Update on ECU strategy 2017-2021 consultation
Over the summer ECU undertook a consultation to support the development of our new strategic plan 2017-2021.
A UK-wide online consultation was held. As part of the online consultation, respondents reviewed and commented on a draft version of the new strategy. We were pleased to received responses from 43 institutions.
In addition, ECU’s Chief Executive and Head of Policy facilitated a round table discussion on the new strategy. Representatives from 7 institutions attended the session.
Summary of key points and further action
Broadly speaking, there was support for the new strategy, with 89.4 per cent of respondents to the online consultation indicating that they considered the draft strategic plan to articulate a clear vision for ECU. Similarly, 79.1 per cent of respondents indicated that ECU’s vision and mission clearly defined ECU as an organisation.
Respondents were invited throughout the consultation to share any comments on the new mission, vision and strategic aims. Below is a summary of key points raised and the actions ECU intends to deliver in response.
|What was said||What we are going to do|
|ECU should consider how it could further empower practitioners within institutions, giving them the skills, tools and confidence to challenge and tackle chronic equality issues.||Our focus in the new strategy period will be on providing practical tools and guidance to confidently address inequality. We will also strive to foster a community of practice to support knowledge exchange between institutions.
We will also be revising our consultancy offer for our members from 2017, focussing on offering and delivering consultancy that empowers practitioners and senior leaders.
|The strategy should be more inclusive of further education institution in Scotland and higher education institutions in Wales.||The strategy will be revised to be more inclusive of the institutions we support across the UK.|
|The strategy should better outline collaborative and partnership working with institutions and other sector bodies||We will better articulate our role as a partner to and collaborator with universities in the new mission statement and throughout the strategy aims. We will also better outline our commitment to working with sector organisations to enhance the understanding of equality, diversity and inclusion, especially of senior decision makers and governors. We understand the value this offers to the institutions we support.|
|ECU should prioritise delivering an effective, responsive service for its members.||We are reviewing our internal and external processes for the delivery of all benefits and services to ensure they meet the expectations of our members.
We will be recruiting a new Member Support Officer to improve our response rates for calls, emails and queries.
We will continue to encourage dialogue and feedback on our programme of work so we can continue to improve service delivery.
|ECU should have a more prominent voice on equality and diversity issues||Recognising that the university and college landscape is highly diverse, we will continue to work closely with the range of institutions to understand and meet differing needs. It is this diversity which also means that while we will be responsive to national issues that impact institutions, there may not always be consensus amongst and within institutions and our role remains a supportive one rather than a campaigning voice.|
|ECU should focus on delivering Athena SWAN in the UK rather than expanding overseas.||Our focus in the new strategy period will be on providing effective and consistent frameworks to drive cultural change through ECU’s Athena SWAN and Race Equality Charters.
Athena SWAN is one of ECU’s most successful and high-impact programmes of work. Its success and impact has attracted interest from around the world and given ECU a platform to showcase the progress of UK institutions internationally. It has also allowed ECU to deepen our understanding of international equality initiatives and better support UK HEIs by attaining economies of scale.
Funding received through our international work contributes to the core running of ECU. Diversifying our income streams makes us more resilient and better equipped to meet the challenges ahead.
The new strategy was ratified by ECU’s board on 20 October and will be launched in time for ECU’s annual conference at the end of November.