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Equalitylink March 2012

ECU's monthly round-up of equality and diversity news, resources and our work with the sector

Equalitylink from Equality Challenge Unit

Welcome March 2012

Equality Challenge Unit works to further and support equality and diversity for staff and students in higher education across all four nations of the UK, and in further education in Scotland. Equalitylink is a monthly round-up of equality and diversity news, resources and ECU’s work with the sector.

Equality update

Scottish public sector equality duty

Regulations announced

The Scottish government announced revised draft regulations for the public sector equality duty on Friday 9 March 2012.

The revised regulations have been laid before parliament and will now be subject to parliamentary scrutiny.

If approved, they will come into force on 27 May 2011.

Scottish specific duties

Some of the changes made to the regulations include:

  • Publishing date for equality outcomes, mainstreaming report and gender pay gap is by 30 April 2013 at the latest.
  • Clearer detail of what the mainstreaming requirement aims to deliver.
  • Impact assessment changes aim to ensure that all new policies and practices are screened.

Scottish public sector equality duty regulations announced

Forthcoming codes of practice for Equality Act cancelled

Codes to be non-statutory

The Equality and Human Rights Commission will not be producing statutory codes of practice for the public sector equality duty or for the further and higher education sector and schools.

Instead, they will be publishing non-statutory codes which will explain the provisions of the Equality Act, illustrated by everyday situations.

Forthcoming codes of practice cancelled

Delay to ban on age discrimination in services

Ban unlikely before October 2012

The Home Office has announced a delay to the proposed ban on age discrimination in the provision of services. These had been proposed to come into force in April 2012.

Ministers are still considering the scope and content of any exceptions from the ban, and think it is unlikely that any ban would come into effect before October 2012.

What is happening about the ban on age discrimination?

Independent living for disabled people

Human rights committee inquiry

The report from an inquiry into the rights of disabled people to independent living carried out by the Joint Committee on Human Rights parliamentary select committee was launched in March.

The report outlines recommendations to protect independent living for disabled people. The committee also ‘deprecates changes to the duties of public authorities in England under the Equality Act 2010, which no longer require the production of equality impact assessments of changes in policy, nor the involvement of disabled people in developing policies which will affect them.’

Joint Committee on Human Rights

Equality and Human Rights Commission

Strategic plan for 2012-15 launched

The EHRC has published a strategy for the next three years. The Commission intends the document to clearly set out the strategic direction, and also allow for flexibility to respond to decisions on the Commission’s powers and functions that have yet to be made by the government.

EHRC strategic plan

Our work

Equality Act 2010: implications for students’ unions

New briefing

Working with the National Union of Students (NUS), we’ve updated our briefing on the implications of equality legislation on students’ unions, both in their provision of services and as employers.

It will be useful for students’ union staff at all levels as well as sabbatical and non-sabbatical officers. It will be particularly relevant for people with responsibility for human resources, delivering student services and activities as well as those involved in NUS liberation campaigns.

Equality Act: implications for students’ unions

REF and equality: training pack

Training materials online

ECU has been running train the trainer events for practitioners responsible for delivering Research Excellence Framework (REF) equality training within their institution.

Materials to help you run equality training for staff and committees who will be selecting staff for submission to the REF 2014 are now available on our website.

REF and equality: training pack

We have a number of REF and equality materials, developed with the REF team, available online:

REF materials

Anticipating barriers for people with different impairments

Inclusive service provision survey

We would like to thank everyone who responded to our survey on inclusive service provision. The responses will focus our work around anticipating barriers for people with different impairments.

Anticipating barriers for people with different impairments

We’ll be sharing some of the key findings from the survey shortly along with details of the specific work we will be doing in this area.

If you didn’t have the opportunity to complete the survey but would like to feed into this work, contact Chris Brill.

Athena SWAN award winners

Successful applicants to be announced

Successful submissions the latest round of Athena SWAN awards will be announced on Friday 30 March.

All institutions who entered will receive detailed feedback, and the successful departments, schools, faculties and institutions will be listed on ECU’s website.

ECU news

Get involved

Attracting international students

Research launch

On 28 May ECU is holding a free half-day conference to unveil the findings of recent Scottish research into enhancing the international student experience through improving equality in service provision.

The event will be hosted by the research team at the Centre for Education for Racial Equality in Scotland, University of Edinburgh.

With a strategic focus, the programme will provide an opportunity to explore the research findings and recommendations across service areas, and will be facilitated by senior colleagues and representatives from sector bodies involved in the research.

The event will be of particular interest to senior managers and managers of student services. The event is open to all UK HEIs as the research findings have relevance across the UK.

