Policies and Strategies
Policies and Strategies
Anti-Bribery and Fraud Prevention Policy
1.0 Policy Statement / Purpose
(1.1) Durham University has a zero tolerance policy towards bribery and fraud; actual or attempted. The University is committed to encouraging prevention, detection, and a swift response to any instances of corruption. The University expects that all its partners will display the same integrity in their dealings with the University.
(1.2) The purpose of this policy is to safeguard the University, its reputation and assets, and the assets of its members, supporters, partners and subsidiary companies, as far as is practicably possible. The University is a charity and much of its income is derived from benefactions, public funds and charitable sources. As such, the University has a legal duty to ensure that its resources and income are used solely for the purposes intended. The University must safeguard its operations and reputation, and the interests of its funders, donors, and members from the adverse consequences of fraudulent activities.
(2.1) This policy is applicable to all staff and student members of the University, all members of Durham Student organisations, agents, and other volunteer/lay members. Any fraudulent activities identified in relation to other individuals working with, on behalf of, or for the University should be reported through the same process.
(2.2) The University takes seriously any allegations of bribery or fraud, and will investigate all such concerns. Staff members found to be committing bribery or fraud (attempted or actual) will be subject to disciplinary proceedings which may result in dismissal. The matter may also be referred to the police and may lead to a prosecution.
(2.3) Malpractice undertaken by a student will be addressed under the University’s Student Major Offence Procedures and may be reported to the police.
(2.4) Transparency in financial dealings is paramount, particularly because the University, as a charitable institution, needs to demonstrate clearly the use of funds.
(3.1) All staff have a responsibility to report any suspicions of bribery or fraud. Ultimate responsibility for prevention, detection, and investigation lies with the University Secretary who should, according to the funding body’s guidance, in consultation with other senior managers, institute adequate systems of internal control, including clear objectives, segregation of duties, and proper authorisation procedures. It is the responsibility of internal auditors to assess the adequacy of these arrangements and, on a practical level, investigate, or supervise the investigation of allegations of bribery or fraud.
(3.2) In addition to responding to suspicions of bribery or fraud in an effective and timely fashion, staff and students should contribute to a work and study environment in which corruption is actively prevented through a number of simple means:
- Leading by Example: Senior management should ensure that they behave in a transparent manner, championing the University’s policies and procedures on fraud prevention;
- Understanding and Awareness of the University’s Policies: University members should familiarise themselves with the relevant policies and procedures;
- Use of Relevant Professional Channels: Relevant University staff should engage with pertinent networks to facilitate prevention;
- Audit Mechanisms: The University’s Assurance Service is able to undertake internal audits of activity to highlight any areas of vulnerability which are felt to expose the University to a variety of risks, including fraud and bribery. Units more vulnerable to risks associated with fraud or bribery should consider an internal audit to a) review control mechanisms and b) propose recommendations for enhancing these;
- Risk Management: Fraud risks will be managed, in accordance with the arrangements identified in the relevant risk registers, at both a University-wide and local level in those areas most vulnerable to fraud and bribery risks. Monitoring of current controls by defined risk owners will mitigate the risk of attempted/successful fraud or bribery;
- Relevant Policies and Procedures: These should be regularly reviewed via internal management processes to ensure they remain robust, up-to-date, and fit-for-purpose. The University reserves the right to operate more than one policy at a time where appropriate; for example, in relation to fraud, the HR Disciplinary Regulations will be upheld in conjunction with the protocol defined within this policy;
- Use of References: These may safeguard against appointing unsuitable individuals to posts involving significant financial responsibilities;
- Cash Handling Procedures: These should be clearly defined and communicated, supported by mechanisms to prevent one person from receiving, recording, and banking cash/cheques. In addition, a full audit trail of cash/cheque transactions should be maintained through the documenting of receipts.
- Physical Security: All cash and assets (including valuable data) should be kept and stored securely, with clear access rights defined and implemented;
- Budgetary Control: Budget holders should be alert to the risk of fraud or loss when monitoring actual income and expenditure against budget;
- Receiving Gifts or Hospitality: The policy should be clearly defined and communicated and a register of gifts or hospitality accepted or nil returns received from staff across the University to be managed by Procurement;
- Training: The University’s Training Team will offer basic web-based training for all staff to enhance understanding and awareness of fraud, bribery and associated risks. In addition, units deemed particularly ‘at risk’ have specific training targeted at preventing loss (accidental or unintentional) in financial transactions. Training will be developed and delivered in proportion to the assessed risk.
4.0 Policy, Procedures and Enforcement
(4.1) Vital to facilitating fraud prevention is the maintenance of a culture in which all University members are knowledgeable about and alert to potential instances of bribery or fraud. In addition to being perceptive to such activity, the University expects all staff and students to behave with integrity, and to lead by example, adhering to all expected standards, policies and protocols.
(4.2) In order to make it easier to identify possible signs of fraud, the following list of behavioural indicators which should give rise to concern has been compiled. This list, which is not exhaustive, could be an indicator of fraud or irregularity but may also highlight personal or mental health issues and as such should be addressed with sensitivity:
- Frequently altered documents, (particularly financial documents);
- Incomplete or vague claim/expense forms;
- Erratic or inconsistent application of processes and procedures; particularly those relating to cash handling;
- Erratic, or noticeable changes in, behaviour;
- Regular delays in the completion/submission of claims and financial reports;
- Staff seemingly living beyond their means;
- Staff seemingly under constant financial or other stress (possibly due to situational pressures);
- Reluctance to hand over work; particularly if the individual concerned is solely responsible for a risk area, including a reluctance to take annual leave to retain ownership of work;
- Avoidance of audits (internal or external);
- Refusal of promotion;
- Insistence on dealing with a particular individual;
- Management override of controls.
(4.3) All actual or suspected incidents of fraud or irregularity should be reported without delay to the Head of University Assurance who should consult with the following Fraud Response Group (FRG), within 72 hours, to decide on the initial response:
- University Secretary (in the Chair)
- Chief Financial Officer
- Director of Human Resources
- Head of University Assurance
(4.4) It is intended that this core group remains small to facilitate timely decisions and to ensure that confidentiality (and the reputation of the University) is maintained. Other co-opted members may be called upon at later stages in the investigative process to assist in specific cases where their expertise is required.
(4.5) The FRG will maintain familiarity with the University's disciplinary procedures and regulations, to ensure that evidence requirements will be met during any fraud investigation.
(4.6) The FRG will decide on the action to be taken. This will normally be an investigation, and the FRG will appoint an Investigating Officer with clear terms of reference and guidance for the investigation. Investigations involving senior colleagues shall normally be led by the Head of University Assurance.
(4.7) The investigation will consider: the nature and extent of any loss; action required to prevent further loss; recovery action; and the appropriateness of additional sanctions (including disciplinary action or criminal prosecution). The members of the FRG will ensure that staff co-operate with requests for assistance by the Investigating Officer and will approve the appointment of external specialists if required to assist with the investigation.
(4.8) The University will follow its own internal disciplinary procedures against any member of the University who has committed fraud.
(4.9) The University will normally pursue the prosecution against any member of the University who has committed fraud. The Head of University Assurance will establish and maintain contact with the police.
(4.10) The Investigating Officer should be familiar with and follow rules on the admissibility of documentary and other evidence in criminal proceedings (including the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (1984), the Investigatory Powers Act (2016), the Human Rights Act (1998), and the Equality Act (2010)).
(4.11) Where the police are not notified of a suspected or actual fraud, the Audit Committee must be advised of the reason.
Prevention of Further Loss
(4.12) Where the initial investigation provides reasonable grounds for suspecting a member of the University of fraud, the FRG will decide how to prevent further loss. This may require suspension, with or without pay, of the suspect(s), in accordance with the Disciplinary Regulations. It may be necessary to plan the timing of suspension to prevent the suspect(s) from destroying or removing evidence that may be needed to support disciplinary or criminal action.
(4.13) In these circumstances the suspect(s) should be approached unannounced. They should be supervised at all times before leaving the University's premises. They should be allowed to collect personal property under supervision, but should not be able to remove any property belonging to the University. Any security passes, keys to premises, offices and furniture should be returned.
(4.14) The Director of Estates and Buildings should advise on the best means of denying access to University premises while the suspect(s) remains suspended. The CIO should be instructed to withdraw, without delay, access permissions to the University's IT facilities.
(4.15) The Head of University Assurance shall consider whether it is necessary to investigate systems other than that which has given rise to suspicion, through which the suspect(s) may have had opportunities to misappropriate the University's assets.
Recovery of Losses
(4.16) The FRG shall ensure that in all fraud investigations, the amount of any loss will be quantified. Repayment of losses should be sought in all cases.
(4.17) Where the loss is substantial, legal advice should be obtained without delay about the need to freeze the suspect's assets through the court, pending conclusion of the investigation. Legal advice should also be obtained about prospects for recovering losses through the civil court, where the perpetrator refuses repayment, and from existing pension funds. The University would normally expect to recover costs in addition to losses.
(4.18) The Investigating Officer shall provide the FRG with reports on the progress of ongoing special investigations no less frequently than monthly. The FRG, in turn, will provide updates to the Vice-Chancellor. Reports should include quantification of losses; progress with recovery action; progress with disciplinary action; progress with criminal action; estimate of resources required and timescales to conclude the investigation; actions taken to prevent and detect similar incidents.
(4.19) The Vice-Chancellor shall report any incident of actual or suspected fraud to the funding body, the Chair of Council and the Chair of the Audit Committee if any of the following circumstances apply:
- The loss, theft, or fraud of charity assets or other irregularity where money involved is, or is potentially, in excess of £25,000;
- A case reveals systemic weaknesses of concern beyond the institution;
- The particulars of the fraud are novel, unusual or complex;
- There is likely to be public interest because of the nature of fraud or the individuals involved.
(4.20) The Vice-Chancellor shall ensure that any departure from the approved Fraud Response Plan shall be reported and explained promptly to the Chair of Council and the Chair of the Audit Committee.
(4.21) On completion of a special investigation, a written report shall be submitted to the Vice-Chancellor and the Audit Committee by the Head of University Assurance containing:
- A description of the incident, including the value of any loss, the people involved and the means of perpetrating the fraud;
- The measures taken to prevent a recurrence;
- Any actions needed to strengthen future responses to fraud, with a follow-up report on whether the actions have been taken.
(4.22) Any request for a reference for a member of staff or a student who has been disciplined or prosecuted for fraud shall be referred to the Director of HR or the Academic Registrar, who shall approve any response to a request for reference.
5.0 Equality and Diversity
(5.1) This policy has been designed to ensure that no-one receives less favourable treatment due to protected characteristics.
(5.2) Investigations will take place without regard to position, length of service, or relationships.
6.0 Related Information
- Financial Regulations (including guidance on receiving gifts or hospitality): https://www.dur.ac.uk/treasurer/financial_regulations/
- Disciplinary Regulations: https://www.dur.ac.uk/hr/policies/disciplinary/
- Public Interest Disclosure Policy (Whistleblowing): https://www.dur.ac.uk/university.calendar/volumei/policies_and_strategies/
(7.1) For the purpose of this policy, fraud is defined, in accordance with the Fraud Act 2006, as dishonest acts characterised by deliberate intent to a) gain an advantage, either for personal material (or other) gain, or for the benefit of another individual/group of individuals; and/or to b) cause financial loss to the University or one of its subsidiary companies.
(7.2) ntent is central to the University’s understanding of fraud; whether actual gain or loss has occurred is immaterial. It should be noted that fraud may be perpetrated by individuals internal or external to the University (for example, external fraud may occur via a breach of information security i.e. hacking). Fraud can be committed by making false representations, failing to disclose information, or by abuse of position.
(7.3) This policy deems the following examples as fraudulent acts: forgery, theft of cash or property, extortion, embezzlement, misappropriation, false representation, concealment of material facts, destruction of records, knowingly retaining a salary overpayment, excessive personal use of University resources, money laundering and collusion.
(7.4) Bribery is broadly defined in the Bribery Act 2010 as occurring when a person offers, gives or promises to give a ‘financial or other advantage’ (such as money, contracts, gifts or offers of employment) to another individual in exchange for ‘improperly’ performing a ‘relevant function or activity’. The offence of being bribed is defined as requesting, accepting or agreeing to accept such an advantage, in exchange for improperly performing such a function or activity.
8.0 Version Control
Approval date: 09/05/2018
Approved by: Council
Contact for further information: University Assurance Service
Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy
1.0 Policy Statement
(1.1) Durham University recognises that providing equality of opportunity, valuing diversity and promoting a culture of inclusion are vital to our success.
(1.2) 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.
(1.3) 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.
(1.4) 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.
(2.1) 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).
(3.1) 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.
(3.2) 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.
5.0 Implementation, Monitoring and Review
(5.1) 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.
(5.2) We will assess the impact of this Policy by monitoring as follows:
- Our HR Department 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.
(5.3) 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.
(6.1) 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.
7.0 Complaints Procedures related to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion
(7.1) 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.
(7.2) 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:
- Respect at Work Policy
- Respect at Study Policy
- University Statutes (specifically 35)
- Grievance Procedures (for non-academic staff)
- Student Academic Appeals Procedure
- Student Complaints Procedure
- Sexual Violence and Misconduct Policy
(7.3) 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.
(7.4) 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.
(7.5) We aim to support and protect anyone who makes a complaint, or who acts as a witness, under these procedures from victimisation or retaliation.
(7.6) Members of the public should address complaints to the University service in question in the first instance.
