The Inclusive University

Gender Equality in Local Government: Chasing the Dream

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Contributed by Margaret Page, Senior Lecturer in FBL and member of the UWE Women's Forum:

On March 4th, Margaret Page (UWE, FBL) and Hazel Conley (QMUL) launched their new book “Gender Equality in Local Government: Chasing the Dream’ at the Unison HQ in London.

The date and venue were significant - March 8th is International Women’s Day and marks the first demonstration of women trade unionists in New York in 1908 and has been celebrated by feminist activists ever since that date. The venue is on the site of the Elizabeth Garret Anderson Hospital, founded by the first women doctor who pioneered free medical care for women before the NHS was founded.

The launch was funded by Queen Mary University and attended by women who promote gender equality internationally and in UK local government and public services in a variety of activist and researcher roles - trade unionists, equality expert advisors, elected politicians and local government policy officers, journalists and of course academic researchers. The book pulls together activism and research on women’s equality that Margaret and Hazel have carried out over the last two decades - in local government, public services, HE, and trade unions.

By popular demand, Margaret and Hazel are organising a SW regional event in Bristol on September 18th sponsored by CESR and BLC research centres at UWE. Watch this space!

Shared Parental Leave

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Contributed by Gerry Scott, OD Adviser, HR:

The new shared parental leave legislation, which applies to couples with babies due, or children being adopted on or after 5 April 2015,  has the potential to revolutionise the way working parents share childcare in the future. It is hoped that the change will enable more partners to have a greater role in their children's upbringing, in particular, during that first year.

With the new arrangements,  after an initial two weeks of leave for the mother following birth, up to 50 weeks of leave and 37 weeks of pay can be shared between the child’s parents. The couple can divide the time between them in a flexible way that suits them; which may involve taking time off concurrently or consecutively. Employees keen to take advantage of this option should discuss with their manager their intentions and they will be required to provide at least eight weeks' notice of any leave period.

UWE guidelines on shared parental leave have been developed and new application forms as well as some examples of how the shared leave might work in practice are also available on the website. If you are thinking of taking a period of shared parental leave, you should speak with your manager as soon as you are able to. Also, you may wish to speak to HR at an early stage, given that these changes are new and wide ranging. You can call the HR Helpline on 85111 or 0117 32 85111.

Facilities Embrace E&D in a Variety of Ways

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Contributed by Annette Hennessy, Head of Operations and Security:

Facilities is a very varied and widespread service and therefore it is not a surprise that the Facilities E&D Action Plan mirrors that spread of responsibilities. Some of the activity that is happening to address E&D issues within the service are:

- Many line-managers in Facilities have refreshed their recruitment and selection knowledge by re-training with many people commenting on how 'things have changed’ since they last went on the course

- Several services have recently made offers to BME applicants, leading to a better balance of ethnic minorities in those teams

- A couple of traditionally male dominated services have recently appointed women

- Facilities Senior Management Team have appointed two women making the senior team equally balanced between men and women

- The H&S Team are currently reviewing the evacuation procedures for disabled people and are setting up a project group to ensure key stakeholders are involved in this

- Accommodation services welcomed their first hearing dog this year

- A Business Case has been submitted for a multi-faith space as part of the Bower Ashton Campus redevelopment project

Equality and Diversity News from the Faculty of Health and Applied Sciences

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Contributed by Jan Richardson, Faculty Business Manager:

Equality and Diversity is championed by Jan Richardson (Faculty Business Manager) and Mandy Bancroft (Faculty Director of Widening Participation and Disability) within the Faculty of Health and Applied Sciences.

During 2014 the following action was taken:

The Equality and Diversity Training was incorporated into the Professional Development process as a key objective to increase completion rates and raise awareness.

Department for Biological, Biomedical and Analytical Sciences (BBAS) have achieved the Bronze Athena SWAN award and are now working towards the Silver.  Nursing and Midwifery and Allied Health Professions have achieved the Bronze Athena SWAN award.

A new international co-ordinator has been appointed to support the international student experience in Biological, Biomedical and Analytical Sciences and Health and Social Sciences Departments.

The professional body guidance for Nursing and Midwifery and Allied Health Professions reaffirm that programmes need to be seen to have visible patient and public involvement in selection of future workforce, programme design and delivery. This ensures that graduates are better advocates for, and more representative of the population they seek to serve when they qualify, namely people with physical health conditions, mental health conditions or learning disabilities.

Each Programme in the Allied Health Professions Department (AHP) has a Disability Access Champion (DAC).  All AHP programmes have substantial practice placement components which can be very challenging for disabled students. DAC’s work alongside other UWE support service and placement providers to identify potential challenges to students when going on placement and to address them with suitable support and accommodation. This remediates for a potentially high attrition rate for disabled students due to poor placement experience.

The Department of Health and Social Sciences has put a lot of resources to encourage staff to engage the public in important equalities and social justice debates. A flagship initiative, Social Science in the City works with and reaches out to a range of organisations and people to promote and represent important equalities issues. Colleagues have given talks in the city about sexuality and religion and have encouraged members of the public to critically reflect upon oppressive as well as inclusive and socially just practices.  Black history month has been promoted through social media, twitter and Facebook .

Staff in the Nursing and Midwifery Department have developed value based recruitment and Equality and Diversity from a patient public involvement perspective as part of the interview process. In the Nursing and Midwifery Department there is a high ratio of women appointed and in senior roles. 79% of staff are female with a good representation at senior levels and part of decision making committees.

A review of images used for Nursing and Midwifery was undertaken to ensure they represent diversity and this is now apparent in booklets and on line material.

In the same Department, a funded study is being led to interview BME students to explore their study support needs, both in clinical practice and theory. These results will directly inform future strategy to improve the success rate and referral rate to Professional Suitability Panels.

Alternative Formats Service update

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Contributed by Sarah Fleetwood, Disability Support Librarian:

So far this academic year the Alternative Formats Service has had 370 separate requests for core reading materials (a mixture whole books, book extracts and journal articles) to be made available in different formats.

Formats we have created include audio, large print, and PDF. Demand for alternative formats has noticeably increased in the last two years, and the feedback we have had from students show that they really appreciate the service.

We are currently looking at ways we can improve and streamline the service due to the increase in demand.

There are more details about what we do, including information for academic staff, on the library webpages. Please feel free to get in touch if you have any questions: