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Home Article Consultation on ECU subscription beyond 2015 now open

Consultation on ECU subscription beyond 2015 now open

Published: 14/04/2015

As you may know, from 1 January 2016 higher education institutions in England and Northern Ireland will need to subscribe directly to ECU to continue to access our services, resources and advice, and to take part in our equality charters, including Athena SWAN.

Why are we asking these questions?

Inviting institutions to subscribe to our services and benefits marks a new approach for ECU. As we evolve as an organisation, we are committed to continuing to deliver a unique, evidence-based expert service for HEIs and support for practitioners.

Our priority is to ensure that the services and benefits we deliver in 2016 offer the best value for your institution. We also want to make sure we are giving you all the tools you need to make a decision about subscribing to ECU. In order to do this, we need to understand:

  • what services and benefits you would like to access beyond 2015
  • how decisions about subscribing to ECU will be made in your institution
  • what information we can provide to help you and your institution make a decision about subscribing to ECU

How will we use the results?

 The services we provide beyond 2015 will be broadly similar to those we have been offering to the sector for the last 10 years: robust research and evidence, high quality information and guidance, training and support and our equality charter marks for gender and race.

The results of this consultation will be used to build a subscription package of services and benefits. This will be shared with the sector in July 2015.

The results, together with those of our biennial survey from 2014, will also be used to develop a full programme of work for 2016. The range of this programme may be dependent on the rate at which institutions subscribe.

Why aren’t we asking about subscription levels?

In order to continue to deliver a consistent and valued service to the sector, from 2016 ECU will need to charge HEIs in England and Northern Ireland between £4,000 and £20,000 per year. Subscription levels will be determined by an institution’s total income. Indications of these tiers are outlined in the consultation.

This income is needed to cover funding previously received from HEFCE and DEL and in order to continue without making significant changes to our outputs.

Why are ECU’s charter marks included in the subscription package?

ECU’s charter marks and its research, policy advice and guidance functions are intrinsically linked and each benefits from the outputs and learning of the others.

Athena SWAN, which is owned and managed by Equality Challenge Unit, has had a considerable impact on the sector. In May 2015, ECU will be launching an expanded Athena SWAN. This will extend the charter’s reach into arts, humanities, social sciences, business and law departments. In addition, in recognition of the slow pace of change of race equality, we have also adapted the Athena SWAN methodology to design and pilot a race equality charter mark for the sector. This will be launched in early 2016.

Our research and analysis has informed the charters development to ensure they help address the challenges we know face the sector. Beyond 2015, we intend to better utilise the evidence and effective practice gathered from charter marks to inform our policy work. We will have an increased programme of research, policy guidance, training and case studies to help the sector better understand and tackle gender and race equality issues identified.

Taking part in the consultation

The consultation for institutions in England is now closed

The consultation for institutions in Northern Ireland is now closed

The consultation is open until Friday 22 May and should take approximately 20-25 minutes to complete.