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Diversity Strategy for 2007-2012

1. Aim

This strategy aims to provide a context of robust diversity principles and practice in which the activities of the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education take place, contributing towards a sector-wide outcome of an increasingly diverse pool of candidates for leadership roles. 

2. The vision

The vision of the diversity strategy of the Leadership Foundation is to transform positive rhetoric on equality and diversity into practical changes within HEIs resulting in:

  • A more open and inclusive culture that actively promotes equality and diversity across all strands of equality including sexual orientation, disability, race, age, gender and religion
  • The appointment of leaders at all levels who reflect the composition of the staff, student population and wider society that they serve

3. Developing the plan

A thorough review of the diversity activities of the LF was carried out to determine the issues that should be addressed and the activities that should be undertaken in the future. This builds on the work of the LF’s first Diversity Strategy drawn up in 2004. An extensive consultation was conducted with  interested parties within the sector and the LF’s Diversity Advisory Group. A survey of the LF’s diversity work to date was also undertaken.  A key part of this consultation process was exploring the maximum for potential collaboration with the reconfigured Equality Challenge Unit (and ‘Equality Forward’ in Scotland).

4.  Key issues

The consultation highlighted a number of key issues for the LF’s strategy. The first concerned the importance of taking a strategic overview in collaboration and consultation with the other sector bodies working in diversity to both maximise their impact and avoid duplication. Some aspects such as data collection and dissemination were best done by the other bodies while many activities such as leadership development should be run in partnership with them. Secondly, stakeholders believed that equality and diversity were an integral part of the LF’s work, for example, in leadership development programmes.

Reasons put forward for rigorously pursuing the diversity agenda were many and included demographic changes, public policy, the business case, the legal context and the continuing challenges with career progression for underrepresented groups. Key barriers to diversity may include appointment and promotion procedures, the perceptions, attitudes and skills of leaders and managers at all levels and where diversity issues are dealt with within the university hierarchy.

5. Goals and activities

In its first three years, the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education was more proactive in its equality and diversity interventions and activities. For the future, recognising the reconfigured role and strategy of the ECU, the LF will not include in its strategy activities being undertaken primarily by the other sector bodies.

Leadership Foundation Diversity Strategy 2007 - 2012

 1. Internal practices

Mainstream the principles of equality and diversity into all our internal practices and operate as an exemplar in this

Publish the diversity strategy on the LF website

Incorporate equality and diversity into all of the LF policies and practices

Ensure the LF website and publications are produced in accessible formats

Encourage funding recipients, contractors and service providers to provide evidence of their commitment to equality

There is an on-going and increased awareness in the sector of the LF’s commitment to equality and diversity and its strategic goals.

Feedback is systematically sought from the sector on progress with the diversity strategy. Comments are acted on promptly

Equality and diversity are mainstreamed into LF policies and practices

Website and publications are available on specific request in formats that are accessible and pass the standards required by the DRC

Funding recipients, contractors and service providers more frequently provide evidence of their commitment to equality

 2. Mainstream equality and diversity into LF’s programmes

Mainstream equality and diversity into all our activities, including the Top Management Programme (TMP) and other programmes

Incorporate equality and diversity issues into all programmes delivered by the LF

Equality and diversity are mainstreamed into the content of LF courses with the active participtation of senior staff from the ECU and Equality Forward

The LF refers in its courses to key initiatives in the sector such as the Disability Equality Partnership and involves the Partnership on courses

As a result of attending programmes, senior managers are fully involved with the implementation and development of equality schemes in their HEIs

3. Diversity of participants on LF programmes

Extend the diversity standards for TMP selection to other programmes and aim to improve the balance of participation amongst the different equality groups

Identify the level of representation of presenters and participants on LF courses across the equality groups.

Encourage greater diversity amongst presenters and participants on LF courses

Review the flexibility of the TMP programme to allow people with caring responsibilities to attend

There is a sustained increase in the balance of presenters and participants on LF programmes across equality groups.

Flexibility is incorporated into TMP programmes to meet the diversity needs of presenters and participants

4. Governor Development Programmes

Place increased emphasis on diversity issues in our Governor Development Programme and in our dealings with the CUC

Work with Boards and the CUC to ensure diversity issues are integrated into the Government Development Programme and that Governors mainstream equality themselves

Equality and diversity are incorporated into the Governor Development Programme.

Governors are competent in equality and diversity issues and committed to dealing with them

5. Succession planning

Place increased emphasis on diversity in LF succession planning initiatives

Develop on-going work on succession planning from the point of view of diversity, considering facilitators and barriers to staff development / promotion Specific tools have been developed to encourage staff development and promotion amongst underrepresented groups
6.  Equality and Diversity Committee Chairs

Provide specific support to chairs of Equality and Diversity Committees, in particular PVCs who hold this brief

Develop strategies for supporting Chairs of Equality and Diversity Committees and others with specific responsibility for implementing equality and diversity in collaboration with the ECU/Equality Forward and the HEA

Chairs of Equality and Diversity Committees are well supported by the sector bodies through activities such as forums and/or other activities as may be appropriate

Through collaborative work, the sector bodies are well-informed of each others’ work with senior managers on equality and diversity

7. Diversity Champions

Continue supporting a ‘Diversity Champions’ group of VC/Principals

Maintain contact with the Diversity Champions and review their role, looking at opportunities for encouraging good practice in their HEIs

Facilitate the involvement of the Diversity Champions and their HEIs in the activities of the equalities bodies, including the ECU, Equality Forward and the HEA

Contact with the Diversity Champions is maintained, with examples of good practice in equality and diversity emanating from their HEIs

The Diversity Champions and their HEIs are participating in a variety of initiatives such as research programmes with equality and diversity themes

8. LF-funded Equality and Diversity Projects

Continue the dissemination and deployment on the LF programmes of the considerable material generated by the LF Fellowships, research and other projects


Ensure dissemination and engagement of the sector with the outputs of the wide-ranging projects funded by the LF through conferences, print and web-based material and case studies

Utilise this material in the LF’s programmes

LF dissemination events incorporate learning from diversity-related projects

The LF Fellows gain recognition for their work in equality and diversity issues through these dissemination activities

Outputs from the projects are available in different formats and publicised widely

Maximum benefit is gained from the project outcomes through using these in the LF programmes

9. Mentoring

Encourage further use of mentoring to support leaders from BME groups as tested in the LSE/Warwick project and explore the use of mentoring for other equality groups

Continue supporting mentoring programmes such as those developed by the LSE/Warwick and the University of Bradford, working with relevant BME networks.

Encourage mentoring and/or coaching programmes for other underrepresented groups such as staff with disabilities, using the experience gained from on-going LF-funded projects


Participants report demonstrable gains from mentoring programmes, including career development and promotions. These projects are sustainable

Mentoring and/or coaching project is set up for staff with disabilities. This project runs successfully with measurable gains in career development for these staff, both qualitative and quantitative

10. Support in the early career stage

Make diversity a particular dimension of LF work and programmes focused on leaders and managers at the very early stage of their careers

Encourage involvement of leaders and senior managers in initiatives for underrepresented groups in the early career stage  LF members, in particular the Diversity Champions, will have been invited to support projects such as improving academic achievement amongst BME students and other groups with potential to pursue higher education careers

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