August 15, 2008

HSE report following investigation on work related stress and bullying in Leeds Metropolitan University

The HSE (Health and Safety Executive) released a report dated 28 July 2008, on the high levels of work-related stress at Leeds Metropolitan University. This report is addressed to the Vice Chancellor Simon Lee, the Director of HR Steve Pashley and the Registrar Steve Denton.

You can download the complete report from:
(After you click the above link, go to the bottom of the page and press 'click here to download')

Below we provide you with segments of the report:

In September/October 2007 HSE received allegations of unacceptable levels of work-related stress (WRS) being experienced by staff employed at the University, by bullying behaviour. Bullying is recognised as a stressor under the management standards... As a matter of policy HSE does not investiagte individuals cases of alleged WRS or specifically allegations of bullying, but undertook to investigate the University's overall policy and arrangements for managing WRS as the duty on the employer is to have systems in place to deal with these type of instances.

...The University has had a written policy since 2002, but we found examples of inconsistent application acros faculties and it is now apparent that the policy no longer reflects the arrangements the SET want to follow...

We conclude that the existing policy, while still relevant to some aspects of your risk control system, should be reviewed and re-launched in line with your current thinking nd your related policy developments...

...The proactive elements we were looking for, to enable the University to produce suitable and sufficient WRS risk assessments, were not in place. Fr4om our interviews we identified weaknesses in the information, instruction and training given to personnel identified in the WRS policy, a lack of suitable performance standards and a lack of clarity on responsibilities. As a result of this suitable and sufficient proactive WRS risk assessments were not being carried out...

...The majority of our interviewees held the perception that the University system for handling WRS issues was predominantly reactive.

...preventative risk assessments for WRS have not been carried out to evaluate risk, identify solutions and generate action plans. We did not identify any overall strategic plans to imrpove the managements of WRS, and employees we spoke to were unaware of one...

...We conclude that the University should develop an overall strategic and coherent plan for dealing with WRS.

...There are no arrangements in place to review the University's performance due to the lack of clear risk control system for the management of WRS, and the lack of longer term strategic plan.

David R Green, HM Inspector of Health and Safety
Claire Mason, HM Inspector of Health and Safety
First of all, congratulations to the management of Leeds Metropolitan University for all the above, and in particular the Vice Chancellor Simon Lee, the Director of HR Steve Pashley and the Registrar Steve Denton.

Secondly, Leeds Metropolitan University is not the only HEI with unacceptable high levels of work-related stress and bullying. You can report offending HEIs to the HSE.

Thirdly, it is good news that the above report is now public knowledge. We must not continue to suffer in silence for change will never happen.
Anonymous said:

My son has recently completed a degree at the university and believes students were affected by the bullying culture - either as a direct result of lecturers leaving/ being on sick leave and no alternatives found in time to complete lecturer's module commitments or seriously inconsistent marking of coursework with little to no feedback. The university is keen to accept the fees but in many cases does not give value for money. Some departments are worse than others - with the Educational teaching department being one of the worse. There's been a lot of activity over the past year in an attempt to resolve the problem. However, by the end of the year there were still some modules being assessed that did not have a lecturer to take all planned lectures for certain modules. I suspect the problem is taking so long to resolve because the main perpetrators of the bullying culture are still in place. The people who have left appear to be those who were affected by the bullying - whilst those who cause the toxic environment stay to reign another day.
Anonymous said:

Wow, I hope this gives Leeds Met the shot in the arm they obviously need. I went for an interview there 6 months ago and had to refuse the invite to a second interview because the interview panel from the 1st interview were so obviously stressed to the eyeballs. I figured no
matter how much I wanted to get away from my current university there was no point jumping from the frying pan into the fire.


Anonymous said...

i left there, and higher education, last summer. however i still have some good friends there. i just hope that the 'management' don't take this out on the staff by increasing the bullying but doing it more underhandedly.

Anonymous said...

The management response has been to continue to deny that there is any problem. The Board of Governors must be blind not to see that there are major problems at leedsmet. Thank you to the press for highlighting the issues.

Anonymous said...

Hi, looks a very interesting read, trouble is it does not dowload easily - crashes everytime half way through the download. Is there any other way of getting hold of it.