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Equality Policy – Bath Spa University

This policy details the University's commitment to matters of equality and diversity and indicates its plans for further action in this area.

In updating and reviewing this policy, consideration has been given to the Public Sector Equality Duty and specifically the requirement to meet the General Equality Duty and the specific duties that have been designed to support and aid compliance with the general duty.

Our principles
  • We value diversity and we recognise that different people bring different ideas, knowledge and culture, and that difference can bring strength, creativity and innovation.
  • We believe that discrimination or exclusion based on individual characteristics and circumstances, such as age; disability; caring or dependency responsibilities; gender or gender identity; marriage and civil partnership status; political opinion; pregnancy and maternity; race, colour, caste, nationality, ethnic or national origin; religion or belief; sexual orientation; socio-economic background; trade union membership status or other distinctions, represents a waste of talent and a denial of opportunity for self-fulfilment.
  • We recognise that patterns of under-representation and differences in outcomes at Bath Spa University can be challenged through positive action programmes.
  • We respect the rights of individuals, including the right to hold different views and beliefs. We will not allow these differences to be manifested in a way that is hostile or degrading to others.
  • We expect commitment and involvement from all our staff, students, partners and providers of goods and services in working towards the achievement of our vision.

Bath Spa University is a place where our students and staff are encouraged to become socially engaged global citizens. A place where:

  • We treat people with dignity and respect
  • Inequalities are challenged
  • We anticipate and respond positively to different needs and circumstances so that everyone can achieve their potential
  • We are ethically aware: prepared for citizenship in a local, national and global context

This policy outlines the University's commitment to matters of equality and diversity and indicates its plans for further action in this area.

The University will have due regard to the need to:

  • Eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation;
  • Advance equality of opportunity between those who share a relevant protected characteristic and those who don’t; and
  • Foster good relations between those who share a relevant protected characteristic and those who don’t.

In addition the University will meet the requirement of the specific duties designed to support and aid compliance with the general duty, by publishing:

  1. A Gender Pay Gap Report in March each year
  2. Information about employees who share a relevant protected characteristic in March each year
  3. One or more specific and measurable objectives relating to the three core objectives of the Public sector Equality Duty (PSED) at intervals of no more than four years.
Scope of policy

This policy applies to all staff and students of the University and its activities.

Bath Spa University is fully committed to providing equality of opportunity for all its staff and students, applicants and visitors. The University will not tolerate unfair or unlawful discrimination on the grounds of any of the nine protected characteristics or any distinction which is not relevant to the employee/employer relationship or its student body. Definitions of discrimination under the Equality Act 2010 are in Appendix 2 below.

This policy will be published by the University and drawn to the attention of all staff, students and other interested parties. Copies will be available from the Human Resources Department, the Student's Union and the University's web site. Breaches of this policy by staff or students will be investigated and dealt with through the disciplinary or complaints procedure.

Customers, suppliers and other people not employed by the University

The University has an important role to play in promoting good relations between people with protected characteristics and will work in partnership with the local community and other agencies to develop and promote positive attitudes to equality and diversity. As part of its commitment the University will continue to deliver an Equality Forum which is accessible to local communities.

The University will seek to secure the confidence, involvement and participation of underrepresented groups and sections of the community as students, staff, governors, goods and service providers.

The University will not discriminate unlawfully against customers using or seeking to use facilities or services provided by the University. Staff and students should report any bullying or harassment by customers, suppliers, visitors or others to their manager, student union representative or student services (as appropriate) who will take appropriate action.

The University will ensure that its tendering, contract and procurement arrangements with external organisation are fair and are not discriminatory under the protected characteristics. It will regularly review the criteria used for awarding contracts and the methods of assessing and monitoring individual operators’ own employment and service delivery packages.

Suppliers of goods and services who exercise public functions on behalf of the University will be expected to have due regard for the General Equality Duty.


Promoting and maintaining equality is the responsibility of everyone, although it is recognised that management have additional responsibilities to ensure that the policy is carried out. The Board of Governors and the Vice-Chancellor have overall responsibility for ensuring that the University meets its obligations with regard to the Equality Act 2010.

A Deputy Vice-Chancellor has specific responsibility for ensuring compliance with the policy and the promotion of good practice in relation to matters of equality and diversity.

The Equality and Diversity Steering Group meets regularly to discuss and review matters and make recommendations to the Vice-Chancellor.

The Director of Human Resources also has specific responsibility for assisting with the implementation and monitoring of equality.

The University Management will ensure that:

  • All staff and students are aware of the equality policy and our procedures for making a complaint;
  • The implementation of equality is effectively monitored;
  • An Equality Action Plan is produced and reviewed;
  • Staff, Students and Union representatives are provided with appropriate forums to discuss and deal with equality issues;
  • All staff are provided with appropriate equality training;
  • A network of trained Harassment Advisors is available to provide advice and guidance;
  • Procedures are in place for the fair appointment, promotion and development of staff, the fair selection and teaching of students, free from unjustifiable discrimination.