Fitness to Study Policy
The Fitness to Study Policy will apply:
- in exceptional cases where there are concerns about a student’s current capacity to engage in academic engagements, maintain their own safety or to reside in the College communities of Durham University without adversely impacting their peers or College staff. The Policy reiterates the University commitment to supporting students in their academic progression and lays out the framework for how concerns will be addressed in those cases where the range of supportive measures that the University may be reasonably expected to provide have been employed but have not satisfactorily resolved concerns.
- In exceptional cases where a student intends to participate in University-related activities in the near future and where there are outstanding concerns about a student’s capacity to engage in the activity without adverse impact upon themselves or others once the processes of risk assessment and health screening have been completed.
The Policy defines the Fitness to Study Standing Group as the group to review the operation of this policy and to provide oversight and guidance on the interpretation of medical evidence in the context of higher education and Durham University.
Appendix 1 presents a flowchart outlining the intersection of the Academic Progress Notice procedures, the Mental Health Policy and the Fitness to Study Policy for cases involving mental health. The full procedure for convening a Fitness to Study Meeting is presented in Appendix 2 with a sample invitation letter in Appendix 3. Guidance on medical evidence with sample Wellbeing Questionnaires and Return to Study Questionnaires are presented in Appendices 4-7. The Terms of Reference for the Fitness to Study Standing Group are presented in Appendix 8.
Durham University is committed to supporting students in their academic progression through to successful completion of their studies, and in their paticipation in the widest range of university activities. The University recognises the significant investment made by students in their pursuit of Higher Education goals and its responsibility to provide appropriate support as students seek to fulfil their academic potential. A positive approach from students and University staff towards the management of physical and mental health is critical to student engagement in the academic, collegiate and wider student experience.
The University encourages all parties to engage in early intervention and support-planning and to take an active, collaborative and supportive stance where possible. Students should be involved in the active management of their own wellbeing, drawing appropriately upon the support services offered by the University.
- Student Support Offices in Colleges are the centre of University pastoral support. The College Student Support Office will make reasonable efforts to work collaboratively with the student to engage with the appropriate University or external service to support their ongoing academic engagement;
- Academic Departments provide subject-specific academic support and welcome any necessary information they need in order to meet a student’s academic support needs;
- Disability Support coordinates the support needed to engage effectively with academic studies and university life when the condition has been declared as a disability, defined as any health condition that has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on the ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities;
- The Counselling Service offers support and signposting to specialist external services for issues around mental health and wellbeing;Mental Health Advisors offer support-planning sessions for students as part of their preparation to participate in off-site activities;
- The Durham Students’ Union, an external body, offers advice and advocacy services.
The Mental Health Policy sets out the University’s commitment to support for students with ongoing mental health conditions.
The Academic Progress Notice (APN) procedures are intended to identify students who in the reasonable opinion of the University are not fulfilling their academic commitments, to ascertain why this might be the case and to make appropriate support available where available and practicable.
This Fitness to Study policy is intended to apply:
- In exceptional cases where there are serious concerns about a student’s wellbeing and where the range of supportive measures that the University may be reasonably expected to provide have been employed but have not satisfactorily resolved concerns, or
- In exceptional cases where a student intends to participate in University-related activities in the near future and where there are outstanding concerns about a student’s capacity to engage in the activity without adverse impact upon themselves or others once the processes of risk assessment and health screening have been completed.
Fitness to Study is defined by reference to three criteria, namely that the student shall normally and consistently:
- be effectively engaged in their academic studies, assessment or placement without compromising the academic progress or ordinary activities of themselves, those of their peers or their employer (or equivalent), where a work placement forms a part of their studies
- maintain an appropriate level of conduct, health and wellbeing, such that they are not a risk to themselves, their peers, University staff or others;
- be engaged, as a resident or non-resident, in College communities as non-familial independent living environments without adversely impacting their College peers or staff.
A single event does not constitute an indication of a lack of fitness to study unless that event is itself symptomatic of an underlying inability to meet the criteria normally and consistently.
The procedure below sets out how the University will assess fitness to study and the actions it will take to support all students and staff. The determination of a student’s fitness to continue with their studies or to engage in a University activity will be based on the collation of the perspectives of all parties. In rare cases where a student is, in the reasonable opinion of the University, unable to engage in their studies and/or take care of themselves as advised and supported, or where students do not recognise their impact upon the University community, the University may decide to suspend or to withdraw the student from their studies, or the student may not be authorised to participate in the planned University activity. Where there are consequences for the student’s programme of study, for example if unable to engage in teaching practice for Education courses, or to engage in the year abroad element of a four-year language course, there may be concessions available which will be discussed in full at the point of assessment.
The University recognises that engaging in the process of determining fitness to study may be difficult. The student may seek support from their College Student Support Office and/or the Durham Students’ Union. If concerns about a student are being raised by their College Student Support Office the student may request access to alternative College support.
Decisions may be informed by contemporaneous medical evidence prepared by an appropriately qualified medical practitioner. Guidance on the preparation of medical evidence for medical practitioners is available in Appendix 4. The responsibility for gathering medical evidence will rest with the student, and any personal data that they share with the University will be held securely and confidentially in line with data protection legislation.
It will ultimately be the University’s responsibility to interpret and assess the evidence, taking into consideration the context of University life and the impact on academic progress, or the context of the activity. There may be occasions where medical evidence is not available or applicable, or it may not be provided by the student. A lack of medical evidence would not in itself prevent the University from making a decision about a student’s fitness to study. The University will consider evidence in line with local and national guidelines and protocols from the National Health Service, the National Institute for Clinical Evidence or Higher Education Occupational Physicians/Practitioners guidance, for example ‘Fitness to Study for Students with Severe Eating Disorders .’
The University recognises that securing medical evidence may involve financial costs to a student. Although the University Hardship Fund would be unable to support a direct payment for medical evidence, if the requirement for such evidence meant that the student was placed in financial hardship, that expenditure would be taken into consideration when assessing eligibility for hardship support. Advice on Hardship Funding is available online and via the College Student Support Office. Medical evidence may have already been provided to the College or Disability Support. Further requests for information on a student’s medical condition will ask for evidence that is additional to that already provided and/or to provide an update on the current impact of the condition.
The principles of this Policy and procedure apply to all University registered students.
The Policy will apply when the University considers that for current activities:
- There are urgent concerns requiring a rapid response to ensure the wellbeing of students and staff;
- Disciplinary and Academic Progression procedures are not appropriate; or
- Reasonable supportive measures within Colleges, Academic Departments or Specialist Student Support Services have not allayed concerns, or the student has refused to engage satisfactorily or appropriately with support;
Or, for future planned University activities:
- Either the student has disclosed a condition that may impact their fitness to engage in the activity and the University approver does not consider the student fit to engage in the activity given the evidence presented in the risk assessment and health declaration process;
- The University holds data that suggests the student’s fitness to engage in the activity requires consideration, for the student’s safety and wellbeing or that of others. This may include considerations of issues that were not disclosed by the student during the risk assessment and health declaration process;
- A prior offsite activity has resulted in health deterioration, and further assessment is needed before approval can be given for the prospective activity.
The University’s preference is not to take disciplinary action in the first instance where a student’s misconduct is known or suspected to be the result of an underlying physical or mental health issue. Disciplinary action may be put on hold where students are undergoing assessment or treatment for mental and physical health concerns.
This Policy refers to the fitness to be a member of the Durham University community and applies to all students regardless of their course of study. Students on courses that involve elements of professional training or accreditation are subject to Fitness to Practice policies of their respective department or relevant professional bodies where appropriate. For those students the department/professional bodies’ Fitness to Practice procedure may take precedence over this Policy or other University policies and are in addition to this policy as they contain profession-specific requirements for fitness and profession-specific Codes of Conduct. These procedures operate outside the scope of this Policy.
For students who are not resident in Durham, there are practical and reasonable limitations to the support that the University might be expected to provide. It may remain the case that ‘fitness’ issues need to be addressed, in the interests of the student’s wellbeing and the interests of our partner institutions.
This Policy also outlines the procedure for assessing fitness to return to study, after either a concession has been granted on health grounds, or after any incidents or episodes during offsite activities that raise concerns about a student’s safety and wellbeing.
It is expected that Colleges and Academic Departments will engage with students and with each other in informal discussions where concerns regarding fitness to study have been raised. The student should be encouraged to use one or more of the support services offered by the University and to engage with healthcare professionals. It is the University’s opinion that the majority of cases will be resolved where students engage with the internal and external support available to them.
The Policy contains three procedures for assessing fitness to study:
1. To address concerns about fitness to engage in current University activity;
2. To consider the fitness to engage in a prospective University activity;
3. To assess fitness to return to study, following a concession or offsite incidents or episodes of concern.
1. Fitness to engage in a current University activity
Concerns about a student’s current fitness may be raised by the student, their peers, their College or Academic Department.Fitness to Study Meeting If a student is engaged in offsite activity, concerns may be raised by a partner institution, an employer or their peers.
A Fitness to Study Meeting will be convened to provide clarity and transparency where there are ongoing concerns about a student’s fitness to study, and when
- Informal support measures have not allayed concerns, or require formal review
- The student is not engaging with the University around the fitness to study concerns
The purpose of the meeting is for those concerns to be considered by a relevant group of University staff and to provide the opportunity for the student to respond to those concerns.The intersection of the Fitness to Study Policy with the support mechanisms of the Mental Health Policy are presented in Appendix 1. The Fitness to Study Meeting will be convened by a College Principal, an academic Head of Department or their delegated representatives. The decision to convene a Fitness to Study Meeting must be made in consultation with the Director of Wellbeing and Support, the relevant Deputy Head of Faculty and a senior representative from the Counselling Service or Disability Support.
The procedure for convening a Fitness to Study Meeting is set out in Appendix 2.
The student will be invited to attend the meeting and may be accompanied by a member of the University community. Students will normally be given 7 days notice of the date of a meeting but, in view of the severity of an individual case shorter notice may be appropriate in the circumstances. Appropriate effort will be made to allow the student to attend, but the meeting can proceed if the student is unable or unwilling to attend where in the reasonable opinion of the University it is in the best interests of the students or other students and staff members that the meeting is convened without the student. The student will be invited to submit any relevant evidence to the meeting.
Membership of the meeting will depend on the nature of the case under consideration. It will include
- A senior representative of the student's College;
- A representative of the student's Academic Department(s);
- The Director of Wellbeing and Support, or a nominated representative;
At least one of;
- A senior representative from the Counselling Service;
- A senior representative from Disability Support;
And may include;
- A representative from the Curriculum, Learning and Assessment Service, if specialist input on University Regulations is required;
- An external health practitioner who is involved in supporting the student, if the practitioner is willing and the student agrees to them being present. The presence of an external health practitioner is not a formal requirement for the Meeting;
- External stakeholders, who may be invited on case by case basis to attend the meeting or part of the meeting or to submit evidence, with consideration to medical privacy. Any external stakeholder attending the Meeting will be subject to the provisions of data protection legislation.
It is expected that professional advice should be available at the Fitness to Study Meeting from a representative of at least, the Counselling Service and/or Disability Support and a mental health professional. If the student has been supported by a University Counsellor or Mental Health Advisor, and if they have contributed to the evidence, the Fitness to Study Meeting should also include a representative of the Counselling Service who has not previously been involved in the student’s support. The meeting can proceed without medical evidence, and any outcome of the meeting should formally note and reflect the absence of medical evidence. It may, but not necessarily, include a strong recommendation that the student seek appropriate evidence as an outcome of the meeting (see Appendix 4 for Guidance on medical evidence).
The outcomes of a Fitness to Study Meeting may be:
- No further action;
- A recommendation of further specific support arrangements, formal monitoring of the student’s condition, the specification of evidence required and a date set to reconsider the situation;
- An assessment of Fitness to Study that leads to the student’s collaborative agreement to a Grace Period of up to 5 weeks, a concession to suspend studies or a withdrawal from studies.
If the assessment reached in the meeting is that the student is not fit to continue their studies at this time, and the student is not in agreement with this assessment, the meeting may recommend a suspension from the University under General Regulations.
The student, their College and their Academic Department will all be informed of the outcome of the Fitness to Study Meeting.
Right of Appeal
Where they are dissatisfied, the student may appeal any decision made by the Fitness to Study Meeting. The purpose of the appeal is to ascertain whether the decision was reached:
- In accordance with the University procedures; and
- In the light of all relevant information.
The decision will be reviewed by two senior members of the University who were not involved in the Fitness to Study Meeting, and may include equivalent staff members from other Colleges or Academic Departments, or the Academic Registrar.
The appeal must be made in writing to the Academic Registrar within 14 days of the date of the decision made by the Fitness to Study Meeting.
Students may seek support in using the Appeals procedure from their College Student Support Office or the Students’ Union.
2. Fitness to engage in a prospective University activity
The University seeks to support students to engage in the widest range of activities. The process of assessing fitness to engage in prospective activity is designed to encourage students to participate in the planning and preparation for their activity to support their safety, wellbeing and successful engagement. This procedure only applies to University activities, those organised by the University, or in their name, or if the opportunity to engage in this activity is only open to registered students.
Assessment of fitness to engage in a prospective activity is ordinarily conducted through the processes of:
- Preparation of a risk assessment for the specific activity;
- A Health Declaration form, completed with reference to the risk assessment.
