Virtual Staff Advisory Group

The virtual Staff Advisory Group gives all University staff an opportunity to provide feedback on issues that can have an impact on equality and diversity at the University. The aims of the Group are to:

  • Help the EDU engage with a broad range of staff on relevant topics,
  • Provide structured feedback via brief surveys, and
  • Help raise awareness of issues affecting staff in order to inform further engagement and proposals for changes to University policy.

The Group acts as a virtual focus group only and does not hold meetings. Instead, members complete a short online survey on a topic of broad interest each term. The results are published on this webpage and shared with:

  • Members of the virtual Staff Advisory Group and other staff networks via mailing lists,
  • HR Business Partners and the HR Policy Team,
  • Departmental Administrators, and
  • Other parts of the collegiate University as appropriate.

We currently have over 280 members but would welcome more. Taking part won’t take much of your time as there will only be 3 or 4 surveys per year and they will all be very short (ideally 5 questions). We welcome suggestions for new topics too. Please contact Sara Smith if you would like to join the Group or simply click ‘Join Now!’ above.

Survey Results

Survey on promoting equality

The University has a responsibility under the Equality Act 2010 to promote equality and foster good relations between people with different ‘protected characteristics’. The Trinity term 2017 survey invited members of the VSAG to tell us how their department or college tries to achieve these aims and to share their own suggestions with the rest of the University community.

The results highlighted the importance of promoting university policies on equality and harassment to all staff as well as departments’ key role in raising awareness and celebrating diversity. While many departments offered targeted training and tried to take account of people’s different needs, there appeared to be some reluctance to discuss cultural differences.

Respondents suggested many practical ways to increase openness and foster good relations and we would encourage all departments to read the report and consider how they can contribute to promoting equality across the University. 

Read the report for more details:Virtual Staff Advisory Group survey on promoting equality (731kb)

Survey on bullying and harassment

The Michaelmas term 2016 survey asked members of the VSAG who had experienced or witnessed harassment and bullying at work:

  • How they dealt with their experience;

  • What may have prevented them from taking informal or formal action;

  • What might make it easier for them to take action on another occasion; and

  • Whether they had any suggestions for improving the University’s processes.

We received lots of detailed comments and suggestions around the four key themes of communications, training, leadership and timescales for complaints. The report summarises current University activity in these areas, including awareness raising, pilot workshops in Medical Sciences and Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences, new online training materials and a review of the Harassment Policy and Procedure.

See the report for full details: Staff Advisory Group survey on bullying and harassment (442kb)

Survey on hidden disability

The Trinity term 2016 survey was on the impact of hidden disability in the workplace, focusing on:

  • The personal impact on disabled staff members;
  • Colleagues’ perceptions; and
  • How the University can support disabled staff most effectively.

We also shared this survey with members of the Disabled Staff Network and staff in the student Disability Advisory Service in order to ensure as many disabled staff as possible could take part. There were responses from 225 individuals, nearly half of whom were living with a hidden disability or impairment. While the results reflected a broadly positive experience, disabled staff raised a number of concerns, particularly around taking sick leave, working long hours, travel to work and colleagues forgetting to make adjustments.

There was strong support for all the proposals, especially for inclusive office design, flexible working, raising awareness and changes to University culture for the benefit of all staff.

See the report for full details: Staff Advisory Group survey on hidden disability (611kb)

Survey on caring responsibilities

The Hilary term 2016 survey – on the impact of caring responsibilities on staff – achieved an outstanding response rate of 86%. Many staff spoke frankly about the difficulties they experienced juggling their caring responsibilities with their employment, but also about how much they valued the flexibility and support managers could provide.

Read the report for more details: Staff Advisory Group survey on caring responsibilities (523kb)