Race Equality Policy

Aims and objectives

Oxford Brookes University has had a comprehensive policy for Equal Opportunities in employment for over a decade and is committed to providing an environment for staff and students where respect is shown to all and where everyone, regardless of their racial group, ethnic or national origin (or any other characteristic as outlined in the university’s Equal Opportunities Policy) is valued and supported to achieve their full potential.

The University works to promote good relations, tolerance and understanding between staff & students of all racial backgrounds, and expects everyone connected with the university to demonstrate this in their study and work and in their interactions with the community outside the University.

The University’s commitment to equality of opportunity in employment & its approach to securing it within the University is set out in our Equal Opportunities Policy (www2.brookes.ac.uk/services/hr/handbook/index.html) our Human Resources Strategy (www.brookes.ac.uk/services/hr/eod/daw/) and the policy on Equal Opportunities for Students (www.brookes.ac.uk/brookes/hbook/charter.html)


Oxford Brookes University welcomes the statutory duty placed on it by The Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000 as it reflects the spirit in which it has sought to handle all aspects of its employment and educational policies for many years. The Act places a statutory duty on all public organisations to:

  • Eliminate unlawful racial discrimination
  • Promote equality of opportunity
  • Promote good relations between people of different groups.

These duties cover all aspects of the life and work of the university and our policy document deals with the University’s role as an employer, as an institution of teaching & learning, and as a partner working with and within the local community.

Policy Statement on race equality

1. Statement of principle

  • The University is committed to ensuring that, in the exercise of its employment & teaching functions, it avoids the occurrence of all forms of racial and ethnic discrimination, whether direct or indirect.
  • It is committed to positively promoting equality of employment opportunity and good relations between employees from different racial &/or ethnic backgrounds.
  • It aims, through its work with the local communities to increase its interaction with those sections of the community who are under-represented at Brookes either as students, employees, or users of the facilities and services provided by the university.
  • The university will make every endeavour to establish policies and practices that will secure the objectives of the RR(A)A 2000 and the related code of practice.

2. Communication and consultation

  • The University recognises the need to have structures in place that will enable it to effectively communicate with staff and students from all racial groups at all levels within the university, and to consult with those groups, where appropriate, to assess the possible impact that any policies and practices have or will have, on race equality within the University.
  • The University will use a range of methodologies such as the introduction of a Race Equality Action Group, focus groups, the staff satisfaction survey, and questionnaires in staff/student publications and on the website, to consult and communicate with staff and students from all racial and ethnic backgrounds. Further details are given in the accompanying Race Equality Action Plan.
  • The University will set up a Race Equality Action Group. This will include on it representatives from ethnic minority staff & students, the ethnic minority forum, the trade unions, the University’s Equal Opportunities and Diversity Co-ordinators, the international office, students services, human resources, the senior management team and (when appropriate) external communities. Its role will be to advise on the likely impact of policies on different racial groups, to consider the findings of monitoring and impact assessments, to propose actions based on those findings, to consider additional ways in which the university can work to promote good race relations and to help review and maintain this policy.
  • The University will support the reintroduction of an ethnic minority forum for staff & students from black & minority ethnic groups.

3. Scope of the policy

The University will endeavour to ensure that the following areas & activities promote equality of opportunity and good race relations, in addition to the commitments made in the Universities equal opportunities policies for both staff & students.

