Action on bullying

On Wednesday 14 November UCU Branch Officers Dr Bram Mertens, Branch Secretary, and Dr Matt Green, Branch President met with the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Shearer West and Pro Vice-Chancellor for Equality, Diversity & Inclusion, Professor Sarah Sharples.

There is a shared recognition that instances of bullying take place at the University as well as a shared desire to tackle it in a meaningful manner. While the University and the Union approach the issue from slightly different perspectives, the meeting identified considerable common ground and we have agreed to work collaboratively in order to combat bullying wherever it appears across the institution.

Specifically, while governance and management formed part of the broader discussion, both UCU and the University have encountered examples that demonstrate that bullying is multifaceted. We therefore seek to address bullying in all its manifestations, including: peer to peer; manager to staff; staff to manager; student to staff; and staff to student.

  • The University and UCU have agreed the following collaborative actions to tackle bullying:
  • the University and UCU will issue a joint communication to staff, highlighting the impact of bullying and committing all staff to a shared agreement to tackle it;
  • the University and UCU will consult on ways to make the Dignity at Work policy more effective in identifying, reporting and tackling instances of bullying, subsequent to the review of Dignity Advisors and further consultation with all the UoN unions;
  • the University, in consultation with the trades unions, will ensure that appropriate training in holding constructive conversations is part of the new Appraisal Development Conversation performance assessment process which replaces PDPR from May 2019;
  • the University will continue its work reviewing sexual misconduct on- and off-campus, reporting on the types and prevalence of misconduct and action to tackle it;
  • Professor Sharples will consult trades unions as she develops the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion strategic plan, to include consideration of bullying as an EDI issue;
  • together, the University and UCU will work to ensure that appropriate, constructive and civil behaviours are embedded in the development of the next University Strategy, as well as in the everyday practices and processes of the institution.

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