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Durham University

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy

Policy Statement

Durham University recognises that providing equality of opportunity, valuing diversity and promoting a culture of inclusion are vital to our success.

We want our staff and students to reflect the diversity of the regional, national, and international communities that we serve and influence. We aim to be a place where people can be free to be themselves no matter what their identity or background.

By creating a working, learning and social environment in which individuals can utilise their skills and talents to the full without fear of prejudice or harassment, we aim to create a culture where everyone can reach their fullest potential.

We will ensure that equality is embedded in all of our activities, policies and decisions and will work with our partners to share good practice. Key to this is our commitment to implementing a programme of activity to progress our equality aims and objectives.


This policy applies to all current and potential students and staff working at the University on a paid or voluntary basis, external examiners, consultants, and visitors or contractors who visit our premises. It covers discrimination on the basis of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion and/or belief, sex or sexual orientation as set out in the Equality Act (2010).


Equality is at the heart of our University Strategy which sets out our values and goals. Our aim is to make full use of people’s talents and skills by creating an open and inclusive workplace culture where people from all backgrounds can work together with dignity and respect.

We will take active steps to fulfill our responsibilities and promote good practice by:

  • Complying with legal obligations in a transparent manner
  • Developing and publishing University-wide diversity objectives as well as mainstreaming equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in to the University’s planning process for all departments and colleges
  • Publishing this policy widely amongst staff and students, together with policy assessments, equality analysis and results of monitoring
  • Assessing the impact of policies and practices to identify, remove or mitigate any disadvantage to underrepresented groups
  • Taking measures to eliminate discrimination
  • Taking action to redress any gender, racial or other imbalance including monitoring the recruitment and progress of all students and staff, collecting and collating equalities information and data and publishing this as required, and acting on any inequality revealed by the data.
  • Fostering good relations between persons who share a protected characteristic and persons who do not
  • Promoting awareness and understanding of EDI matters among staff and students through policies, training, guidance and campaigns
  • Engaging with staff and students in respect of changes which may affect their employment or study
  • Ensuring that existing staff and students, as well as applicants to work or study, are treated fairly and judged solely on merit and by reference to their skills and abilities
  • Raising awareness of our policies and commitment to EDI with external suppliers, contractors and partners and encouraging them to follow similar good practice
  • Ensuring the University estate is, as far as reasonably possible, welcoming and accessible to all
  • Making sure reasonable adjustments are made, as appropriate, to enable disabled staff and students to overcome barriers in the working, learning and social environment
  • Requiring that learning and teaching material, where practical, includes positive, diverse, non-stereotypical content
  • Ensuring staff and students are provided with appropriate tools so that they feel confident to discuss EDI issues and raise any concerns
  • Dealing with potential and actual acts of discrimination, harassment and bullying appropriately under relevant University policy and taking appropriate action where necessary
  • Consulting with staff, students, the Durham Students’ Union, Experience Durham etc. on EDI issues through existing mechanisms


  • All members of the University community have a responsibility to promote EDI.
  • University Council through the Vice-Chancellor has ultimate responsibility for ensuring that this policy is fully implemented.
  • The Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Provost, supported by the Associate Provost, is responsible for leading the implementation of the University’s strategy in relation to equality, diversity and inclusion for both staff and students.
  • The Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Team has responsibility for the co-ordination, support and delivery of this work.

Implementation, Monitoring and Review

This Policy will be implemented through the University’s Equality and Diversity Action Plan, which feeds into the University’s Strategy Delivery Board. Progress against actions and objectives will also be reported in the Diversity and Equality Advisory Group, chaired by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Provost.

We will assess the impact of this Policy by monitoring as follows:

  • Our HR Departmentt will collect and analyse monitoring data on staff with regard to recruitment, training, promotion, re-grading and complaints and report this information annually to the Diversity and Equality Advisory Group
  • The Academic Office will collect and analyse student monitoring data with regard to recruitment, progression and completion and report this information annually to the Diversity and Equality Advisory Group and the Learning and Teaching Committee.

This Policy will be reviewed on annual basis to ensure that it reflects best practice and current legislation. We will consult widely with the University's Diversity and Equality Advisory Group, diversity networks, Trade Unions, Durham Students’ Union and other stakeholders.


All staff are required to take part in EDI training appropriate to their role with new staff required to take EDI training as part of their induction. Information on all related training will be available our website.

Complaints Procedures related to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

The University expects all members of its community to treat others equitably, with dignity and respect. Any members of our University community who believe they have been discriminated against, harassed or bullied have the right to make a complaint free from victimisation or fear of retaliation.

When making a complaint, normally the matter should be raised informally in the first instance with the immediate supervisor, College Principal, Chair of Board of Studies or Head of Section of the person being complained of using the following procedures, as appropriate:

Any member of staff may seek assistance and support from their trade union, the EDI Team or Human Resources. Students may also seek advice and support from the Student Support and Training Officer (Sexual Violence & Misconduct), Colleges and the Durham Students’ Union.

Making a complaint does not prejudice an individual's right to make use of other procedures, including the Respect at Work or Study policies or Grievance procedures.

We aim to support and protect anyone who makes a complaint, or who acts as a witness, under these procedures from victimisation or retaliation.

Members of the public should address complaints to the University service in question in the first instance.

Approved: April 2018