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Equality and diversity and HEFCW's role with the

sector

HEFCW deals with policies related to higher education (HE) and has wide-ranging interactions with public and private bodies, both within Wales and more widely. Its Equality Scheme reflects that role, the relevant legislation and the need to work closely with universities.

HEFCW is committed to meeting our obligations under the legislation, and works closely with universities to develop and disseminate good practice. We are committed to making equality a core issue in developing and implementing policies and services, including matters related to the employing institutions and our own staff.

We will work together with institutions to achieve the:
  • employment of staff, including at senior level, and increased participation in HE from under-represented groups
  • continued development of support systems for staff and students, including policies and procedures on discrimination and harassment
  • establishment of base line information about the current recruitment position and setting targets for improvement
  • development of human resources strategies which include consideration of equal opportunities issues.

Further action for the HE sector, grouped under our strategic aims, include:

Widening access

Our work on widening access is designed to support universities to increase the recruitment and retention of students from groups under-represented in higher education. We fund four regional 'Reaching Wider' partnerships which encourage collaboration between universities and other bodies.

Student experience

All students expect the highest quality learning and related support. However, there may be particular areas of learning and teaching which impact adversely on particular groups, where appropriate role models and support mechanisms might need to be introduced. These may, or may not, be similar to those required in a widening access context.

Research

Issues regarding equality have been taken into account in research assessment. In addition, matters relating to building research capacity and support for postgraduate students need to take account of the equality dimension.

Innovation and engagement; skills, employability and enterprise

Universities need to take account of equality-related issues a range of areas, including: services to business; skills and employability; and entrepreneurship and community/cultural engagements.

Governance; reconfiguration and collaboration

In our role in monitoring universities' performance and effectiveness, we are concerned to ensure, as a minimum, that institutions are meeting their statutory obligations. We are also keen to encourage institutions to build equal opportunities into their human resources (HR) practices.

We advise universities on their duties towards disabled students and staff, and on equality and diversity more generally. The post also supports universities in directing their funding effectively, helps develop and disseminate good practice and innovation and contributes to HEFCW policy on equality and diversity in higher education.

We also part-fund the Equality Challenge Unit (ECU), which supports the HE sector in its mission to realise the potential of all staff and students whatever their race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, religion or age.

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