Assessment for a prospective activity may be necessary even if there are no current concerns about a student’s fitness to engage in their current University activity, for example studying on their current course whilst resident in Durham. There may be distinct features of the activity that require consideration which should be addressed within the risk assessment and health declaration processes, for example:
- A period of residence abroad, and hence away from current or potentially needed medical healthcare interventions;
- A period of residence away from existing interpersonal support structures, or extended periods of lone-working;
- A period of residence in a high risk environment, as defined by the Health and Safety Offsite Framework;
- A context in which the reasonable adjustments in place at the University are not replicable;
- Responsibility for others.
This procedure will apply if, after the risk assessment and health declaration processes have been completed, there are outstanding concerns about a student’s capacity to engage in the activity without adverse impact upon themselves or others.
In the majority of cases, the evidence for consideration will be:
- The evidence supplied by the student as part of the risk assessment and health declaration processes, and any associated medical evidence;
- A summary of the concerns raised by University staff, along with any supporting evidence.
All evidence will be shared with the student in the interests of transparency and the student will have the opportunity to respond to those concerns. Medical evidence will be interpreted for the context of the prospective activity.
If this procedure identifies serious concerns about a student’s fitness to engage with a prospective University activity, then the case will be considered via a Fitness to Study meeting as set out above.
The assessment of fitness for a prospective activity will be with reference to a specific start date. If the student is assessed as not fit to engage on the proposed date, the assessment will specify the earliest date at which the student may request to be re-assessed.
The full procedure for convening a Fitness to Study meeting is presented in the assessment of fitness to engage in prospective activities is presented in Appendix 2.
Right of Appeal
Where they are dissatisfied, the student may appeal the decision that they are not fit to engage in the prospective activity. The purpose of the appeal is to ascertain whether the decision was reached:
- In accordance with the University procedures; and
- In the light of all relevant information.
The decision will be reviewed by two senior members of the University who were not involved in the assessment, and may include equivalent staff members from other Colleges, Academic Departments or Specialist Support Services, or the Academic Registrar/ Director of Wellbeing and Support.
If the student wishes to submit further medical evidence to an appeal procedure, a specific set of questions will be prepared for the medical practitioner, against which the new evidence will be assessed.
The appeal must be made in writing to the Academic Registrar within 14 days of the date of the decision made by the Fitness to Study Meeting.
Students may seek support in using the Appeals procedure from their College Student Support Office or the Students’ Union.
3. Return to Study
Students who receive a concession for their studies or are suspended on the grounds of ill-health will only be allowed to resume their studies once the University is satisfied that they are fit to do so. The student will be informed of the evidence required to return to study at the start of the concession or suspension. It will be made clear to the student whether or not evidence of their engagement with any medical treatment is a requirement to return but this may not be a condition in all cases.
- The student will be required to
- Complete a personal statement, detailing their understanding of the difficulties they faced that led to the Residence concession and detailing how they feel their condition has improved such that they are confident of a successful re-engagement with their studies (Appendix 7);
- Support elements of the personal statement with medical evidence, where relevant, for example a student may have engaged with medication or psychological therapy;
- Engage in an assessment and support-planning session with a University Mental Health Advisor, either in person in Durham or over Skype, to
- Assess the quality of the personal statement and medical evidence, drawing upon the Mental Health Advisor’s knowledge and experience of mental health and the particular context of Durham University, an
- Draw up an appropriate support plan with the student to facilitate the most effective return to study and ensure appropriate pastoral, academic and medical support provisions are in place prior to return, including support for disabilities where applicable.
- The Mental Health Advisor will then produce a summary report and recommendation for the Fitness to Study Standing Group of the student’s fitness to return to study. The Mental Health Advisor may request the student to provide further information or evidence if required, and will ensure the student is ready to engage with local practitioners if necessary;
- The Fitness to Study Standing Group will meet in mid-September and at least once per term, to review the recommendations and make a decision on fitness to study;
- If the student is dissatisfied with the decision an Appeal can be made to the Academic Registrar who will review the decision to ensure that it was a reasonable assessment reached:
- In accordance with the University Policy; and
- In the light of all relevant information.
Consideration will be given to the need for the student to maintain a connection to their existing external care-providers. Full guidance on medical evidence for a return to study is presented in Appendix 4.
University Core Regulation 23 states that students are limited to a maximum of two consecutive concessions to withdraw from the academic year and return to University to begin the year again at the start of the next academic year. At this point a student would be eligible to re-apply to the University and apply for Accreditation of Prior Learning if they wish to re-enter their studies. (https://www.dur.ac.uk/university.calendar/volumeii/ )
A key period of assessing the evidence for return to study is August and September, before the beginning of the academic year. The Fitness to Study Standing Group (see below) will meet by mid- September to review evidence. All relevant dates will be communicated to students at the time of their concession or suspension.
Fitness to Study Standing Group
The Standing Group comprises members of staff from Specialist Student Support Services, the Colleges and Academic Departments, and representatives from the Students’ Union. The Standing Group will meet in mid-September and at the end of Michaelmas and Epiphany terms, and on an exceptional basis if required to review an individual student case. It will review the operation of the Fitness to Study Policy and will review any medical evidence relevant to the case involving a student who wishes to return to study following a Fitness to Study Meeting. It will also serve as a specialist panel to review the evidence for any student returning to study after a concession if:
- Specified as part of the Concession; or
- At the request of a College or Academic Department, in the event of their receipt of partial or ambiguous evidence of fitness to return.
The Standing Group will include members of staff from the Counselling Service, Disability Support and Occupational Health Service. In the event that those staff members do not have sufficient knowledge and experience to understand the evidence presented, external expertise may be sought at the discretion of the University. In such cases
- Consent will be sought from the student to share the evidence presented with an external expert
- Where prior consent is not obtained, the evidence will be anonymised to remove any personal identifying data before it is shared.
The Fitness to Study Standing Group will report to the University Committee overseeing the wider student experience. The Terms of Reference for the Fitness to Study Standing Group are presented in Appendix 8.
1. Intersection of the Fitness to Study Policy with the Mental Health Policy
2.Procedure for a Fitness to Study Meeting
3. Sample Invitation Letter
4. Guidance on Medical Evidence
5. Pro-forma Wellbeing Questionnaire
6. Pro-forma Return to Study Questionnaire
7. Pro-forma Personal Statement for Return to Study
8. Fitness to Study Standing Group: Terms of Reference
Gender Identity Policy (staff and students) (wef 2018/19 AY)
(1.1) Durham University recognises that there can be differences between the physical sex and gender assigned at birth and the gender with which a person identifies. Data relating to trans people in the UK is difficult to obtain, but it is estimated that 650,000 people are “likely to be gender incongruent to some degree”.
(1.2) NUS’ research found that one in three trans students had experienced bullying or harassment.
2.0 Policy Statement
(2.1) Our Equality and Diversity, Respect at Work and Respect at Study policies provide for an inclusive environment in which individuals can utilise their skills and talents to the full without fear of prejudice, bullying and harassment. At no time will we discriminate against or allow discrimination against people on the grounds of their gender identity or expression.
(2.2) Durham University aims to make full use of the talents and resources of everyone within our University community, with all staff and students feeling welcome, safe, supported and valued.
(2.3) In line with our Equality and Diversity policy, we will provide a supportive environment for staff and students who wish their trans status to be known. However, it is the right of the individual to choose whether they wish to be open about their gender identity. The University will use a ‘self-declaration’ model in which the wishes of the individual are paramount.
(2.4) In support of this culture of inclusiveness, we undertake the following:
- Students will not be denied access to courses, progression to other courses, or fair and equal treatment while on courses because of their gender identity.
- The curriculum will be checked and regularly monitored to ensure that it does not rely on or reinforce stereotypical assumptions about trans people, and curriculum containing transphobic material will be critically reviewed.
- The University will respect the confidentiality of all trans staff and students and will not reveal information without the prior written agreement of the individual.
- Staff or potential staff will not be excluded from employment, promotion or other opportunities because of their gender identity.
- Transphobic abuse, harassment or bullying (refusing to use a correct pronoun, ignoring a person because of their trans status, intrusive questions) will be dealt with under the University’s Respect at Work or Respect at Study Policy and may lead to disciplinary action which could include expulsion/dismissal.
- To ‘out’ someone, whether staff or student, without their permission is a form of harassment and, may be, a criminal offence.
- Transphobic propaganda, in the form of written materials, graffiti, music or speeches, will not be tolerated. The University undertakes to remove any such propaganda whenever it appears on the premises.
- The University welcomes, and will provide appropriate facilities for trans student and staff groups.
- Having consulted with trans staff and students and the trans community, the University will include gender identity in internal attitudinal surveys, and when monitoring complaints of harassment.
- In providing accommodation for students, any concerns or issues raised by trans students will be handled by the Colleges Office and will be treated fairly and in line with the University’s obligations under The Equality Act 2010 and the Gender Recognition Act 2004.
- Staff and students undergoing medical and surgical procedures related to gender reassignment will receive positive support from their managers/tutors to meet their particular needs during this period.
- The University will ensure that its environment, in terms of its pictures, images, publicity materials and literature, reflects the diversity of its staff and students.
- The University will include gender identity issues in equality training and will provide guidance for students and staff.
(3.1) Trans is an umbrella term used to describe people whose sense of personal identity and gender does not correspond with the sex they were assigned at birth, including but not limited to those who are transgender, transsexual, and non-binary.
(3.2) Transphobia refers to the range of negative feelings and attitudes towards trans people based on their gender identity and/or gender expression. Whether intentional or not, transphobia can have severe consequences for the target of the negative attitude.
(3.3) Gender reassignment can involve several procedures, some of which are medical (e.g. HRT), some legal (e.g. deed poll), and some social (e.g. telling others). Not all trans people undergo gender reassignment. Appendix A provides guidance for supporting staff and students undergoing gender reassignment.
(3.4) Gender identity describes one’s internal sense of being male, female, neither of these, both, or other gender(s). There is often an assumption that this identity will evolve along binary lines and be consistent with appearance. This assumption is not always correct with some people feeling this form of categorisation constricts their identity.
(4.1) The policy applies to staff and students whose gender differs from the sex they were assigned at birth or the gender which was imposed on them. It also applies to those undergoing a social gender transition, medical gender transition or both and also those who express the intent to undergo either.
(5.1) The Equality Act 2010 protects a Trans person who intends to undergo, is undergoing or has undergone gender reassignment from the moment they decide to start the process. It is unlawful for the University, or anyone at the University, to treat a person less favourably because of gender reassignment, or to harass them because of it. The person also must not be treated less favourably by reason of their absence from work or study while undergoing gender reassignment, in comparison to someone absent due to illness or for some other similar reason.
(5.2) The Gender Recognition Act 2004 allows trans people who meet certain criteria to apply for a Gender Recognition Certificate. This certificate allows people to obtain certain specific legal documentation, for example birth, death, and marriage certificates, in their new legal gender. There is no requirement for a person in possession of a gender recognition certificate to produce this in order to change any official documents other than a birth certificate. Additionally, the Gender Recognition Act makes it illegal to disclose someone's trans status to someone else without explicit permission from the trans person in question.
(5.3) In addition, the public sector equality duty under the Equality Act requires public authorities to have due regard to the need to eliminate discrimination, harassment and victimisation against Transsexual people, to advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations between Transsexual people and others.
(5.4) Under the Data Protection Act, trans identity and gender reassignment constitute ‘sensitive data’ for the purposes of the legislation. Therefore information relating to a person’s trans status cannot be recorded or passed to another person unless conditions under schedule 3 of the Data Protection Act for processing sensitive personal data are met.
6.0 Relevant University Policy
- Equality and Diversity Policy
- Respect at Work
- Respect at Study
7.0 Further Information
The Equality and Change Unit.
Guidance: Supporting Staff and Students going through transition/gender reassignment.
A student or member of staff considering or undergoing transition should consider contacting the Academic Office or their local Human Resources contact respectively. A meeting will be arranged to discuss, in confidence, what support can be given during and after the transition process. The trans member of staff or student may choose to be accompanied by a colleague, friend or a trade union or students’ union representative to this meeting.
It may be decided that a larger meeting is needed with, for example, the person’s manager, tutor, college welfare rep, or head of department.
It may be helpful to agree an action plan, with timescales. This will help the University consider arrangements for time off work or study and also when changes to records might be required. This plan should be confidential with the member of staff of student agreeing where copies should be kept and who should have access. Implementation of the plan should be reviewed regularly and reassessed at each significant part of the process. The plan will be different for every individual but could include:
- Appointments with doctors
- The start of any real-life experience
- When to inform the person’s department
- The start of any hormone therapy and/or medical procedures
- Any change of name or personal details, such as title
- Change of gender
In addition, the following considerations should be taken in to account:
- Which amendments to records and systems will be required
- Whether trans people are adequately covered by existing policies on confidentiality, harassment and corporate insurance, and if not, how these will be amended
- whether training or briefing of colleagues, fellow students or service users will be necessary, when this will occur, and who will carry this out
- Whether they want to inform relevant people (line manager/colleagues/students) in person or for this to be done on their behalf. When and how this should be done
- Whether a student wants to continue their course of study, defer for a set amount of time or come to some other arrangement
- Whether a member of staff wishes to stay in their current post or be redeployed and if the latter, whether redeployment is possible
- Ways to minimise disruption to studies
- The expected timescale of any medical and/or surgical interventions and procedures and the time off required;
Appendix 1 provides a useful checklist that covers most of the issues that need to be considered when an individual is going through this process.
