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Equality & Diversity and the REF


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Presentation by Christine Nightingale (REF Equalities and Diversity Advisory Panel and Head of Equality and Diversity, De Montfort University) at the Vitae event 'Preparing for the Research Excellence Framework: Researcher development, the environment and future impact' on 11 July 2012 in Manchester

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Equality & Diversity and the REF

  1. 1. Supporting and Promoting Equality and Diversity Through REF Dr Christine Nightingale, REF E&D Advisory Panel (EDAP)
  2. 2. Outline• Change in Equality legislation.• The Equality considerations adopted by REF.• The Equality and Diversity Advisory Panel.• Codes of Practice.• Procedures for staff individual and complex circumstances.
  3. 3. Changing equalities context= Since RAE 2008, equality law has been strengthened and streamlined in England, Scotland and Wales with the introduction of the Equality Act 2010. – Change in types of conduct that are prohibited – Types of prohibited conduct more in line with Northern Ireland equalities law.= Broader range of individual characteristics that need to be consider in HEIs’ REF work to ensure fair selection of staff.
  4. 4. Individual characteristics recognised in REF= Age = Sex (including= Disability breastfeeding)= Caring responsibilities = Sexual orientation (children, disabled and = Welsh language (Wales older people) only)= Gender reassignment = paternity and adoption= Marriage & civil partnership = Part-time and fixed-term= Political opinion (NI only) employment status= Pregnancy & maternity = Early career researchers= Race = Junior clinical academic= Religion & belief (without CCT)
  5. 5. • ‘A key success marker as a researcher is getting four REF submittable papers – 3–4 star minimum in our HEI – there is no accommodation for disability ... Career promotion is dependent on a number of markers, including presentation of research to conferences, etc. I find travel problematic, very tiring, so I don’t attend as many as my able-bodied colleagues – to my detriment on this ‘success’ marker. Being able to work extra hours – evenings and weekends – is pretty much essential at my level of responsibility, which I find very hard to do and not aggravate my disabilities.’ (ECU 2011:32 disability-equality-for-staff-in-HE.pdf )
  6. 6. = Because of the RAE academics have to produce so many books and articles in a given time- there is pressure to turn them out ... It is a nightmare. ... The traditional route is not dyslexia friendly. .. I decided it wasn’t worth the effort...= I’m leaving academia. I’ve no desire to stay in a sector that is so passive-aggressive towards those with disabilities. .. Other sectors are more helpful, realistic and welcoming...= (‘From compliance to culture change’, NIACE 2008: 89 compliance-to-culture-change-final-report- summary.pdf)
  7. 7. Lessons from the Research Assessment Exercise 2008= Report into ‘Selection of staff for inclusion in RAE 2008’: – Selection rate for staff with declared disability lower than for staff without declared disability. – 67% of male permanent academic staff selected in comparison to 48% of women. – Women aged 30-50 particularly low rate of selection. – Selection rate of staff from the black ethnic group lower than for staff from other ethnic groups. Source:
  8. 8. Overall approach in REF• Equalities firmly embedded through new Equality and Diversity Advisory Panel (EDAP). Focus on promotion, not just taking account of E&D.• Much more consistency across panels.• Only minor role for citations.• Strengthened procedures for developing (and auditing) Codes of Practice.• Improved procedures for handling individual staff circumstances.• Improved post-exercise monitoring of staff selection at sector level.
  9. 9. Codes of Practice• Main purpose is to ensure that HEIs have in place fair and transparent process for staff selection.• Must address transparency, consistency, accountability and inclusivity.• Must be accessible.• Must be signed off by Head of HEI and submitted to REF team by 30 April 2012 or 31 July 2012.• Are being reviewed by EDAP for adherence to guidance and adoption of fair and transparent process.• Refer to Equality Impact Assessment.• Must be published on HEI website.• Will be published on REF website in March 2015.
  10. 10. Disclosure within HEIs• REF team advise proactive approach• Recommend using central group to assess cases and advise on decisions to protect confidentiality where possible• ECU have developed proforma for staff disclosure.
  11. 11. Individual staff circumstances and reduced research outputs• Panel criteria allow for reduction in research outputs in relation to:1. Clearly defined circumstances = Clear period/s of leave during the REF period = Part time working = Maternity, paternity and adoptive leave, secondments and career breaks. = Early career researcher/ Junior clinical academics without CCT– More complex circumstances = Allows for disruption to research of an ongoing or sporadic nature during the REF period due to an equality related reason. = Disability, ill health, injury, mental health conditions, constraints relating to maternity, paternity and adoption, carers responsibility, gender reassignment and other related circumstances or activities protected by employment legislation. = May include a clearly defined periods of leave.– Cannot take onto account = Work loading. = Line management issues.
  12. 12. Submission of information• Clearly defined circumstances – Use REF 1b to describe circumstances, time periods, etc (200 words).• More complex circumstances – Use REF 1b (300 words) to describe circumstances, timing, effect on contracted hours and on ability to work productively, and rationale for no. of outputs. – Example cases on ECU website to provide guidance on how to structure information and EDAP’s likely response. materials/complex-circumstances-examples
  13. 13. Reduced numbers of outputs• Guidance on Submissions and Criteria proposed tariffs for reduction in outputs in relation to: – ECRs: Determined by date become independent researchers, after 1 August 2009 – Statutory maternity or adoption leave – Additional paternity or adoption leave – Other clearly defined circumstances• Tariffs can also be used to guide judgements for more complex circumstances
  14. 14. How EDAP will feed into the assessment process• Will make judgements on extent to which complex circumstances affected ability to carry out research (not just on contracted hours).• May need to request further information via REF team or request audit.• Will advise Main Panel Chairs (through REF team) on recommendations, and rationale for these given disclosed circumstances.• Information confidential to EDAP, REF team and Main Panel Chairs.• Sub-panels will be informed of decisions and will assess remaining outputs without any penalty.
  15. 15. Summary of EDAP responsibilities• Work with ECU on training materials and worked examples.• Assess Codes of Practice.• Consider cases of complex individual circumstances.• Make recommendations to Main Panel Chairs.• Chair will attend Main Panel meetings to describe approach and procedures adopted, as necessary.• Provide any other advice to REF team or Panels on E&D related matters.• Advise on post-exercise monitoring / evaluation.
  16. 16. Implications for you= Understanding and observing institutional REF policies.= If involved in the development of policies for the selection of staff ensuring that equality has been considered in the development of policies and procedures.= Ensuring decisions on selection are purely based on research quality and not a staff members personal characteristics.= Being aware of circumstances that may entitle staff to a reduction in research outputs.= Considering equality provisions when discussing REF submissions with staff.= Spreading the word to colleagues – who may be unaware that they could submit with reduced outputs.