Over the course of Disability History Month, we will be celebrating how far we have come at Warwick and sharing what we are busy working on to continue to develop an inclusive environment at the University. This page is dedicated to our aspirations and future plans.
Every four years, the University develops their own Equality Objectives to align with the University strategy as well as our duties under the Equality Act 2010 and the Public Sector Equality Duty
“The University’s Social Inclusion Strategy provides the University’s Equality Objectives. We specify four broad objectives and then identify specific priority actions. These will be progressed as we implement our Social Inclusion Strategy working towards 2030. Through this strategy, we aspire to create an inclusive environment and to remove economic, social and cultural barriers that have prevented people from working, studying and succeeding at Warwick.”
The four themes of the Social Inclusion/Equality Objectives 2020-2024 are:
- Increase the diversity of staff and students to maximise creativity & innovation.
- Develop a culture that supports our staff and students to achieve their potential.
- Become an internationally recognised leader in education.
- Develop an inclusive environment on campus.
Objective 4: Develop an Inclusive Environment on Campus, sets out the objective to collaborate with stakeholders to ensure that our buildings/infrastructure and information are inclusive and accessible to all. This comes under the wider Strategic Priority of Inclusion which is within the University’s strategy for Excellence with Purpose. This movement towards an Inclusive Environment is to ensure that all Protected Characteristics as defined by the Equality Act 2010, including disability, are considered. This builds upon the traditional view of “Accessibility”.
Within Objective 4, we have set out 3 areas and the related success measures:
1: CIC Essential Principles for Achieving an Inclusive Environment
- Contribute to building an inclusive society now and in the future.
- Apply professional and responsible judgement and take a leadership role.
- Apply and integrate the principles of inclusive design from the outset of a project.
- Do more than just comply with legislation and codes.
- Seek multiple views to solve accessibility and inclusivity challenges.
- Acquire the skills, knowledge, understanding and confidence to make inclusion the norm, not the exception.
University of Warwick milestones have been allocated to each CIC principle:
- Embed these CIC principles in the Campus Masterplan to ensure that campus and transport solutions are inclusive, accessible and sustainable.
- Engage and work with our Senior Leadership Team to embed Inclusive Environment Principles across all Estates business.
- Develop, publish and implement Estates Inclusive Design Standards for inclusion in project briefs.
- Design, develop and implement an action plan for compliance with the Equality Act 2010, Approved Document M and BS 8300 for all new buildings, infrastructure, refurbishments, alterations and amendments to existing buildings, following an assessment of the existing accessibility of campus.
- Work with the Estates Accessibility Officer to consult with the relevant Taskforces, Student and Staff Networks to engage with the communities to understand and overcome accessibility and inclusivity challenges.
- Work with the Estates Accessibility Officer to continue to roll out training and awareness opportunities to embed inclusion in initial and continuing staff training.
2: Inclusive Communication Strategy
Influence the development of an Inclusive Communication Strategy in conjunction with Communications, ED&I, Wellbeing Support and Estates that incorporates:
- The accessibility of the delivery of information to enable everyone to access information and communications from the University.
- Image descriptions.
- Subtitles on videos.
- Linked to Accessibility Statement.
- How we communicate information about accessibility or matters impacting accessibility such as new features, diversions or non-availability of campus facilities e.g. lifts.
- Interactive campus map.
- Accessibility Updates and Resource.
- Reducing the reliance on human interface to automate updates where possible or appropriate.
- Seek to standardise key items across the University to ensure consistency, to manage expectations across campus and further an inclusive environment, such as signage for sanitary facilities (e.g. toilets of all varieties, Changing Places and family facilities) and accessible toilet alarms.
- Design, develop and implement an action plan for the items to be standardised.
- Consider how standardised items and procedures could also be applicable to remote campus sited and implement accordingly.
Equality Impact Assessments
An Equality Impact Assessment (EIA) is a tool that will assist in the analysis of policies and practices to ensure that they do not disadvantage or inadvertently discriminate against any individual or groups of individuals with a protected characteristic. EIAs also aim to identify opportunities to promote equality of opportunity and good relations between groups.
The University is proud of its diverse community of staff, students and visitors, and is committed to maintaining its excellent record in teaching and research by ensuring there is equality of opportunity for all. Carrying out a thorough review of the University’s policies and practices is one way we can ensure there is no discrimination, or disadvantage to a particular group, from any of the University’s procedures. It also enables the University to review processes and policies to see if they are working in the most efficient manner.
The University is working hard to ensure that more Equality Impact Assessments are carried out across the board. All members of staff can view the EIAs conducted by colleagues at the University, using the online EIA Portal. Examples of Equality Impact Assessments carried out relating to accessibility and the built environment include refurbishments of toilet facilities to create All Gender Toilet facilities, changes to public realm areas and the introduction of an e-scooter trial on campus.
Inclusive Environment Guide
We are developing an Inclusive Environment Guide within Estates that will give guidance to projects and other Estates business on how to develop an inclusive environment on campus. This will set out our aims, as per the University's Equality Objective 4: Develop an Inclusive Environment on Campus and will seek to standardise items across campus. Once completed, this will initially apply to all new works on campus, but as the campus continues to develop, this best practice will gradually become more embedded across campus. We have already seen huge positives from the work Jenny Wheeler, Accessibility Officer, has done with various projects and we are excited that this will now be harnessed and captured within a document to ensure we keep this positive momentum going.
In addition to the progress made on web accessibility, 2020 has seen an additional focus on the accessibility of audiovisual materials. Feedback has been gathered from staff and students around their experience of automated transcripts and captions. Provision is being enhanced to ensure that people have access to quality transcripts, both within a teaching context and for all of our internal and external users. A notable example of improvements in this area includes the Vice Chancellor's weekly video updates during lockdown which included subtitles and transcripts, ensuring that all members of our community could access the regular updates that provided a much-needed link back to the campus community which all were missing whilst working from home or on furlough.
Creating webpages? Check out this helpful accessible web pages checklist from IT Services.
Declarations of personal and protected characteristics at Warwick are rising year-on-year (as can be seen in the Equality Monitoring Annual Report, presenting staff and student equality monitoring data). In 2019/20, at Warwick, 5% of staff and 9.8% of students were disabled, compared to sector averages of 5.3% and 13.9% respectively.
It is important to note that staff and students are under no obligation to declare the nature of their disability. However, the University continues to encourage staff to update their staff record to share personal details, including equality monitoring information such as disability.
Updating your staff record is quick, easy, and private, and will allow the University to:
- Provide you with any workplace adjustments (should you need them at any time).
- Evaluate our ED&I work.
- Be proactive in meeting the needs of our staff community.
You can read more about why the University collects equality monitoring data on the Equality Monitoring: Why Share Your Personal Information? webpage.
Graphic: Equality Monitoring Annual Report 2019/20 - 1 in 25 staff at Warwick declared a disability; 5% (of those declared). Sector average is 5.3%.
Is there something that you wish to see on campus that would improve accessibility or maybe you have some other thoughts and feedback you would like to share? We have a dedicated Share your Thoughts webpage or for other enquiries, you can contact the Accessibility Team directly via accessibility at warwick dot ac dot uk.