New research published by Equality Challenge Unit indicates that some [why not all?] higher education institutions are taking the need for dignity at work seriously and taking active steps to eliminate bullying and harassment. A high proportion of respondents to our survey (93%) had a specific policy on dignity at work, 70% had networks of harassment advisers and some institutions also offered additional services such as mediation, counselling, employee assistance programmes and training.
However, there is still a long way to go until the sector as a whole provides a culture where all staff are afforded dignity and treated with respect. There are still large variations in service provision, with some institutions lacking the basic structure of policies to tackle these issues, or lacking training programmes to support initiatives.
A particular weakness identified in the study was that the majority of institutions failed to evaluate the effectiveness of initiatives. Even where basic monitoring was being undertaken, it was rare for institutions to review regularly the impact of policies and practices. Some institutions identified that issues relating to bullying and harassment had been raised through their staff survey, but relatively few had made commitments to conduct regular surveys to monitor or evaluate progress made in tackling these problems.
In the ECU baseline survey, although 92% of respondents said that they regarded dignity at work as either a priority or an important issue, 56% also believed that cases were under-reported within their own institution.
The conclusion of Equality Challenge Unit’s Dignity at Work Project was that there are positive signs that some institutions are making real efforts to tackle bullying and harassment. This is particularly important in light of recent high profile cases which underline the importance of employers needing to be alert and proactive in tackling bullying and harassment issues...
National Ban Bullying at Work Day. 7th November 2007. This is a stand alone campaign, spear-headed by The Andrea Adams Trust.