1. What is the likely timetable for transition? Consider, for example, the dates for:
- Name change
- Use of facilities (toilets, changing rooms)
- Change of records
2. Which identification cards/name badges will need to be changed? Consider, for example:
- University ID card
- Library card
- Students’ union card
- National Union of Students card
- Club and society cards
- Volunteer/mentor ID badges
- Trade union membership badge
- Professional/learned body membership card
- Fitness centre/gym membership cards
- Accommodation access card
- Placement ID cards
- Course representative card
3. Which documents and materials need to be replaced or altered? Consider, for example:
- Online records, e-portfolio/record of achievements, academic biographies
- All student/staff records and databases, enrolment forms, finance records
- Programme and module lists
- Personal tutor records
- Welfare/disability/counselling records
- Volunteering and mentoring records
- Course representative posters and contact details
- Committee minutes and records, for example, boards of study or academic boards
- Certificates, for example, council tax exemption, training attendance, degree
- Club and society membership records
- Payroll (and banking details)
- Pension, death in service and dependents’ benefits
- Insurance policies
- Student loans company/local education authority
4. Should the following people be informed? If so how?
- Programme teams
- Students and colleagues
- Support departments (finance, student records, accommodation, etc)
- Work placement providers, volunteer placements
- Committee secretaries
- Club and society members
5. If the student/staff member is, or will be, undergoing surgery, do they know when this will be?
6. If the student/staff member requires time off for surgery and recovery, what processes/support/adjustments are needed to ensure they remain on their programme of study/in employment, or can return when they have recovered?
7. Are there any professional or attendance requirements that may be affected by the person’s absence for medical assistance? Consider how students will be supported to ensure they can complete their programme of study on time
8. Will there be a need to arrange any training for managers, colleagues or fellow students?
9. Who should be trained? Consider: cleaners, catering staff, academic staff, finance staff, students in the same tutorial groups
10. Who will deliver this training?
11. What will the training cover?
12. Will the trans student/staff member want to be involved to share their experience and expectations?
Genuine occupational qualification (GOQ)
13. Are there any GOQ requirements during the student’s programme of study or staff member’s work? Some roles may be more likely than others to include GOQ requirements, such as roles within: counselling, social care, NHS, charities, schools
14. Are there any GOQ requirements on volunteer placements or work-based learning?
Some roles may be more likely than others to include GOQ requirements, such as roles within: women’s refuges, rape crisis centres
15. During awards ceremonies, what name will be used if a person’s name has not been legally changed?
16. During a degree ceremony, what name will be used if a person’s name has not been legally changed? Consider:
- On the certificate
- In ceremony programmes
- When read out
17. Are there clear guidelines and processes to deal with direct or indirect discrimination, victimisation or harassment of a trans student or member of staff?
18. Are there clear processes to deal with discrimination on work placements?
19. How is the student or member of staff made aware of these processes?
20. How are colleagues, other students, and work placement providers and contractors made aware of their responsibilities?
NUS (2014) Beyond the Straight and Narrow
Based on the Joint agreement on guidelines for transgender equality in employment in further education colleges (Association of Colleges et al, 2005).
Lecture Capture Policy (wef 2018/19 AY)
(1.1) This document sets out Durham University’s policy on the recording of lectures, with a view to establishing and supporting the rollout of lecture capture technology across the University.
(1.2) This policy extends and supersedes Durham’s pre-existing ‘Recording of Lectures and Teaching Sessions Policy’beyond audio recording, to include the recording of projected material and ultimately video recording where available and appropriate.
(1.3) This policy applies to recordings made or distributed through the available University-provided appropriate technology, referred to as lecture capture hereafter, and also recordings made as a specific reasonable adjustment in light of individual student circumstance.
(1.4) Lecture capture is widely available across UK Higher Education Institutions, and is used to support students in a variety of ways. Lecture capture can be used to:
- provide a study aid for review and revision;
- help accommodate different learning styles;
- assist students who do not have English as their first language; and
- assist students who have particular educational needs.
(1.5) Lecture capture is particularly important in the context of our commitment to equality and diversity and should be considered an adjustment from which all our students will benefit.
(1.6) Lecture capture is designed to supplement the student experience and will not replace student contact hours. It should not be seen as an alternative to attending a lecture.
(1.7) The University recognises and acknowledges that:
- not all teaching styles or materials may be suitable for lecture capture;
- a requirement for staff to change their preferred teaching style for the purpose of recording may be detrimental to the student experience and is not encouraged;
- ethical issues or the use of sensitive material may render the recording of some teaching and learning activities inappropriate;
- a range of training and support mechanisms will be required to enable staff to capture diverse teaching approaches effectively.
(2.1) Where recording facilities are available, lecture capture technology should be used to record lectures and to make these recordings available to students registered on the module associated with that lecture. The University expects that if appropriate teaching is taking place in a space which is equipped with the lecture capture system, the system will be used.
(2.2) The University recognises that not all lecture material may be appropriate for recording. Reasons for this may include, but are not limited to, lectures that contain:
- confidential or personal information;
- commercially or politically sensitive information;
- significant amounts of student interaction;
- a mode of delivery that makes recording unsuitable.
(2.3) Where segments of a lecture are not appropriate for recording, the recording may be paused to omit these segments, or reviewed and edited to remove the relevant segments before publication. Published recordings may be edited at any time where necessary.
(2.4) Staff will not be expected to edit recordings as standard practice. Editing will be required only in exceptional circumstances, e.g. when recordings were inadvertently not paused, when sensitive information has been captured, or when students have requested post-session that their contributions are not recorded.
(2.5) If a student wishes to have a recording edited, they can do so by requesting a change from the person responsible for the lecture being recorded. The procedure for this will be found on the lecture capture service webpage. This request must specify which material the student wishes to have changed and the reason for the change. In cases of disagreement, the relevant Director of Studies shall resolve the matter.
(2.6) Where a member of staff considers one or more lectures or an entire module inappropriate for recording, they may opt out of the lecture capture system using a self-service system accessed through the lecture capture service web page. It is good practice to consider these matters before the start of term, and the needs of students with reasonable adjustments must be considered (see paragraph 2.12).
(2.7) Staff should comply with the minimum standards in DUO to support the learning of all students, including students with disabilities, through the provision of outlines and summary information in advance of lectures in addition to lecture capture.
(2.8) Although lecture capture is designed to record content delivered by staff, students may be recorded if they make a contribution to a session. Where students are recorded, this is deemed to be on the basis of legitimate interest and recordings will be created, stored and processed in accordance with the relevant data protection legislation (see Section 4).
(2.9) If a student wishes to participate in a session without being recorded, they may request that the recording is paused, or ask a question via a proxy.
(2.10) Students are permitted to make personal audio recordings of any lecture or part of a lecture that is also recorded through lecture capture. Audio recording devices must be kept with the student at all times and may not be placed on the lectern/lab table unless required for any disability related reasons.
(2.11) Students should be informed when material unsuitable for recording will be discussed and switch off their devices until instructed otherwise. Material unsuitable for recording includes but is not limited to special category data (data that is particularly personal and sensitive, as discussed in paragraph 4.2 below), material subject to an opt-out, or contributions from students who do not wish to be recorded.
(2.12) Where it is a case of reasonable adjustments, individual students are permitted to record any lectures or parts of lectures that are not recorded through lecture capture, provided no legitimate objections have been raised by the staff or students concerned. Staff should consult with the relevant student and Disability Support to find an alternative adjustment where necessary.
(2.13) Covert recording of teaching activities, where permission has been withheld, is not permitted and will be subject to disciplinary proceedings.
(2.14) Lecture capture recordings will be available to students via Durham’s secure virtual learning environment, Durham University Online (DUO). Default access to an individual recording will be restricted to Durham University students registered on the module for which the lecture has been recorded, and recordings will only be available to the student cohort to whom a lecture was delivered, unless the member of staff delivering the material wishes to re-use or re-purpose it.
(2.15) Recordings will be accessible online exclusively through DUO and Panopto’s secure environment, with no option to download.Recordings may also be ‘off-lined’ to a mobile device for viewing when a network connection is not available.
(2.16) Recordings will normally be available for the duration of a student’s enrolment on their programme of study and will be stored for five years before being archived or deleted, in line with the University’s retention of IT-based learning and teaching materials policy found at https://www.dur.ac.uk/records.management/.
(2.17) Except where authorised in writing by the University, recordings of University lectures and teaching sessions are not for public use, including internal or external publication and distribution on the Internet.
(2.18) Access must not be given to any third party, other than for transcription for the purposes of reasonable adjustments. Anyone who circumvents the University’s block on downloading recordings or uses a recording inappropriately will be subject to disciplinary proceedings. The University will make all reasonable efforts to have material posted inappropriately taken down.
(2.19) Any recordings made by students are subject to the same constraints on distribution as are imposed on recordings made on behalf of the University.
(2.20) Infringement of these principles will be treated as an offence, and will be dealt with in accordance with the University’s disciplinary regulations.
(2.21) Recordings will not be used for staff disciplinary or performance management purposes, unless in response to a specific formal complaint.
3.0 Intellectual Property and Copyright
(3.1) The introduction of lecture capture does not alter the University’s position on Intellectual Property and Copyright. In accordance with existing policy, the University owns both student and staff recordings.
(3.2) In accordance with University policy and current staff terms and conditions, staff retain authoring rights for their work. Further guidance on Intellectual Property and video can be found here: https://www.dur.ac.uk/cis/lt/video/.
The University’s full policy on Intellectual Property can be found here: https://www.dur.ac.uk/research.innovation/local/governance/policy/ip/.
(3.3) Scanned extracts of texts and still images included within the University’s CLA HE licence may be included in recorded lectures, subject to the terms and conditions included therein. Third party works may be included if they are out of copyright or available under a Creative Commons licence. Some copyrighted works may also be used without permission for the purposes of:
- illustration for instruction;
- criticism or review, or quotation;
- parody or pastiche; or
- making an accessible copy
provided the use constitutes ‘fair dealing’ and is suitably acknowledged. Staff should consult University guidance on copyright for further information on what may or may not be included in lecture capture recordings: https://www.dur.ac.uk/cis/lt/video/copyright/.
(3.4) It is the responsibility of individual staff members to ensure that the material used for the teaching and learning activity is copyright cleared. Where staff cannot ensure that material is cleared for copyright, this should be removed and students referred directly to the original resource. Further guidance on copyright can be found here: https://www.dur.ac.uk/library/copyright/.
4.0 Consent and Privacy
(4.1) Lecture capture is deemed to be in the legitimate interests of the educational objectives of Durham University, in accordance with Article 6(1)(f) of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Durham University’s Privacy Notice is available online: https://www.dur.ac.uk/ig/dp/pnstudents/
(4.2.) Notwithstanding the provision in 4.1, no recordings of special category data will be permitted without the express written consent of the staff or students being recorded, whether through lecture capture or personal recordings. ‘Special category data’ is data that is particularly personal and sensitive, including information about a person’s racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious or similar beliefs, trade union membership, physical or mental health, genetics or biometrics, sexual life or sexual orientation. No recordings may be made of personal data relating to criminal convictions or offences.
(4.3) Individual staff are responsible for ensuring that recordings are paused and/or edited to ensure that no special category data is recorded and uploaded to DUO without consent, and for instructing students that special category data will be discussed and should not be recorded on personal devices.
(4.4) Students may not be permitted to opt-out where a recording is an explicit requirement of a University qualification.
(4.5) Staff who wish to record guest speakers must inform speakers that they will be recorded and obtain written consent in advance using the University’s ‘Permission to Record’ template. https://www.dur.ac.uk/resources/cis/lt/permission-to-record.docx.
5.0 Takedown Policy
(5.1) Lectures recorded as part of lecture capture are subject to the University’s existing takedown policy. Student requests for elements of a recording to be edited should be directed to the relevant staff member, following the process outlined in paragraph 2.5 above. Further guidance on the possible legal bases for takedown and the University’s takedown procedure can be found here: https://www.dur.ac.uk/cis/lt/video/take-down-policy/.
6.0 Support and Guidance
(6.1) Further information and guidance about lecture capture is available from the Computing and Information Service at http://www.durham.ac.uk/cis/lecturecapture.
Mental Health Policy
The aims of the Mental Health Policy are:
- To set out the framework in which the University provides students with mental health difficulties the opportunity to reach their full academic potential;
- To provide practical advice and guidance to those staff responding to students with mental health difficulties.
The majority of students with mental health difficulties are able to navigate their University careers successfully through a combination of self-care, pastoral support in Colleges, adjustments within their academic Departments, specialist support services and the support offered by external services. A minority of students experience difficulty in acknowledging the impact of their mental health upon their safety, wellbeing, their academic progression and their capacity to engage in the wider student experience.
The Mental Health Policy Statement below contains the University’s statement of its commitment to support. Appendix 3 contains guidance for staff supporting students with mental health difficulties and sets out the framework in which staff will address student support needs, specifically the mechanisms of informal and formal Support Meetings. A full procedure for a formal Support Meeting is set out in Appendix 4. Appendices 5-8 contain information and guidance on medical evidence that may need to be considered in Support Meetings or upon a return to study following a concession on mental health grounds, along with pro-forma examples of requests for evidence. A separate student-facing Guidance note with advice for students on support provision and academic concessions on mental health grounds is available on the Counselling Service website.
In exceptional circumstances, where there are concerns about a student’s welfare and where the range of supportive measures that the University may be reasonably expected to provide have been employed but have not satisfactorily resolved concerns, the appropriate policy and procedure is Fitness to Study. The policy applies for all conditions where there are concerns about a student’s capacity to engage in academic engagements, maintain their own safety or to reside in College communities without adversely impacting their peers or College staff. A flowchart outlining the intersection of the Mental Health Policy and the Fitness to Study Policy is presented in Appendix 2.