  • Admissions and access for students
    • The university will seek the widest possible response across regional, national & international communities in its recruitment & admissions process.
    • Promotional material about courses & programmes of study will include positive written information and visual images that reflect a diverse student population
    • The university will develop a system for recording the factors that were taken into account in making offers to, or rejecting candidates
    • The University will actively work with the local community to raise aspirations and to encourage and support applications for entry to Brookes from under represented racial groups.
  • Student achievement and assessment
    • The University requires clear learning outcomes & assessment criteria to be specified for all taught modules and courses in order to provide a framework for fair assessment. All programmes of study are required to make use of an appropriate range of assessment methods to give students opportunities to demonstrate their achievement of learning outcomes.
    • Each school is required to ensure that each taught programme has a system for moderating the marking of coursework and examinations that will ensure reliability & consistency. This system will be related to assessment criteria and will be communicated to the students.
  • Guidance & support for students
    • The principal of equality of opportunity underpins all aspects of the University’s activities. Accordingly the university makes available resources as far as possible to support the achievement of equality of opportunity
    • The University’s current policy is to allocate places in residential halls on the basis of the geographical location of the student’s permanent home. All students who are not allocated a hall place are provided with help in securing local accommodation. The impact of this policy on different student groups will be monitored via consultation with students
  • Teaching and Learning
    • The University aims to ensure that documents associated with programmes of study such as student handbooks, field guides, teaching materials and examination papers reflect the principles of equal opportunity, and that a diverse range of case histories, illustrative examples and models are used. Students and staff from black & ethnic minority will be consulted as to the suitability of current materials and appropriate university support directorates will assist schools in the development, cataloguing & dissemination of examples of good practice
    • The University encourages students and staff to use language that is non-discriminatory and inclusive and which does not cause offence to particular groups (guidance on the use of language is available in support of this policy objective)
  • The curriculum
    • The University aims to provide programmes of study and perspectives that recognise and value the diverse needs, interests & backgrounds of all students.
    • The University is sensitive to the needs of individual students and offers them the opportunity to feedback on all elements of the curriculum via assessments at the end of each module and through the ethnic minority forum, the Race Equality Action Group and other identified consultation pathways.
    • In particular the way the courses are organised, delivered and examined takes into account the needs of those with cultural and religious commitments. Where it is not possible to organise part of a course in such a way that a student can fully participate, consideration will be given to the provision of alternative learning methods or other reasonable adjustments.
  • Staff recruitment and development
    • The University is committed to achieving a diverse and representative work force and acknowledges the fact that currently black and ethnic minority groups are significantly under-represented at many levels within the university.
    • Employment decisions relating to recruitment and promotion will, at all times, be based on merit. Equally staff development decisions will be based on identified need. However where the results of the University’s monitoring data suggest there is under-representation, the University will consider using the positive action and training provisions of the Race Relations Act to tackle the imbalances.
  • Community relations
    • The University will work with local community groups representing black and ethnic minorities to develop positive relationships and links that encourage interaction at all levels between the community and the university, promote equality of opportunity and positive relationships between different racial groups, and ensure that diversity and differences are valued.
  • Partnership activities
    • The University recognises that it is bound by the general duty established by the act to secure race equality through its many partnership activities, insofar as they affect employment or education in the United Kingdom, and will, through the development of a partnership protocol, secure the commitment of those partners to operate within its race equality policy and the principles it seeks to advance by implementing them.
  • Contractors and service providers
    • Contractors and service providers are responsible for following the race quality and equal opportunities policies of the University. Contracting and outsourcing procedures and commitments will in future include a requirement that contractors accept the duty to provide services, interact with students, staff and the public in the context of the university and its operations in keeping with the requirements of the legislation.
  • Training
    • The University recognises the importance of promoting and developing an awareness and understanding of the issues surrounding, and an improved practice of, equal opportunities (of which race equality is an important component) to all its staff and has already developed training to achieve those aims. A further review of the staff development programme is taking place to highlight where additional training is needed and where it could be embedded into existing training programmes.
  • Quality assurance
    • The University’s quality assurance processes, including periodic quality audits are used to monitor and evaluate the extent to which equal opportunity objectives have been achieved in the design and delivery of the curriculum.
  • Planning and developing policy
    • The HR Director, the Deputy HR Director and the Director of Academic and Student Affairs will, in consultation with the Race Equality Action Group, ensure that race equality issues are considered when planning and developing other employee and student policies.