All staff and students are expected to:

  • Support and implement the equality policy; and
  • Ensure that their behaviour and/or actions do not amount to discrimination or harassment.

Staff and students of the University are expected to comply with this policy and are expected to promote a culture free of unfair discrimination, prejudice and all forms of harassment and bullying. Any incidents of discrimination, harassment or bullying will be investigated and may be grounds for dismissal or expulsion.

Implementation, monitoring and review

EDSG will review the policy regularly, summarise the findings and make recommendations to the Vice-Chancellor for any necessary changes. The Director of Human Resources will monitor the effectiveness of the policy.

Advice and information on equality related implementation and problems can be sought from:

  • Human Resources;
  • Students' Union;
  • Student Wellbeing Services;
  • A member of the Equality and Diversity Steering Group (EDSG).

The Board of Governors will ensure that the University has due regard for the General Equality Duty and is complying with the Public Sector Equality Duty and any other statutory duties under existing equalities legislation and/or relevant codes of practice.

Human Resources will lead on the gathering and analysing of data relating to staff, and the Pro-Vice Chancellor Student Experience and Pro-Vice Chancellor Academic Planning will lead on the gathering and analysing of data relating to students.

Annual reports will be provided to the Vice-Chancellor, Senior Leadership Group, and EDSG and information will be published annually.


Prejudice and discrimination can arise and be reinforced by our use of language, which often may not be completely neutral and value-free. Words and phrases can be associated with negative attitudes and may give offence to people including members of groups that are subject to prejudice, harassment or discrimination.

Everyone is expected to ensure that their written and spoken material, including all materials used in teaching, do not contain racist or sexist language or any other language that may cause unreasonable offence to others. In particular, you should be aware of inappropriate references to any of the protected characteristics.


University publications and advertisements for staff and student recruitment will state the University's commitment to equality. Recruitment practices will not justifiably exclude any appropriately qualified applicants. Every effort will be made to assess the equivalency and look positively on qualifications from other countries. Language and images used in all publications and written material will be anti-discriminatory. The Student prospectus will show clear requirements for courses and detail facilities available to students.

Information regarding staff vacancies will be circulated throughout the University and posts will be advertised externally in all but exceptional circumstances.

All new staff, as part of their induction process, will be made aware of the University's Equality Policy.

Facilities and support

The University will, wherever reasonably practicable, provide facilities and specialised equipment, to allow equal access by all staff, students and applicants to the education and employment it provides. Information on support can be found on the University website.


The University is committed to the principles of good research practice which are laid out in our Approach to Research Integrity and Ethics and our Code of Good Practice for Research. All staff and students are required to undertake ethical approval for research projects, and full ethical approval for any research where they are collecting sensitive data relating to protected characteristics.


Bath Spa University will work to avoid unlawful discrimination in all aspects of employment including recruitment, promotion, opportunities for training, pay and benefits, discipline and selection for redundancy.

Recruitment and selection

All applicants and staff will be given equal consideration for selection, promotion and training. A recruitment monitoring form will be sent with all application forms. Information gathered on this form will not be used in the selection process and will only be used for monitoring purposes by the Human Resources Department.

Selection criteria for all posts will be clearly defined and reflected in the Job Description and Person Specification. Short listing and interviewing processes will be thorough, carried out objectively and without bias. Staff involved in these processes should have been appropriately trained in recruitment and selection training and be aware of relevant employment legislation. Interview panels should include a mix of genders where appropriate. Where applicants declare that they have a disability, appropriate adjustments will be made wherever possible to enable them to compete on an equal basis.

Working Conditions

The University will take account of the needs of individual members of staff and, wherever reasonably practicable, use flexitime and/or special contractual arrangements e.g. job share, term time working, hybrid working, and annualised hours, to address any barriers relating to disabilities, religious observance, or caring for dependants. The University recognises its legal obligation to consider making reasonable adjustments to the workplace and working arrangements to accommodate suitably qualified people with disabilities.

Please note, a staff login is required to view documents on Sulis.

Learning and Development

The University will not discriminate on any grounds in the provision of learning and development to assist staff, either part time, full time, fixed term or permanent, to perform their jobs more effectively and to achieve their development goals. Learning and development of staff will be recorded and monitored.


Bath Spa University will work to avoid unlawful discrimination in all aspects of the student experience.

