The University's Equality & Diversity and Human Resources Committees approved the Release Time for Staff Diversity Networks Scheme in 2010. The Scheme is centrally funded and is similar to the provision made for representatives of recognised Trade Unions.
The University's Diversity Networks provide a consultation and engagement mechanism that is central to the development of the University's Combined Equality Scheme and compliance reporting outlined in the E&D Annual Review. Participation in the Diversity Networks is viewed as a valuable professional development opportunity which can enhance individual performance for the benefit of the University community as a whole. The University formally recognises the support of Departments/Managers in enabling this, as reflected by the provision of central funding to local departments for the specific staff release time of eligible staff.
The Release Time Scheme supports this engagement by recognising the function that Chairs and Secretaries of Staff Diversity Networks have in making the consultation and engagement infrastructure effective. Paid release time provides the Diversity Networks with the capacity to support the University in meetings its legal obligations in relation specifically to race, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, disability and gender equality. This enables the Diversity Networks to contribute effectively to the development of University policies and Equality Assurance Assessments and support the delivery of diversity events.
Chairs and Secretaries (University-employed) of eligible Diversity Networks are entitled to Release Time under the Release Time for Staff Diversity Networks Scheme. The Scheme offers eligible staff up to 12 hours per annum of Release Time to undertake Diversity Network related activities.
The Diversity Networks eligible for the scheme are:
- InterConnect / BME
- Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans Staff Network
- Disabled Staff Network
- Women's Staff Network
Queries relating to the Release Time for Staff Diversity Networks scheme can be directed to the respective Network Facilitator at firstname.lastname@example.org.