Leeds Trinity University has five Equality Networks across the University which were set up in order to provide a vehicle for staff from protected groups to be able not only to network and share experiences but also to help us shape our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) agenda by acting as consultative and reference groups, promoting awareness of that particular group and helping the University to become a more inclusive and welcoming community.
The Equality Networks also help us to demonstrate how we meet our legal obligations in relation to the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) which requires public sector bodies to:
- eliminate unlawful discrimination
- advance equality of opportunity between people who share a protected characteristic and those who don't
- foster or encourage good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and those who don't
Many of the awareness-raising activities and promotions that the groups have carried out will fall within this remit, as well helping the University to meet one of its Strategic Themes in relation to "Building our community and bringing about greater inclusivity".
Five Equality Networks
There are five Equality Networks, one each for:
- staff with disabilities
- LGBT+ staff
The Chairs of each group have been chosen by staff and arrange regular network meetings, developing and implementing action plans.
The Network Chairs each sit on the Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity (EDI) Committee and update the committee on actions to date and future plans, as well as provide feedback on policies, strategies and reports, such as the EDI Strategy, Protection of Dignity at Work and Study, Gender Pay Gap, Race Equality Charter Action plan etc.
The networks have achieved much over the past year and have been involved in us signing up to the Mindful Employer Charter, University attendance at Leeds Pride, feedback on Unconscious Bias training and BAME representation on interview panels.
The Networks have provided valuable access to the experiences of certain groups of staff and have enabled policies to be developed to seek to address inequities, such as Starting Salary Guidance for Chairs of Panels, fairer recruitment practices and improved BAME representation on appointment panels.
Over the next year, it is hoped that the groups will develop links with, and learn from, equality networks in other universities and undertake further awareness-raising activities including organising celebratory events to tie in with national and international 'events' such as International Women's Day and Black History Month.
It is also hoped that the Women's Network, in particular, will be able to support the University with action planning in relation to the Gender Pay Gap.