This Policy uses the broad term mental health difficulties to describe the issues that fall within its scope. A useful framework to describe the continuum of mental health is presented in Appendix 1.
Mental wellbeing is a dynamic state that describes our current capacity to enjoy life and to work productively and creatively, our ability to build and sustain positive relationships with ourselves and with others.
Mental illness can be acute or chronic, and may arise from organic, genetic, psychological, relational or behavioural factors (or any combination of these). The illness may fall within the definition of a ‘disability’ as set out in the Equality Act 2010, but not all mental health illnesses constitute a ‘disability’. A mental illness may be, but is not limited to, a condition diagnosed by a medical professional. An individual with a long-term mental illness may nevertheless experience good mental wellbeing if they are adequately resourced and supported in managing their condition.
(2) Policy Statement
The University aims to provide a challenging, stimulating and purposeful academic environment with the greatest opportunities for social, cultural, sporting and spiritual engagement. In this way, the University aims to make a positive contribution to the mental health and wellbeing of all students and staff.
Mental health difficulties can beset students at any point in their academic career, and some students may begin their studies with pre-existing conditions. The higher education experience at Durham is competitive and high-achieving, in which some students will thrive but for others may present a challenge to wellbeing. It is well-recognised that transitions in life can be times of acute stress. However participation in Durham University also presents an opportunity to develop resilience, independence and skills to manage one’s own wellbeing and contribute to the wellbeing of others.
The University aims to provide a supportive environment in which all students, including those with mental health difficulties, have the opportunity to realise their full potential and meet the academic requirements of their programmes of study.
The University aims to promote a culture in which mental health difficulties are recognised and supported. It will ensure that students are not disadvantaged, academically or otherwise, because of their difficulties in accordance with the University's Equality and Diversity Policy. The University has specific responsibilities towards those students whose mental health is defined as a disability under the law to ensure that reasonable adjustments are put in place to support their learning. Where a student is facing academic progression or disciplinary processes, and mental health may be a contributing factor, the student will be offered support to protect their longer-term academic prospects.
However the University recognises that the students are individual, adult learners, with a responsibility to contribute to their own self-care and to contribute to the quality and wellbeing of the University community. Students are invited to engage appropriately and professionally with the support available, where mental health difficulties are adversely affecting the student’s capacity to engage productively with their studies or with the University community. The University will assist students to understand the support provision within the University, within its remit as an education institution, and to assist students to access appropriate external support where necessary.
The University seeks to implement these aims by:
- Providing pastoral and welfare support services within the College environment and access to specialists in the Counselling and Disability Support Services, in addition to the support services provided through an external body such as the Durham Students' Union;
- Encouraging students with mental health difficulties to make these known to the University and to seek support both pre-arrival and after they have commenced their studies, and at such times that their support needs may change, for example in undertaking work or study placements abroad;
- Taking a proactive and collaborative stance in supporting students to develop a support plan;
- Ensuring that transparent and consistent procedures are adopted across the University and its constituent Colleges to support students with mental health difficulties;
- Providing clear guidance on the confidentiality of personal information provided by students;
- Providing guidance, training and support to staff involved in student support;
- Maintaining strong links with local specialist mental health services to improve the provision of services to meet students’ needs and referring students with mental health difficulties to services when appropriate.
Whilst the University is committed to providing a supportive environment, it is important to recognise that it is not a mental health facility nor is it a therapeutic community. There are, of necessity, limits to the extent of the support that can be provided and it is not the responsibility of the University to replicate services that already exist within the wider community and within the NHS. The University cannot provide treatment for mental illness but aims to provide an environment and the resources to support students to maximise their sense of mental wellbeing.
A positive approach from students and University staff towards the management of mental health conditions is critical to student learning, academic achievement and the quality of the wider student experience for all.
Public Interest Disclosure Policy 'Whistle Blowing'
(1.1) The University is committed to the highest standards of integrity, probity and accountability. It seeks to conduct its affairs in a responsible manner taking into account the proper use of public funds, the requirements of its funding bodies and the standards required in public life.
(1.2) The aim of this policy is to enable and encourage individuals to raise matters of concern (disclosures) that are in the public interest (often referred to as ‘whistleblowing’) at a high level within the University, so that they may be investigated and, where appropriate, acted upon. The individual making a disclosure is often not directly affected by the concern which they raise, although they may be. The disclosure should reflect an honest belief of alleged wrongful conduct of the University, or about the conduct of a fellow employee, service user, or any third party.
(1.3) All concerns raised by an individual will be treated fairly and properly and no individual will suffer any detriment for raising concerns under this Policy in good faith.
(2.1) This Policy applies to all employees and those who are engaged to work in the University and includes apprentices, interns, atypical workers and those with honorary contracts. The Policy also applies to any students undertaking work in the University and members of University bodies such as Council.
(2.2) This Policy cannot be used by individuals to challenge financial and business decisions properly taken by the University or seek reconsideration of any matter already addressed under other internal procedures, for example disciplinary and grievance procedures. Furthermore, any disclosure under this Policy should be raised in the public interest and in good faith and should not be made for personal gain.
(2.3) The University also has in place a set of Financial Regulations covering a wide range of areas including the delegation of financial authorities, purchasing, and general systems of audit and internal financial control. In the case of concerns regarding financial irregularities these may be addressed under the University’s Fraud Procedure or other relevant Finance processes.
(2.4) It is expected that the majority of concerns will be raised openly with line managers or senior colleagues, or for students with their academic or College tutor, as part of the day-to-day good practice of the University. It is only when an individual considers that their concerns have not been appropriately dealt with or their concern is about their line manager or department or their concern is so serious that it should be considered at a more senior level that it may be raised under this Policy.
(2.5) Concerns which the individual believes is currently happening in the University, took place in the recent past or is likely to happen in the future to be disclosed under this Policy may include, but is not limited to:
- criminal activity;
- a failure to comply with any legal obligation;
- a miscarriage of justice;
- endangering the health or safety of an individual;
- financial or non-financial maladministration, malpractice or fraud (not covered under the University’s Financial Regulations);
- damage to the environment; or
- deliberately concealing information demonstrating that one or more of the above taking place.
3.0 Policy, Procedures and Enforcement
Raising a Concern
(3.1) Where an individual considers that it may be necessary to make a disclosure under this Policy, the disclosure should be made in writing to the University Secretary who may designate an alternative senior officer in the University to deal with the disclosure. The University Secretary or senior officer considering a disclosure is referred to as the “Designated Person”. If a disclosure involves or implicates the University Secretary, the disclosure should be made to the Chief Operating Officer.
(3.2) Disclosures should be raised promptly so that they can be considered in a timely manner.
(3.3) An individual should make it clear that they are raising their concern under this Policy and they should provide sufficient information and detail to allow the concern to be meaningfully considered by the Designated Person.
(3.4) All disclosures under this Policy will be treated in a sensitive and, where possible, confidential manner. If required, the identity of the individual making the disclosure will be kept confidential for as long as possible, provided that this is compatible with an effective investigation. The investigation process may have to reveal the identity of the individual making the disclosure and that individual may be asked to make a statement or attend an investigatory meeting as part of the process.
(3.5) Individuals making a disclosure are expected to identify themselves; as disclosures raised anonymously can be significantly more difficult to address effectively. The University will not normally consider anonymous disclosures. However, the University may investigate anonymous disclosures taking into account the seriousness of the issue, the credibility of the concern, any prejudice to those named in an anonymous disclosure and the likelihood of being able to investigate the matter and confirm the allegation from alternative sources.
The University’s Response to a Disclosure
(3.6) The Designated Person will acknowledge receipt of the disclosure and will consider whether the matters disclosed provide sufficient grounds for proceeding further. The Designated Person may bring the disclosure to the attention of the Vice-Chancellor, Chair of Council, Director of HR and the Chair of Audit Committee.
(3.7) If the Designated Person does not have sufficient information to determine whether or how the matter should proceed, they may appoint an Investigating Manager to undertake a brief preliminary investigation to ascertain whether there is a prima facie case to be considered further under this Policy. The outcome of the brief investigation will be reported to the Designated Person (normally within 21 days) who will then decide on appropriate next steps.
(3.8) Following consideration of the disclosure (and any preliminary investigation which may have been conducted), the Designated Person may:
- Determine that a substantive investigation should be conducted in accordance with the process outlined below;
- Decide that the matter should be considered under a different University policy, such as disciplinary or grievance procedures. The individual will be advised of this decision and the disclosure will be referred to an appropriate manager to take any relevant further action;
- Refer the matter to an appropriate body external to the University, for example the police;
- Determine that no further action should be taken and the Designated Person will inform the individual of this decision.
(3.9) In cases where the Designated Person considers that a substantive investigation should be conducted, they will appoint an Investigating Manager to conduct this investigation.
(3.10) The Investigating Manager will be chosen based on the nature of the disclosure. The Investigating Manager must not be a person who would make decisions based on the outcomes of the investigation or who may be involved in other processes which may be invoked as an outcome of any investigation under this Policy.
(3.11) The scope of the investigation will be determined by the Investigating Manager.
(3.12) Investigations will be conducted as quickly as possible, whilst having regard to the nature and complexity of the disclosure.
(3.13) When an allegation is made against a "named individual", the named individual will normally be informed of the allegation and of any supporting evidence and they may be given a right to respond to any allegations. The point at which this may occur will depend on the specific nature of the case. The University’s duty of care to staff extends to the named individual during the investigation and particularly in the case of a vexatious claim.
(3.14) The Investigating Manager may interview and/or seek a written statement from the individual who made the disclosure and any other individuals who they consider to be relevant to the investigation including anyone named in the disclosure. Any individual being interviewed under this Policy may be accompanied to an investigatory meeting by a colleague or trade union representative. A refusal to participate in an investigatory meeting may lead to disciplinary action.
(3.15) Anyone found to have deterred an individual from raising a serious concern will be treated as having committed a serious disciplinary offence.
(3.16) When the Investigating Manager has concluded the investigation they will provide a report with their findings to the Designated Person. Thereafter the Designated Person will determine what action, if any, should be taken in the circumstances. This may include the initiation of alternative University procedures, reference to an external third party or no further action.
(3.17) The outcome of any investigation may be reported, as appropriate, to the Vice-Chancellor, the Chair of Council, the Director of Human Resources and the Chair of Audit Committee. The individual who made the disclosure may be told the outcome of an investigation but the investigation report may not be shared with them.
(3.18) An individual making a disclosure or an individual named in a disclosure has no right of appeal on either the outcome of any investigation undertaken or any decisions of the Designated Person.
(3.19) A disclosure that is not pursued further or confirmed by an investigation, will not lead to any action, penalty or detriment against the individual making the disclosure. However, an individual who maliciously makes false allegations/misuses this Policy may be subject to disciplinary or other appropriate action.
(3.20) All concerns raised and action taken in response to any disclosures under this Policy, including a copy of any investigation reports, will be retained by the Designated Person for 5 years. An annual report of disclosures which have been made under this Policy will be compiled by the Designated Person and submitted to Council, the Director of Human Resources and the Chair of Audit Committee.
4.0 Equality and Diversity
(4.1) This policy has been designed to ensure that no-one receives less favourable treatment due to protected characteristics.
5.0 Related Information
- For confidential advice on how to effectively raise a concern contact Protect: Tel: 020 3117 2520; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Web: www.protect-advice.org.uk
- Financial Regulations: https://www.dur.ac.uk/treasurer/financial_regulations/
- Disciplinary Regulations: https://www.dur.ac.uk/hr/policies/disciplinary/
- Grievance Regulations: https://www.dur.ac.uk/hr/policies/grievance/
6.0 Version Control
Approval date: 09/05/2018
Approved by: Council
Contact for further information: University Assurance Service
Sexual Violence and Misconduct Policy
(1.1) Durham University recognises that incidents of Sexual Violence and Misconduct occur within the University, and acknowledges that there has been a noticeable increase in the number of incidents disclosed by the student community; a trend reflected across the Higher Education sector and beyond. The University acknowledges that Sexual Violence and Misconduct can be experienced by any individual, regardless of sex, gender, sexual orientation, relationship status, age, disability, faith, ethnicity, nationality and economic status. The University is committed to promoting a culture in which any incidents of Sexual Violence and Misconduct will not be tolerated, and will be thoroughly addressed to ensure the preservation of a safe work and study environment.
(2.1) Durham University holds the following set of Principles to reflect the University’s commitment to establishing a culture of support and respect. All members of Durham University have a responsibility for upholding the Principles that are as follows:
- We will treat all members of our community with dignity and respect at all times, and it is expected that all members of our community will share in this responsibility for creating and sustaining an environment which upholds the dignity of all.
- We recognise the significant impact of all experiences of Sexual Violence and Misconduct, and acknowledge the potential detriment to studies and employment, regardless of when the experience occurred.
- We strive to maintain equality and diversity within our community, and will work to sustain an equal and safe environment in which a culture of prevention will be promoted through appropriate and consistently applied education and training.
- We will actively respond to all Reports of Sexual Violence and Misconduct and, whilst recognising that some experiences may constitute a criminal offence, we will ensure that, in all cases, Reports are carefully and thoughtfully addressed by relevant staff members through a process that is transparent and clearly communicated to the individuals involved. We will respect the right of the individual disclosing an experience to choose how to take forward a Disclosure.
- All University staff will have been informed of the Policy and will be trained as appropriate to their roles. All staff involved in the process will act with impartiality and discretion at all times.
