Three key principles – of opportunity, choice and excellence in higher education – underpin all our activities. Our practices include an emphasis on:
- high-quality information
- a proportionate approach to regulation
- investment for public benefit
- a commitment to working in partnership with Government, students, universities and colleges, and other national agencies.
Our Equality and Diversity Statement and Objectives sets out how we approach equality and diversity, both within HEFCE and in our work with the sector. We publish our equality information annually in our Annual Report on the Equality and Diversity Scheme.
While recognising that higher education institutions have their own responsibilities under the Equality Act 2010, we work in partnership with other agencies to provide support, resources and information that help institutions share good practice and address equality and diversity challenges.
Who does what?
Our Institutional directorate leads on staff equality and diversity issues and our Student Opportunity Team leads on supporting equal access and fair treatment for all students.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission has the statutory remit to promote and monitor, protect, enforce and promote equality across the nine 'protected' grounds - age, disability, gender, race, religion and belief, pregnancy and maternity, marriage and civil partnership, sexual orientation and gender reassignment under the Equality Act 2010.
Equality Challenge Unit (ECU) supports the higher education sector to build an inclusive culture in which staff and students can thrive, by producing research and providing support to institutions across a wide range of equality issues. HEFCE previously provided core funding to ECU to support this mission. Due to changes in the funding environment, this funding ceased at the end of December 2015 and ECU has moved to a subscription model.
The Equality Advisory Support Service (EASS) provides free expert information, advice and support on discrimination and human rights issues for individuals.