourage staff and students to send in practical ideas on 'What would make CHE a better place to work". Submissions were considered by members of the EDAT and at the January 2016 staff meeting the winners were announced.
The runner-up (with a £25 Amazon gift voucher) was Seb Hinde who proposed to make more information available on the website about local childcare provision and being family-friendly. The EDAT responded by revamping the website.
The winner (with a £50 Amazon gift voucher) was Claire Rothery who alerted the EDAT to the University IT services’ change to name based email addresses, which could potentially disadvantage women or men who may choose to change their name. The EDAT responded by discussing this with IT services and they examined amending their policy which can potentially benefit individuals not just in CHE, but the wider University.