The Equality Act 2010 introduced a general public sector equality duty, which public bodies, including universities, have to meet. The general duty has three aims and requires public bodies to have due regard to the need to:
- eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation and other conduct prohibited by the Equality Act 2010
- advance equality of opportunity between people from different groups. This involves considering the need to:
- remove or minimise disadvantages suffered by people due to their protected characteristics
- meet the needs of people with protected characteristics
- encourage people with protected characteristics to participate in public life or in other activities where their participation is low
- foster good relations between people from different groups. This involves tackling prejudice and promoting understanding between people from different groups
The duty is underpinned by specific duties. The specific duties aim to help public bodies perform better in meeting the general equality duty and require the University to publish:
- equality objectives, at least every four years
- information to demonstrate their compliance with the equality duty, at least annually (by 31 January each year)
Why is equality data monitoring important, and how can I use this information?
It is both a requirement and good practice to know the composition of our student body and workforce so that issues of under-representation can be addressed and needs provided for. The University uses equality data to understand whether people from all backgrounds are being treated fairly. Even in equality areas where there is no legal requirement to monitor, it is good practice for the University to know whether its services are accessible and used by all groups, so that issues of under-representation can be addressed.
Monitoring gives equal opportunities credibility and integrity and it is the basic foundation for evaluating the extent of diversity. The results of equality monitoring can inform the effective use of resources, improve competitiveness by attracting and retaining staff, and enhance service delivery by attracting a diverse range of students.
Equality data can be used to monitor the effects of policies, practices and activities on staff and students from all equality groups and identify where there may be an adverse effect on particular groups. Without equality monitoring, the University will never know whether its equality policies are working. In turn, this can help to identify positive changes that can be made to improve equality and diversity in every aspect of University life including student access, satisfaction or accommodation and staff recruitment employment or training.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission has published its assessment of how well public authorities in England have met their legal requirement to publish equality information . The University was one of only two universities cited as an example of good practice. This national recognition is welcomed however it is recognised that gaps in the data still exist. Work is ongoing to address these gaps.
So whether you are member of staff, a current student or considering working or studying here at Leeds, take a look at our monitoring information to make an informed choice about changing any existing academic or service provision to meet the needs of our evolving diverse student population, or make a choice to apply to study or work at Leeds because of the inclusive culture of our campus!
Take a look at our Staff and Student Equality Data.
If you would like more information about anything contained within the reports, or if you require the information in alternative formats, please contact the Equality Policy Unit firstname.lastname@example.org