This week we are publishing updated versions of two policies – the Staff Personal Relationship Policy and Staff & Student Personal Relationships Policy.
These policies represent significant revisions to our current policies, and have been supported by a task and finish group which first met to steer the work of policy revision in late 2018.
The policies reflect the changed culture within the higher education sector, and provide a clear framework outlining expectations on the professionalism of staff.
All staff are asked to read the policies, and, if appropriate, ensure that they declare any existing relationships following the process outlined in the policy. The policies are forward looking, and aim to direct and influence future behaviour. The policies come into effect from January 2021.
There are two key underpinning principles which have informed the policies. Firstly, the policies aim to provide a safe environment for our students and staff, and place their well-being at the heart of our considerations. Secondly, the policies aim to support principles of trust and integrity in our decision making.
Alongside the policy, we have also produced Staff & Student Personal Relationships Guidance. This guidance is not prescriptive, but encourages staff to think carefully about their practices and actions, recognising that habits that perhaps were accepted in previous decades are no longer appropriate. The guidance also recognises the notion of power in relationships.
The policies have been through an extensive process of consultation. We are very grateful to the members of the task and finish group who supported this work, to the colleagues in Human Resources who led the policy revision and guidance development, to senior leaders who provided comment on early drafts of the policies and guidance, and the staff and students unions members who have also informed the work.
Pro Vice-Chancellor for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion and People
01 December 2020