- We believe that no person should suffer the effects of Sexual Violence or Misconduct alone, and will ensure that there is dedicated specialist support, including free and accessible counselling for all individuals involved.
- We will work with local partners and key groups to forge positive relationships to support all our work in this area, from prevention to enquiry and post-incident care.
- We are mindful of our civic responsibilities to the wider community.
- In addressing experiences and working with both internal and external experts, we will seek to learn from experience, enabling the University to both shape and respond to national and international policy and practice, and to provide regular assurance to Council, Senate, the University Executive Committee and the wider University community, that specific incidents and broader cultural issues are appropriately captured and addressed.
(3.1) This Policy relates to all incidents of Sexual Violence and Misconduct, as well as vexatious and malicious reporting, complicity, and retaliation as defined below. Under this Policy all students and staff members who have experienced Sexual Violence and Misconduct will have equality of access to both internal and external specialist support (e.g. Sexual Assault Referral Centre and Rape Crisis), regardless of when the experiences occurred. The accompanying procedure to this Policy relates specifically to those experiences which have occurred during the course of study at the University, in which the Accused Party is a current student of the University. Disclosures and Reports made under this Policy are not limited to University premises or the immediate geography of the University.
(3.2) This Policy should be read in conjunction with the Durham University Safeguarding Children Policy and the Durham University Safeguarding Adults at Risk Policy.
(3.3) Sexual Violence and Misconduct includes a broad spectrum of sexual behaviour. Examples of the types of behaviour that will constitute a violation of this Policy are set out below. Reports of such behaviour will be considered by the University under its internal disciplinary regulations including, in particular, the Procedure for Dealing with Student Cases of Sexual Violence and Misconduct and General Regulation IV: Discipline. Some incidents of Sexual Violence and Misconduct may also constitute a criminal offence under English law. Such incidents may be addressed through criminal proceedings, internal disciplinary proceedings, or, in some cases, both criminal and internal proceedings.
(3.4) A list of definitions is provided below to clarify the exact scope of the Policy.
The definitions below have been separated into explanations of the types of behaviour captured under this Policy, clarification of the terminology used within the Policy and additional Policy violations.
1. Type of Behaviour
For the purposes of this Policy and the accompanying procedure, Sexual Violence and Misconduct is defined as any unwanted conduct of a sexual nature which occurred in person or by letter, telephone, text, email or other electronic and/or social media and includes, but is not limited to, the following behaviour:
- Engaging, or attempting to engage in a sexual act with another individual without consent;
- Sexually touching another person without their consent;
- Conduct of a sexual nature which creates (or could create) an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating, or offensive environment for others including making unwanted remarks of a sexual nature;
- Inappropriately showing sexual organs to another person;
- Repeatedly following another person without good reason;
- Recording and/or sharing intimate images or recordings of another person without their consent; and
- Arranging or participating in events aimed at degrading or humiliating those who have experienced sexual violence, for example inappropriately themed social events or initiations.
Reporting Party is, for the purposes of this Policy and the accompanying procedure, the person(s) who has been the subject of the alleged incident of Sexual Violence and Misconduct.
Accused Party is, for the purposes of this Policy and the accompanying procedure, the person(s) whose behaviour it is alleged amounted to an incident of Sexual Violence and Misconduct.
Consent is the agreement to participate in a sexual act where the individual has both the freedom and capacity to make that decision. Consent cannot be assumed on the basis of a previous sexual experience or previously given consent, or from the absence of complaint, and each new sexual act requires a re-confirmation of consent as the foundation of a healthy and respectful sexual relationship. Consent may be withdrawn at any time.
· Freedom to consent: For consent to be present, the individual has to freely engage in a sexual act. Consent cannot be inferred from a lack of verbal or physical resistance. Consent is not present when submission by an unwilling participant results from the exploitation of power, or coercion or force.
- Coercion or Force includes any physical or emotional harm or threat of physical or emotional harm which would reasonably place an individual in fear of immediate or future harm, with the result that the individual is compelled to engage in a sexual act.
- Capacity to consent: Free consent cannot be given if the individual does not have the capacity to give consent. Incapacitation may occur when an individual is asleep, unconscious, semi-conscious, or in a state of intermittent consciousness, or any other state of unawareness that a sexual act may be occurring. Incapacitation may also occur on account of a mental or developmental disability, or as the result of alcohol or drug use.
- Alcohol and/or Drug Use: Incapacitation arising from alcohol or drug consumption should be evaluated on the basis of how the alcohol/drugs have affected the individual; signs of incapacitation may include, but are not limited to, one or more of the following: slurred speech, unsteady gait, bloodshot eyes, dilated pupils, unusual behaviour, blacking out, a lack of full control over physical movements, a lack of awareness of circumstances or surroundings, and/or an inability to communicate effectively. Intoxication is never a defence for committing an act of Sexual Violence and Misconduct, or for failing to obtain consent. If there is any doubt as to the level or extent of one’s own or the other individual’s incapacitation, the safest approach is to not engage in a sexual act.
Confidentiality will be maintained, where possible, throughout the Disclosure, Reporting and investigative processes in recognition of the sensitive nature of Sexual Violence and Misconduct matters. As such, information will usually only be shared with relevant individuals/entities (who may be internal or external to the University, e.g. internal counsellors, witnesses, external experts from specialist agencies like Rape Crisis, Sexual Assault Referral Centres or the Police) with the agreement of the Reporting Party. The University reserves the right, and may be under an obligation, to share information in exceptional circumstances where such disclosure is necessary to protect any individual or the wider University community from harm or to prevent a crime from taking place. All individuals involved in any process under this Policy must keep information that is disclosed to them as part of the process confidential. Any unauthorised disclosure of confidential information will be considered a Policy violation and will be addressed accordingly. Throughout all proceedings, the University will act in compliance with the Data Protection Act 1998.
Disclosure, for the purposes of this Policy and the accompanying procedure, involves an individual choosing to tell anyone who is part of the University about their experience of Sexual Violence and Misconduct (different from Report).
Report is the sharing of information with a staff member of the University regarding an incident of Sexual Violence and Misconduct experienced by that individual for the purposes of initiating the investigation process set out in this Policy and the accompanying procedure (different from Disclosure).
3. Other Policy Violations
The University recognises that there are potentially additional types of behaviour that will constitute a violation of this Policy and which will therefore need to be considered under the relevant internal disciplinary regulations, although the frequency and likelihood of such offences are likely to be low:
· Vexatious reporting involves the creation of persistent, unwarranted reports of Sexual Violence and Misconduct, or a refusal to accept any reasonable decisions arising from the application of the accompanying procedure to this Policy.
· Malicious reporting occurs when an individual shares allegations of Sexual Violence and Misconduct that the individual knows to lack a basis in fact.
· Complicity is any act that knowingly helps, promotes, or encourages any form of Sexual Violence and Misconduct by another individual.
· Retaliation may constitute any words or actions, including intimidation, threats, or coercion, made in response to disclosures or reports of Sexual Violence and Misconduct, by any individual including both the Accused Party and the Reporting Party, as well as witnesses, friends, or relatives.
Sexual Violence and Misconduct Policy Procedure
1.1. This procedure sets out how the University will deal with incidents of Sexual Violence and Misconduct against student members of the University community. The procedure is part of the University’s Sexual Violence and Misconduct Policy and should be read in conjunction with that Policy.
2.1. This procedure applies to all alleged incidents of Sexual Violence and Misconduct between the University's students. It does not cover incidents of non-sexual harassment as the University has a separate policy (Respect at Study Policy and Code of Practice) in relation to those matters. If a conflict arises between this procedure and any other procedures of the University, then the Lead Sexual Violence and Misconduct Officer ("LSVMO") shall determine which procedure will be used. In the event that the Reporting Party is a member of staff or contractor of the University and the Accused Party is a student, this procedure will apply. In the event that the Accused Party is a member of staff or contractor of the University, action may be taken in accordance with the appropriate Human Resources process.
2.2. If a decision is taken not to deal with a case under this procedure then the Reporting Party can request a review of that decision in accordance with the review process set out in paragraph 11 below.
3. Management of this procedure
3.1 The LSVMO is responsible for the application of the procedure. The day-to-day management of the procedure will be overseen by the Academic Support Office. The key staff contacts are the Student Support and Training Officer (Sexual Violence & Misconduct), Assistant Registrar (Appeals, Complaints & Discipline) and the Deputy Academic Registrar (who is the Deputy Lead Sexual Violence and Misconduct Officer ("DLSVMO")).
4. Police investigations and judicial proceedings
4.1 This procedure is designed to support the Reporting Party to disclose incidents of Sexual Violence and Misconduct to the University, and to support the Reporting Party when they choose and assess the course of action that is most appropriate for them.
4.2 Where a criminal investigation or judicial proceedings are ongoing or are likely to commence in respect of a Disclosure, the University will not investigate a Report of Sexual Violence and Misconduct and will suspend an ongoing investigation but will undertake any necessary precautionary action (see paragraphs 7.8 and 8.5 below).
4.3 Reports under this procedure of alleged incidents of Sexual Violence and Misconduct will be considered at an Initial Review Meeting ("IRM"), (see paragraph 8), including situations where the Reporting Party chooses not to report the matter to the Police. An IRM will also be called after the conclusion of a criminal investigation or judicial proceedings. A decision by the Police or Crown Prosecution Service (or other law enforcement agency) to take no further action in relation to a criminal matter or an acquittal at a trial does not preclude the University from taking action under this procedure and does not mean the Reporting Party has made a vexatious or malicious complaint.
4.4 In all cases, the University will advise the Reporting Party that it does not have the legal investigatory powers of the Police, and cannot make a determination on criminal guilt. An internal investigation is focussed exclusively on whether a breach of the University’s Sexual Violence and Misconduct Policy has occurred. The internal process cannot therefore be regarded as a substitute for a Police investigation or criminal prosecution.
4.5 Where a student has been convicted of a criminal offence or accepts a Police caution in relation to behaviour that falls within the scope of the University’s Sexual Violence and Misconduct Policy, the conviction/caution will be taken as conclusive evidence that the behaviour took place and no further investigation shall be required by the University. The case will be referred by the DLSVMO to the Deputy or Chair of the Senate Discipline Committee as an allegation of a major offence under General Regulations IV.
5.1 The University is committed to providing support for those members of its community affected by these issues. The University will provide information on support resources available and offer interim measures as appropriate to the Reporting Party, Accused Party, and witnesses involved in alleged incidents of Sexual Violence and Misconduct. Support resources are available to any member of the University who discloses an incident regardless of their choice to make a Report to the University or Police. Support provided to the Reporting Party and Accused Party will be separate; one member of staff will not provide support to both parties. The Reporting Party will be signposted to the Sexual Assault Referral Centre if appropriate (See paragraph 7.4). The support available is set out at: www.dur.ac.uk/sexualviolence/getsupport/.
6.1 The University will maintain a central record of incidents to effectively engage in prevention and response initiatives. The Student Support and Training Officer (Sexual Violence & Misconduct) will keep a record of Disclosures of alleged Sexual Violence and Misconduct incidents, including anonymous Disclosures. The LSVMO will ensure that the University Executive Committee, Audit Committee, Senate and Council are regularly provided with anonymised data concerning the cases that are dealt with under this procedure.
Section 2: Procedure
7. Disclosures and Reporting
7.1 Disclosure and Reporting are separate actions that the Reporting Party may choose to take. The University recognises the importance of minimising the number of times the Reporting Party has to disclose an incident of Sexual Violence and Misconduct.
7.2 The process below will be initiated following receipt by the University of a Disclosure of an alleged incident of Sexual Violence and Misconduct. The Disclosure may be received in a variety of ways and may not necessarily be brought forward by the Reporting Party.
7.3 A Disclosure may relate to an Accused Party who is or is not a member of the University community. A Disclosure does not automatically result in a Report to the University being made under the Sexual Violence and Misconduct Policy. The University respects the right of the Reporting Party to choose how to take forward a Disclosure. Following a Disclosure, the Reporting Party will be given their reporting options along with information on resources for specialist support (See paragraphs 5.1 and 7.4). The University recognises that the Reporting Party may require time and reflection before making a decision. The Reporting Party will be given the option and support to do one or more of the following:
- report to the Police;
- make a Report to the University under the University’s Sexual Violence and Misconduct Policy;
- make no report of the incident; and/or
- receive advice on the support that is available.
7.4 Staff will signpost anyone who discloses they have been targeted by someone engaging, or attempting to engage in a sexual act without the Reporting Party’s consent or sexually touching the Reporting Party without their consent to the local Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) so that they may access services provided. This will also allow the Reporting Party to make an anonymous report and have evidence stored while they choose if they want to report to the Police. Staff will signpost the Reporting Party to information from the Sexual Assault Referral Centre on how to preserve evidence. Staff can make a referral to the SARC on behalf of the Reporting Party with their agreement.
7.5 Staff who receive a Disclosure that may amount to a breach of the Sexual Violence and Misconduct Policy must inform their Head of Department, Head of College, or Head of Division as soon as practicable that they have received a Disclosure. They may, if the Reporting party requests, omit the name of the Reporting and/or Accused Party. The Head of Department, Head of College, or Head of Division must ensure that Disclosures of incidents of Sexual Violence and Misconduct are passed to the Student Support and Training Officer (Sexual Violence & Misconduct) or to the DLSVMO in their absence. The Disclosure may, if the Reporting party requests, omit the name of the Reporting and/or Accused Party.