Admissions and Selection

All applicants will be given equal consideration during the selection process and will not be discriminated against on any grounds. The University welcomes applications from people with disabilities who will be considered on the same basis as other potential students. Considerations about individual needs arising from disability will be made separately and the University will strive to meet an individual disabled student's needs wherever possible. However, there may be occasions where it is not possible to admit an individual, where the level of support needed is not possible or where an individual's welfare would be at risk.

Entry qualifications for courses will only include those that are necessary and justifiable. All selection processes will be thorough, carried out objectively and will only address the applicant's suitability for the course requirements. Staff involved in the selection process will be adequately trained to achieve this.


It will be the responsibility of the Heads of School, Course and Subject Leaders and all other members of staff who set and teach curricula and syllabi to avoid bias in these areas. Learning materials should be non-discriminatory. If discriminatory material is used to make a point, the discriminatory nature of the materials should be pointed out by the staff member using the material.

Learning Conditions

The University will take account of the needs of students and wherever possible, consideration will be given to issues such as caring for dependants when lecturers and examinations are timetabled.


All students will be treated equally when considered by the University's exam board in terms of progression. Any issues brought to the attention of the exam board that should be considered on the grounds of equality will be taken in account, if appropriate.


First destination data, detailing the employment students secure having graduated from the University will be monitored and evaluated to see if particular groups of students from under represented groups develop better career paths than others.


Counselling and advice for students relating to discrimination, harassment and bullying will be available from the Student Wellbeing Office and the Harassment Advisors.

Appendix 1 – Definitions of protected characteristics

The Equality Act 2010 makes it unlawful to discriminate against people with a 'Protected Characteristic'. The below information gives details on the 9 characteristics which are protected against discrimination, and the definitions which will be used for the purposes of this policy.

  • Age. This is the only protected characteristic that allows employers to justify direct discrimination
  • Disability. A person is disabled if they have a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.
  • Gender reassignment. A transgender person is someone who proposes to, starts, or has completed a process to change their gender. Transgender people are not required to be under medical supervision to be protected. Non-binary and genderfluid people may also be protected under this characteristic.
  • Marriage and civil partnership. People in a marriage or civil partnership are protected, single people are not protected.
  • Pregnancy and maternity. A person is protected during the period of pregnancy and statutory maternity leave, and protection applies to anyone who is pregnant, who has recently given birth, or is breastfeeding. During this period, pregnancy and maternity discrimination cannot be treated as sex discrimination.
  • Race. Race includes, colour, nationality and ethnic or national origins.
  • Religion or belief. Religion includes any religion, including a lack of religion. Belief means any religious or philosophical belief, or lack of such belief. Discrimination because of religion or belief can occur even where both the discriminator and recipient are of the same religion or belief.
  • Sex or gender. Both men and women are protected from discrimination on the basis of their sex or gender identity. Non-binary people and intersex people may be protected on the basis of perceived or actual gender, sex, or transgender status.
  • Sexual orientation. Individuals are protected on the basis of sexual orientation, which includes people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, and straight (heterosexual).
Appendix 2 – Definitions of discrimination

The Equality Act 2010 includes the following definitions of discrimination:

  • Direct Discrimination occurs when someone is treated less favourably than another person because of a protected characteristic they have or are thought to have (perceptive discrimination), or because they associate (associative discrimination) with someone who has a protected characteristic.
    • Perceptive discrimination is direct discrimination against someone because others think they have a protected characteristic
    • Associative discrimination is direct discrimination against someone because they associate with someone who has a protected characteristic.
  • Indirect Discrimination occurs when a condition, rule, policy or practice is applied equally to all but puts one group of staff or students at a disadvantage due to a protected characteristic.
  • Harassment is unwanted conduct related to a relevant protected characteristic (see below), which has the purpose or effect of violating an individual’s dignity or creating and intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for that individual. NB the definition of harassment does not apply to marriage and civil partnership and pregnancy and maternity.
  • Victimisation occurs when a person is treated badly because they have made or supported or are suspected of making or supporting a complaint or grievance under the Equality Act.
  • Discrimination arising from disability: it is discriminatory to treat a disabled person unfavourably because of something connected with their disability (e.g. a tendency to make spelling mistakes arising from dyslexia). Employers may not ask about a candidate’s health before offering them work unless it will assist in;
    • Deciding whether a reasonable adjustment is necessary to enable participation in the selection process
    • Deciding whether an applicant can carry out a function that is essential (intrinsic) to the job
    • Monitoring diversity among people making applications
    • Taking positive action to assist a person with a disability
    • Confirming a person has a disability where the job genuinely requires the jobholder to have a disability.
  • Failure to make a reasonable adjustment occurs where a physical feature or provision, criterion or practice puts a disabled person at a substantial disadvantage, compared with someone who does not have that protected characteristic and the employer has failed to make reasonable adjustments to enable the disabled person to overcome the disadvantage.

Last review date: 14 October 2021

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