4. Responsibilities

  • The Governors are responsible for establishing a Race Equality Policy and for monitoring its implementation.
  • The Vice-Chancellor is responsible for promoting the principles behind the race equality policy both inside and outside the institution and for ensuring that managers fulfil their role in delivering the Race Equality Policy and procedures are followed.
  • Deans/Directors/Managers and Heads of Departments are responsible for putting the policy into practice and for ensuring that their staff operate within the Race Equality Policy. They are also responsible for ensuring that action is taken against staff or students who discriminate for reasons of race, colour, nationality or ethnic or national origins (or for other factors outlined in the university’s Equal Opportunity Policy).
  • Teaching staff are responsible for ensuring that the content of their curriculum, teaching methods and materials, classroom values and assessments promote equality of opportunity and good race relations. Teaching staff should also refer to the university’s policy on Equal Opportunities for Students, which should be read in conjunction with this policy.
  • All employees are responsible for promoting race equality and good race relations, and for not discriminating against anyone on the basis of race, colour, nationality or ethnic or national origin. This will involve dealing with racist incidents and being able to recognise and tackle racial bias and for taking up training and learning opportunities. Employees should also refer to the university’s policy on Equal Opportunities.
  • Students are expected to ensure that their behaviour promotes positive relationships between people of different racial groups and that they follow the university’s Race Equality and Equal Opportunity policies. Student should also refer to the university’s policy on Equal Opportunities for Students.

5. Breaches of the policy

  • Breaching this policy is a serious matter and disciplinary action will be taken against anyone who is proved to have done so. In addition to any penalties imposed by the University individuals may also be subject to criminal and/or civil proceedings.

Employment breaches

  • If an employee considers that s/he has not been treated fairly in accordance with this policy, s/he should consult initially with the link HR Manager for their School/Directorate. They may then decide to take forward a complaint under the grievance procedure or the harassment procedure. An annual review of complaints received will be presented to the Board.

Applicants for employment

  • If an applicant for a post at the University considers that s/he has not been treated in accordance with this policy s/he should make a formal complaint to the Deputy Director of HR specifying the part of the policy that has not been applied.


  • Any student who considers that s/he has not been treated in accordance with this policy may use the Students Complaint Procedure. An annual report of complaints received from applicants and students will be presented to the Academic Board.

Applicants to courses

  • If an applicant to a course or programme considers that s/he has not been treated in accordance with this policy s/he should make a formal complaint to the Academic Registrar specifying the part of the policy that has not bee applied.

6. Monitoring

Monitoring of employees

The Directorate of Human Resources will monitor the following aspects of employment practice on the basis of ethnic origin, as far as possible disaggregated by School and Directorate.

  • Applications, shortlisted applicants, appointments
  • Staffing by grade, length of service and part-time/full-time/fixed term contract status
  • Take up of training and development opportunities
  • Internal promotions/progressions
  • Disciplinary and capability cases
  • Dismissals and redundancies
  • Early retirement
  • Staff choosing to leave the university

Monitoring of students

The Directorate of Academic and Student Affairs will monitor the following by ethnic origin, as far as possible disaggregated by school and by programme of study.

  • The admission and progress and achievement of students
  • Transfer and drop-out rates
  • Reported incidents and student complaints related to racial harassment, racial discrimination or relevant student misconduct

7. Assessing, reviewing and reporting

  • The Director of Human Resources and the Director of Academic and Student Affairs will, in consultation with the Race Equality Action Group, use the information gained from the process of monitoring to assess the effectiveness of the University’s policies in tacking racial discrimination and in promoting race equality and good race relations.
  • Where imbalances are highlighted further research may be undertaken, including if appropriate, a full impact assessment, and measures to tackle those imbalances will be recommended.
  • Monitoring data will be reported annually to the Board of Governors and the Academic Board and will be accompanied by such conclusions and recommendations from the data as are felt necessary to further promote the objectives of race equality and equality of employment opportunity. This report will be published on the university web site accompanied by any decisions on it. It will also be made available on demand in various formats.
  • The report will be submitted also to the Joint Staff Committee, to the Executive Board, to other decision making groups across the university and to the Student Union Executive representatives.
  • Every effort will also be made to ensure that staff and students from black and minority ethnic groups are informed of the results of the monitoring and have an opportunity to provide feedback on the results and on any consequential recommendations for action.
  • The Race Equality Policy will be reviewed on an annual basis.



Equal opportunities and diversity