7.6 The Reporting Party may choose to make a Report to the University under the Sexual Violence and Misconduct Policy with the intention of the University initiating the investigation process set out in this Policy. To make a Report to the University, the Reporting Party may submit a written statement of the allegation to the Student Support and Training Officer (Sexual Violence & Misconduct) indicating the Accused Party and any witnesses. Alternative Reporting options may be available and the Reporting Party may request this information from the member of staff to whom they disclosed the incident of Sexual Violence and Misconduct. If the Reporting Party is unwilling for the Accused Party to be informed of the allegation against them, the investigation cannot proceed.
7.7 Following receipt of a Report to the University or Police, the DLSVMO will instruct the Academic Support Office to organise an Initial Review Meeting ("IRM") as soon as practicable.
7.8 Pending the IRM, the Head of Department, Head of College, or Head of Division shall take such steps as may be necessary to:
- ensure that the students involved receive appropriate academic and pastoral support;
- safeguard the health, safety and welfare of members of the University community;
- ensure that confidentiality is maintained as appropriate.
7.9 The decision to launch a formal investigation into the alleged incident can only be made at the IRM if supported/requested by the Reporting Party, and staff must not attempt to investigate the incident or inform the Accused Party or any other student of the Report or Disclosure.
8. Responding to a Report and Initial Review Meeting
8.1 The IRM will be chaired by the DLSVMO (or their delegate in their absence). The purpose of an IRM is to assess support needs, consider how to protect the interests of all parties and members of the University community who may be affected by the case and to agree next steps (the alleged incident will not be investigated at the IRM).
8.2 The membership of the IRM will depend upon the nature of the alleged incident and will be determined by the DLSVMO (or their delegate in their absence). The membership may include, as a minimum:
- The Director of the Counselling Service (or their nominee);
- The Student Support and Training Officer (Sexual Violence & Misconduct) (or their nominee);
- A senior representative from the Colleges of the student/s named in the report;
- A senior representative of the Academic Departments of the student/s named in the report.
8.3 In addition, consideration will be given to the inclusion of external stakeholders who are actively involved in supporting the student/s affected or who can make a contribution to the purpose of the IRM. This may include, but is not limited to representatives from a Sexual Assault Referral Centre, the Rape and Sexual Abuse Counselling Centre or the Safeguarding Manager based within the local Police force.
8.4 In determining the membership of the IRM, the DLSVMO will ensure that University members of the IRM have received appropriate training. The gender composition of the IRM will be taken into account.
8.5 During the IRM, the members will:
- Consider the academic, welfare and support needs of the Reporting Party and of the Accused Party and of any other members of the University community directly involved in the alleged incident and identify any actions required to ensure that those needs are met;
- Undertake a risk assessment in order to determine whether any precautionary measures need to be put in place in order to:
- ensure that a full and proper investigation can be carried out (either by the police or University) and/or
- protect the Reporting Party or others whilst the allegation is being dealt with as part of a criminal process or disciplinary process.
- Precautionary measures may include:
- imposing conditions on the Accused Party (for example, requiring the Accused Party not to contact certain witnesses or requiring the Accused Party to move accommodation or prohibiting the Accused Party from going to certain places within the University at certain times of the day); or
- suspending the Accused Party (in which case General Regulation VI: Suspension will apply)
- Identify the members of staff within the University with responsibility for supporting the Reporting Party and Accused Party and, where appropriate, inform them of the outcome of the IRM;
- Ensure that arrangements are in place to maintain confidentiality as appropriate;
- Review the involvement of external agencies (e.g. Sexual Assault Referral Centre and the Police);
- Decide/make recommendations about what the next steps should be and determine how to carry forward the decisions and/or recommendations that are made;
- Consider any other actions relevant to the alleged incident.
8.6 Actions arising out of the IRM may include (but are not limited to):
- The provision of further or different support to the students involved. The support measures may relate to academic, housing, finance, health and well-being matters.
- The imposition of precautionary conditions on the Accused Student pending the outcome of the criminal and/or disciplinary process;
- A recommendation to the Academic Registrar that a suspension be imposed on the Accused Student (under General Regulation VI) pending the outcome of criminal investigations/proceedings and/or internal investigations/disciplinary proceedings.
- A recommendation to the LSVMO that the alleged incident be investigated under this procedure;
- Appropriate communication with the parties involved;
- Collection of further information necessary to inform future management of the situation;
- A recommendation to the LSVMO that an investigation into an alleged incident that has already commenced under paragraph 10 should be suspended or terminated.
8.7 The Academic Support Office will be responsible for ensuring that any decisions or recommendations made at the IRM are recorded and acted upon.
8.8 The risk assessment and any precautionary measures that are put in place will be reviewed regularly and amended as appropriate. Additional review meetings may be convened by the DLSVMO as they believe necessary.
8.9 Where either the IRM or the LSVMO determines that an alleged incident should not be considered under this procedure, the Academic Support Office/LSVMO shall provide the Reporting Party with written reasons for the determination and information about their right to seek a review or challenge the decision.
9. Investigating a report under this procedure
9.1 Where the IRM recommends that a Report of an alleged incident of Sexual Violence and Misconduct should be investigated under this procedure and the LSVMO agrees with that recommendation, the following process will apply.
9.2 The LSVMO will appoint two investigating officers who have been trained in understanding Sexual Violence and Misconduct who will be designated as Authorised University Officers under the University’s General Regulations. One of the Investigating Officers will be identified by the LVSMO as the lead investigator. The investigators will seek to gather evidence as to whether or not a breach of the University’s Sexual Violence and Misconduct Policy has occurred. The investigation will be supported by the Academic Support Office.
9.3 Investigating Officers will act promptly and tactfully, observing appropriate levels of confidentiality at all times. Investigating Officers will take appropriate measures to provide a safe, comfortable and supportive environment in which to discuss the alleged incident with the Reporting Party, Accused Party and any witnesses. Investigating Officers may consult external parties to seek specialist advice as required while maintaining confidentiality.
9.4 Before the investigation begins the Reporting Party will be asked to attend an initial meeting during which the procedure to be followed will be explained and the details of the allegation will be confirmed. If the Reporting Party is unwilling for the Accused Party to be informed of the allegation against them, the investigation cannot proceed. A note of the initial meeting will be sent to the Reporting Party who will be asked to confirm whether it is an accurate summary of the discussion.
9.5 Following the initial meeting with the Reporting Party, an investigation will be undertaken as quickly as possible and will normally begin within 5 working days of that meeting. All parties involved will be expected to maintain appropriate levels of confidentiality. The Reporting Party and Accused Party will be informed that they must not make any contact with each other during the course of the investigation unless otherwise instructed by the Investigating Officers.
9.6 The Reporting Party and any potential witnesses will be required to attend an investigation meeting with the Investigating Officers. Students may be accompanied by a member of the University community such as a member of staff, Students’ Union representative or a fellow student or a member of a specialist external agency such as the Sexual Assault Referral Centre or Rape Crisis.
9.7 The Accused Party will receive written notification of the allegation made against them, informed of the procedure being followed and asked to attend a meeting with the Investigating Officers. Students may be accompanied by a member of the University community such as a member of staff, Students’ Union representative or a fellow student. During this meeting the procedure will be explained and the details of the allegation against them will be confirmed. The Accused Party will be given a full and fair opportunity to explain or present their version of events in response to the allegation.
9.8 In all investigatory meetings, notes will be made and the interviewee will be asked to confirm that it is an accurate summary of the discussion. The interviewee may make any written comments about any section of the notes that they do not agree with. Copies of the confirmed notes, with any comments, will be retained by both the interviewee and the Investigating Officers.
9.9 The Investigating Officers may hold additional meetings or consult with additional parties as necessary to obtain relevant information and evidence.
9.10 The Investigating Officers may either:
- decide that no further action is required (for example, because there is no evidence that the alleged incident took place) - in such an instance the case will be dismissed and no disciplinary action will be taken; or
- decide that further action is required.
10. Major or non-major breach of the Sexual Violence and Misconduct Policy
10.1 If the Investigating Officers determine that further action is required, they will decide whether the alleged incident, if proven, would constitute a breach of the Sexual Violence and Misconduct Policy and, if so, whether it should be treated as a non-major or major offence under General Regulation IV: Discipline.
10.2 The nature of the alleged misconduct, the evidence of the alleged misconduct and any mitigation present in the case will be taken into account when determining whether the case will be classified as a potential breach of the Sexual Violence and Misconduct Policy and a non-major or major offence under General Regulation IV: Discipline. A list of the types of behaviour which may be considered to constitute a non-major breach and a list of the types of behaviour which may be considered to constitute a major breach is set out below. The lists are illustrative only and are not exhaustive.
10.3 Under General Regulation IV, breaches of the Sexual Violence and Misconduct Policy that would constitute a non-major offence include:
- kissing another person on the hand or cheek without consent where there is no element of force or other harassment behaviours involved;
- a single incident of following another person without good reason where there is no threatening or abusive behaviour involved;
- making a single remark of a sexual nature where there was clearly no intention to cause offence;
- inappropriately showing sexual organs to others where the act is not focused upon any individual.
10.4 Under General Regulation IV, breaches of the Sexual Violence and Misconduct Policy that would constitute a major offence may include:
- engaging or attempting to engage in a sexual act without consent;
- kissing another person without consent where there is any element of force involved;
- touching others inappropriately;
- threatening or abusive behaviour of a sexual nature;
- sharing intimate images or recordings of another person without their consent;
- instances where non-major Sexual Violence and Misconduct is frequent or repeated or the Accused Party fails to comply with disciplinary decisions or sanctions.
10.5 If the Investigating Officers determine that the alleged incident, if proven, would constitute a breach of the Sexual Violence and Misconduct Policy and a non-major offence under General Regulation IV: Discipline and the alleged misconduct is admitted in full by the Accused Party, the Investigating Officers will determine whether it is appropriate to impose a sanction/s on the Accused Party and, if so, decide which sanction/s should be imposed. If the Investigating Officers determine that the alleged incident, if proven, would constitute a non-major offence and the alleged misconduct is not admitted in full by the Accused Party, the Investigating Officers will decide, on the balance of probabilities (it is more likely than not), if misconduct has occurred and, if so, will determine whether it is appropriate to impose a sanction/s on the Accused Party and, if so, decide which sanction/s should be imposed.
10.6 The circumstances and context of each case will be taken into account when determining whether a sanction/s should be imposed and if so, which sanction/s should be imposed and, where relevant, the timeframe for compliance. The following list provides examples of sanctions which may be imposed by the Investigating Officers for a breach of the Sexual Violence and Misconduct Policy which is a non-major offence under General Regulation IV. The list is illustrative and is not exhaustive:
- Undertaking additional training or attend an appointment for counselling.
- A reprimand.
- A requirement to change College membership (with the consent of the relevant Heads of College and the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Colleges and Student Experience).
- A permanent restriction on contact with a named person or person(s).
- A reasonable additional sanction given the nature of the incident (see paragraph 8 (f) of General Regulation IV: Discipline).
10.7 If the Accused Party fails to comply with the sanctions imposed by the Investigating Officers within the time specified they may be considered to be in breach of the ruling and the Investigating Officers may refer the matter to the Chair or Deputy Chair of Senate Discipline Committee as an alleged major offence under the University’s General Regulation IV - Discipline.
10.8 If the Investigating Officers determine that the alleged incident, if proven, would constitute a breach of the Sexual Violence and Misconduct Policy and a major offence under General Regulation IV: Discipline, they should refer the matter to the Chair or Deputy Chair of Senate Discipline Committee as an alleged major offence under paragraph 5 (c) of the University’s General Regulation IV – Discipline.
10.9 The Investigating Officers will write to the Reporting Party, the Accused Party and the LSVMO setting out a brief written decision summarising their findings and considerations which led them to reach their decision.
11. Request for a Review
11.1 If the Reporting Party or the Accused Party is dissatisfied with the outcome of the investigation or they believe the matter has not been handled fairly in accordance with this procedure, they may request a review in writing to the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Education) within 14 days of receipt of the outcome. This review process can be used if a decision is taken not to consider a case under this procedure or if a decision is made to take no further action following an investigation under this procedure or in relation to a decision about alleged misconduct which has been classified as a non-major breach of the Sexual Violence and Misconduct Policy. It cannot be used to challenge the classification of an allegation of misconduct as a non-major or major breach of the Sexual Violence and Misconduct Policy.
11.2 The review request should include details of why the Reporting Party/Accused Party is dissatisfied with the way the case has been handled and demonstrate why this had a substantial, material effect on the Investigating Officers’ decision, or why they believe the outcome is not reasonable together with any supporting documentation.
11.3 The Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Education), or their nominee, may choose to undertake the review if they are independent of the case or will identify a senior officer, independent of the case to undertake the review ("Reviewer").
11.4 The request will be reviewed on the basis of the documentation provided by the student and that held by the Investigating Officers. The Reviewer may seek further information if necessary. If the Reviewer decides that the case was not handled appropriately or the outcome was not reasonable, the Reviewer may take whatever action the Reviewer decides is required. For example, the Reviewer may require a new investigation to take place or make a change to the sanction imposed or change the nature of the disciplinary process/action. If the Reviewer decides that the case has been handled fairly and the outcome is reasonable, the review request will be dismissed.
11.5 If both parties submit a review request a single Reviewer will review both requests. The other party will not be informed that a review request was made, its details or its outcome unless the Reviewer determines it necessary in the circumstances or if the review is upheld and any further action materially affects the other party;
11.6 The party who requested the review will be informed of the outcome of the review request within 28 days of receipt. The decision of the review request is final.
Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education
Once all internal processes have been exhausted, a student can make a complaint to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (OIA) if they remain dissatisfied with the University’s decision. Further information is available on the OIA website: www.oiahe.org.uk.
Student Alcohol Awareness and Use Policy
The purpose of this policy is to outline the University’s position on alcohol consumption and related issues amongst the student body.
(2) Policy Statement
The University recognises that moderate consumption of alcohol can be an enjoyable part of socialising and has no wish to discourage sensible and responsible drinking. However, the University is concerned to make all students aware of the harmful effects of alcohol, particularly as they relate to health, behaviour, safety, and academic performance, and to establish guidelines for its proper use. The University also considers it important to encourage a social life that respects those who choose not to drink alcohol. Overall the University aims to provide a supportive environment which encourages a culture of self-regulation and a respect and care for others.
The University is committed to achieving the following objectives:
(3.1) to promote a clear and consistent message which advocates responsible alcohol use at Durham University sanctioned events and activities, and more generally;
(3.2) to improve awareness of the impact of alcohol and the health risks associated with consumption;
(3.3) to promote personal responsibility for alcohol consumption and care and support in relation to that of others;
(3.4) to provide a safe environment for all Durham University sanctioned events and activities that mitigates the risks and reduces the vulnerabilities related to the consumption of alcohol;
(3.5) to provide an atmosphere free from pressure to drink for those who choose not to drink alcohol;
(3.6) to offer a balanced social programme with choice and alternatives to drinking alcohol;
(3.7) to offer appropriate help and support to those who experience problems related to their consumption of alcohol;
(3.8) to provide appropriate support for those affected by the alcohol-related behaviour and problems of others;
(3.9) to ensure that University strategies and procedures in this area are consistent with those of appropriate external agencies such as the Government, Students’ Union, external support agencies and community stakeholders;
(3.10) to have clear, appropriate and integrated procedures to deal with problems arising from alcohol use which are both supportive and disciplinary as appropriate;
(3.11) to challenge behaviours in relation to alcohol consumption where these are identified as posing a risk, for example pre-loading;
(3.12) to identify, monitor and reduce alcohol-related incidents in so far as they affect our student body.
The implementation of this policy, through a supporting annual action plan, is overseen by the University Executive Committee Lead on Alcohol, the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Colleges and Student Experience). The objectives (above) will be implemented through:
(4.1) the dissemination of the Policy on Student Alcohol Use and Awareness to all members of the University community;
(4.2) clear statements on alcohol which can be used in all University publications, including materials for recruitment, induction and progressing students;
(4.3) the organisation of educational information, campaigns and events to raise awareness of alcohol together with the behavioural and health risks associated with excessive consumption, and to promote individual and collective responsibility for alcohol consumption; these should be delivered throughout the year and directed at all students through integrated delivery from appropriate sections of the University together with the Students’ Union;
(4.4) the promotion of Durham University sanctioned events which are inclusive; all events will provide cheaply priced or free non-alcoholic refreshments, or will not involve any alcohol;
(4.5) University policy not to sanction any events or activities which encourage inappropriate and excessive consumption of alcohol such as drinking games, and a zero tolerance approach towards initiation ceremonies;
(4.6) the consideration of the appropriateness and inclusiveness of sponsorship from outlets that retail alcohol;
(4.7) the provision of appropriate and accessible advice and signposting for all students who experience problems related to their own alcohol consumption or that of others; through the College Student Support Offices, the Counselling Service, or the Students’ Union Advice and Help Service, and to appropriate specialist external agencies, for example;
(4.8) the provision of regular training for staff and students to improve awareness and develop skills to address alcohol-related problems;
(4.9) regular liaison and meetings with appropriate external agencies and community stakeholders (e.g. Health Services, Local Authority, Police, specialist agencies, Residents’ Associations);
(4.10) where appropriate, the effective use of the disciplinary procedures in response to allegations of alcohol-related misconduct;
(4.11) the assessment of risks associated with alcohol consumption at all Durham University sanctioned events and activities for students, and the implementation of appropriate mitigation to address the vulnerabilities created by drinking alcohol;
(4.12) the consumption of alcohol during normal working hours only occurring on special occasions, such as presentations, or seasonal gatherings, and with the prior permission of the appropriate Head of College, Department or Section; on such occasions the provision of alcohol should be moderate and suitable non-alcoholic alternatives made available;
(4.13) the monitoring of alcohol-related incidents at all Durham University sanctioned events;
(4.14) the regular review of the policy, associated procedures and annual action plan, including input from student representatives.
The University Executive Committee Lead on Alcohol, the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Colleges and Student Experience), has oversight of and responsibility for the Policy on Alcohol Awareness and Use and associated annual action plan.
The University is a caring community committed to promoting the wellbeing of its members and supporting those who wish to address problems.
We provide appropriate help and advice for students who wish to address issues arising from their own alcohol use, and also provide appropriate help and advice for those adversely affected by the alcohol-related behaviour and problems of others.
Excessive drinking can be the first outward sign that an individual needs help. Students can seek advice from their College Student Support Office, from the Counselling Service or from the Students’ Union Advice and Help Service, and will be signposted and assisted to access appropriate external specialist agencies.
As well as offering appointments, the Counselling Service also provides electronic sources of support available through the service website: www.durham.ac.uk/counselling.service/.
The University, through all appropriate sections and together with the Students’ Union, provides regular education and publicity to raise awareness of the health and other risks associated with the misuse of alcohol and to promote responsible alcohol consumption to all members.
(8) Ticketed Events and Activities
Tickets sold for all Durham University sanctioned student events and activities, whether taking place within or outside the University, will always provide a ticket option which does not include any alcohol at all, and if alcohol is included in a ticket price then the amount shall not exceed three units.
(9) College Bars
College bars are not merely outlets for alcohol. They provide inclusive social space for college communities and are the focus of a wide range of events and activities that may or may not include alcohol. College bars are safe and supportive environments.
All college bars conform to standard operating procedures.
Colleges have Designated Premises Supervisors and permanent managers are responsible for the operation of the bars. Permanent managers and key student members complete the BIIAB Level 2 Award for Personal Licence Holders along with other relevant training.
A minimum pricing policy is in operation and is reviewed annually. No promotions which encourage the purchase of alcohol through giveaways or reduced prices are permitted.
All college bars are accredited by the Best Bar None Scheme which includes annual inspections. The bars of Durham City colleges are also members of the Durham City Pub watch.
(10) Community Liaison
The University is committed to working in partnership with community stakeholders (Emergency Services, Local Authority, Residents’ Associations etc.) and regularly liaises to share views on best practice regarding the problems associated with alcohol consumption and to take action where this is identified as being necessary.
(11) University Regulations
The University recognises that, regrettably, excessive consumption of alcohol is a common factor when dealing with student misconduct. Consequently the University regulations.
apply in respect of any alleged misconduct, including misconduct which is a consequence of alcohol use. Being under the influence of alcohol is not an excuse for misconduct, offensive, abusive or illegal behaviour, and may be regarded as an aggravating feature. The application of disciplinary procedures always includes the provision of appropriate support.
(12) University Staff
It is the responsibility of all University staff to promote safe, sensible and responsible alcohol use and to signpost and assist those students who wish to access support for problems arising from alcohol use. The University will provide appropriate training and sources of advice.
(13) Monitoring and Review
This policy and the achievement of its objectives through the annual action plan will be reviewed annually by the University Executive Committee Lead on Alcohol, the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Colleges and Student Experience). This review will include receipt of data collected to monitor incidents related to the consumption of alcohol and the use of support services provided to address alcohol-related issues.
Trans and Intersex Inclusion Policy (wef 2018/19 AY)
(1.1) Durham University acknowledges the specific barriers to participation faced by transgender and intersex individuals in sports, music, theatre and volunteering and aims to combat these to ensure that all students and staff are able to access the opportunities facilitated by the University through Experience Durham and our colleges.
(1.2) We further acknowledge those particular barriers to participation faced by transgender and intersex athletes, such as lack of an inclusive and comfortable environment and lack of inclusive facilities and through this document aims to set forth our specific policy relevant to sporting activities within Team Durham. Team Durham is affiliated to various national governing bodies (NGB) of sport and British Universities and College Sport (BUCS) which is the NGB for Higher Education (HE) sport in the UK. These bodies regulate training and competition, regionally, nationally and internationally and, as such, members are required to abide by these regulations. Regulations vary widely from sport to sport and also competition type.
(2.1) Definition of transgender (trans):
- Trans is an umbrella term used to describe people whose sense of personal identity and gender does not correspond with the sex they were assigned at birth, including but not limited to those who are transgender, transsexual, and non-binary.
(2.2) Definition of intersex:
- ‘Intersex’ is a general term used for approximately 300 medical conditions in which an individual’s reproductive or sexual anatomy does not fit that which is typically considered ‘male’ or ‘female’.
3.0 Policy Statement of Inclusion
(3.1) We are committed to encouraging higher levels of participation in extra-curricular activities from all students and staff and are dedicated to upholding the highest standards of equality and inclusivity in all areas of activity.
(3.2) We welcome transgender and intersex students and staff to train with the squad which best fits their gender identity, without requiring evidence of medical transition or hormone levels. In addition, transgender and intersex students are welcome to compete within the collegiate system in the squad which best fits their gender identity, without requiring evidence of medical transition or hormone levels. The current exception to this is Football and Rugby Union, where the associated NGB’s require evidence in the form of hormone tests.
(3.3) In encouraging and welcoming the involvement of LGBTI+ students and staff at Durham University in all Team Durham activities, at the collegiate, national and international level, we commit to:
- maintaining a zero tolerance to LGBTI+-phobia, harassment, or bullying;
- appointing a staff lead within Experience Durham for students and staff to contact for questions and advice;
- having Team Durham participate in annual events to raise awareness of LGBTI+ inclusion in sports and other extracurricular activities in line with national campaigns such as Rainbow Laces;
- annually renewing the Durham Sports Charter;
- engaging with the Durham Students’ Union Trans Association to develop and implement awareness raising and educational campaigns around trans inclusion in sport;
- committing to facilitate inclusion training to College Sports Captains/Chairs/Representatives as well as staff within Experience Durham;
- publicising inclusion policies through the Team Durham website, social media and emails to all students;
- investigating the possibilities of setting up mixed-gender teams in more sporting categories to increase inclusion of non-binary and trans individuals;
- developing internal support mechanisms and ensuring staff are aware of appropriate external and internal services to which they may signpost LGBTI+ students;
- ensuring gender neutral/accessible changing and showering facilities are available within our sport facility, Maiden Castle;
- respecting the confidentiality of all trans staff and students and not revealing information without the prior agreement of the individual;
- providing support for any student or staff athlete wishing to undergo hormone testing.
(3.4) The Head of Student Volunteering and Outreach at Experience Durham is named as the lead staff member for questions or advice on trans inclusion in Experience Durham activities (Contact: email@example.com).
(3.5) This policy is in accordance with and complimentary to the University’s Equality & Diversity Policy https://www.dur.ac.uk/equality.diversity/positiveworking/policies/eanddpolicy/
(3.6) Durham University will ensure this policy remains consistent with national equality law through periodic review of this policy, with the first review taking place in academic year 2018/19, and then every two years going forward. Trans and intersex student representatives from Durham Students’ Union will be engaged in all policy reviews.
4.0 Legal Obligations
Data Protection Act 1998
- Under the Data Protection Act, trans identity and gender reassignment constitute ‘sensitive data’ for the purposes of the legislation. Therefore information relating to a person’s trans status cannot be recorded or passed to another person unless conditions under schedule 3 of the Data Protection Act for processing sensitive personal data are met.
Equality Act 2010
Gender reassignment is one of nine protected characteristics within the Act, and it is also included in the Public Sector Equality Duty. The definition of gender reassignment within the Act gives protection from discrimination to a person who has proposed, started or completed a process to change their gender.
- The Act offers more far-reaching protection from discrimination on the grounds of gender reassignment than previous equality law as it protects:
- trans people who are not under medical supervision;
- people who experience discrimination because they are perceived to be trans;
- people from discrimination by association because of gender reassignment. For example, it would protect the parents of a trans person from being discriminated against because their child is transitioning.
- The Act prohibits unlawful discrimination in providing services and recreational facilities such as denying a trans person from using the facilities of their preferred gender.
Gender Recognition Act 2004
- The Gender Recognition Act allows trans people to be recognised in the opposite binary gender from their sex assigned at birth once they have met a set of requirements, however, medical intervention is not required. This includes people who:
- have, or have had, gender dysphoria
- have lived in the acquired gender for at least two years, ending with the date on which the application is made
- intend to continue to live in the acquired gender for the rest of their life;
- can provide medical reports containing specified information.
- Once a trans person has received a Gender Recognition Certificate they are able to change their birth certificate and are treated as that gender for all purposes.
- A Gender Recognition Certificate exists solely for the purpose of changing one’s birth certificate and the act specifies that it is a criminal offence to request to see a Gender Recognition Certificate for any other means.
5.0 Key Contacts for Signposting and Advice
- LGBT+a Sports Liaison, Welfare Officer, or Trans Association (www.durhamlgbta.org.uk; http://trans.durhamlgbta.org.uk/)
- For information regarding DBS checks for trans and intersex individuals, information can be found at: http://uktrans.info/legislation/72-political-documents/180-disclosure-and-barring-service-dbs-checks-for-transgender-persons-formerly-criminal-records-bureau-crb-checks
- UK Trans can also be emailed about sensitive information in DBS checks at firstname.lastname@example.org. These enquiries will be treated with strict confidentiality.
Further University policies are available from the Policy Zone