Update on activities to advance trans equality

Update on activities related to equality, diversity and inclusion  

The University of Leeds is committed to creating an inclusive environment where every member of staff and every student is able to flourish and succeed.

There are currently several projects underway that address issues that have been raised by the LGBT Staff and Student Networks. As promised by the Vice Chancellor (in her letter of 27 September) this update is intended to keep interested stakeholders informed of the progress of these projects. This update will focus on:

• Progress on identity management
• Progress on Athena Swan actions
• Progress on the production of guidance for staff and students

Identity Management

• Work undertaken to date includes:
• Establishing a project delivery team and creating a project plan
• Establishing baseline information
• Documenting existing processes end-to-end for students (SES) and staff (HR)
• Consolidation of documents relating to user creation and ore applications (Banner, SAP, ServiceNow etc.)
• Developing initial scenarios to explore proposed processes

Over the next two weeks, priorities include:

• Scheduling workshops and 1:1 meetings with key stakeholders, including the LGBT Staff and Student Network Chairs
• Develop rich user scenarios that will be used for further testing of the proposed processes
• Create a communications plan to keep stakeholders informed of our progress
• Meet with training specialists to plan a rollout of training for operational and technical staff
• Create a set of requirements to ensure that applications purchased by the University are able to respond to identity change in the manner we require.

Progress on Athena Swan actions

The University Athena Swan Action Plan (Action 6.1) commits to producing and disseminating trans guidance for staff and students. A working group has been established and an update from that group is provided below.

In the context of this action there was further agreement that colleagues working on the guidance would attend a training session given by Dr Catherine Baker (University of Hull). Dr Baker delivered a one-hour workshop titled ‘Creating an inclusive environment for trans students and staff’ on 29 September 2021. For members of the working group unable to attend, a recording was provided.

The Athena Swan Action Plan also includes a commitment to work with HR and IT to enhance processes around name changes by December 2021 and to develop online training to support implementation by April 2022. This work is in progress as outlined above.

We note that the IT project relating to the name change process is due to complete in January 2022. When this work is complete it will inform the production of the guidance. The Trans Guidance Working Group has scheduled an additional meeting in January 2022 to ensure that the outcomes of the IT project are incorporated into the guidance. Evaluation and dissemination will take place as part of the development phase beginning in January 2022.

Progress on the production of guidance for trans staff and students

• The first meeting was held on 30 September at which Terms of Reference were agreed and we began a broad conversation about how we might go about the task of producing guidance. It was a very productive meeting in which members of the working group demonstrated tremendous good will and a desire to see the project succeed. The Networks offered to share recommendations on the guidance to facilitate planning before our second meeting.
• A key issue raised was around workload remission/payment for staff/student representatives of the LGBT Networks. Students pointed out that they were contributing to the committee in their own time and at their own cost and Staff Network Chairs pointed out that they didn’t all get workload remission and/or that it wasn’t always meaningful.
• The Chair agreed to take up this issue. Payment to students is being organised. Conversations have been had about staff contributions and particularly around what would be needed for meaningful workload remission. Each member of the Network will meet with their line manager and the Chair to discuss how workload can be managed to ensure the success of the project.
• At our next meeting (October 20) we will consider issues/questions/processes to be included in the guidance. Working group members have been invited to contribute suggestions.