The focus will be on higher education, but colleagues from colleges in Scotland may find it helpful and are welcome to attend.

For further information and to book your place:

Attracting international students launch event

Widening participation

Join HEFCE’s new reference group

The Higher Education Funding Council for England is inviting applications to join a widening participation (WP) reference group. This is a newly convened group that will offer advice to HEFCE management in the operational areas of policy and process development.

HEFCE is seeking people with an interest in WP policy and practice in higher education to take part, including those with experience of managing programmes aimed at outreach and progression into HE, for example Aimhigher and Lifelong Learning Networks.

These are fixed-term appointments for two years, and they particularly welcome applications from underrepresented groups, including disabled people and people with an ethnic minority background. Group members will not receive any fee for participating, but reasonable travelling expenses for meeting attendance will be paid.

Please note, there is a tight deadline to apply. For more details see the HEFCE website:

Widening participation reference group

Follow ECU on Twitter

You can now access our updates and equality news by following us on Twitter. We flag up interesting news and announcements about equality in the higher education sector, as well as letting you know what the ECU team is up to.


Resources and support

Equality Act: implications for students’ unions

New briefing for student’s unions

Developed with the National Union of Students, this briefing advises on the legal requirements for students’ unions, their staff and their services.

Equality Act: implications for students’ unions

Higher education: advancing equality in challenging times

Perspectives Volume 16, Number 1 2012

Perspectives: policy and practice in higher education is the peer-reviewed journal of the Association of University Administrators (AUA). The first edition of 2012 is an equality themed special issue.

The issue is edited by Simonetta Manfredi, reader in equality and diversity management at Oxford Brookes and Sara Hunter, head of equality and diversity services at the University of Ulster.

Articles by David Ruebain, chief executive of ECU, and Chris Brink, joint-chair of ECU’s Board, join those of a number of equality and diversity practitioners and academics.

Perspectives (subscription)

Managing flexible retirement and extended working lives

Seminar presentation available

Materials presented in a recent ECU seminar for colleges and universities in Scotland on managing flexible retirement are available online.

Managing flexible retirement and extended working lives presentation

Bisexuality in the UK

Report from BiUK

This report provides key recommendations on the inclusion and the separate consideration of the needs of bisexual people in policy and practice, drawing on national and international research evidence and expertise to support these recommendations.

The key finding is that of all the larger sexual identity groups, bisexual people have the worst mental health problems including higher rates of depression, anxiety, self-harm and suicide. This has been found in the UK and internationally, and is linked to experiences of biphobia and bisexual invisibility.

The bisexuality report


Talking stalking: national stalking awareness day

18 April 2012, nationwide

On 18 April 2012 Scotland, England and Wales will declare a national campaign to promote zero tolerance to stalking. This event marks the launch of national stalking awareness day – Talking Stalking – and the formation of the UK National Stalking Alliance.

Students across the UK will also declare zero tolerance to stalking under the banner of Stalking – not on our campuses. The launch of student’s national stalking awareness day is being led by Ayr College, Glasgow Caledonian University Glasgow and Bedfordshire University.

Stalking awareness materials including a poster and leaflets can be downloaded:

Scotland against stalking

National stalking helpline

Fat studies: health at every size

5 and 6 November 2012, London

The School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London is hosting a free fat studies/health at every size (HAES UK) seminar.

Academics and others interested in the subjects of fat studies and obesity are invited to submit abstracts of 300 words on any subject relevant to fat studies and/or the HAES approach.

Health at every size

Submit your abstract by 30 April 2012 to Submissions should be free of size oppression.

Reconciling differences: faith and sexual orientation

11 September 2012, University of Salford

The conference will be addressing the interface between faith and sexuality in the higher education environment. This comes after a series of high profile cases which have demonstrated the need for coherent approaches to addressing coexistence between faith groups and members of the LGBT community, including those who are members of both.

Highlights of the day:

  • Panel discussion examining the prevalent issues within the current climate
  • Opening address delivered by Phil Barnett, specialist equality and diversity consultant for the learning and skills sector
  • Workshops exploring inter-faith issues, globalisation, managing conflict, student experience, practical support for staff and students travelling or from abroad

For more information and to book:

Reconciling differences

If you would like your event to be featured on our website and the next issue of Equalitylink, please email details to Anna Roberts Allison, Communications Manager.


ECU Press Office

Anna Roberts Allison
Communications Manager

Telephone: 020 7438 1018

Out of Office enquiries

For urgent media enquiries outside of ECU office hours
Mobile: 07810 556 724