1. Is this policy designed to discourage or stop people having relationships with colleagues or students?
No, the University does not generally discourage consensual relationships with the following exceptions: i) relationships with students who you may be teaching or have responsibility for are strongly discouraged; and ii) relationships between staff and students under the age of 18 are prohibited. This policy is in place to ensure the University discharges its duty of care to staff and students by managing any perceived or existent conflicts of interest if a relationship does exist. You will not be required to declare the nature of the relationship you are reporting.
2. I am a staff member who has a personal relationship with a student/staff member – do I need to declare this?
In principle, yes you do need to declare close friendships, intimate, and family relationships. However, in some roles this may be irrelevant, please see responses below.
3. I am a student who has a personal relationship with a student – do I need to declare this?
No, but see question 4.
4. I am a student, but also a staff member – if I have a relationship with a fellow student, do I need to declare this?
This depends on your employment role in the University, and whether your employment role has a power dynamic. If you are employed in roles such as in Hospitality, Cleaning Services, a Student Ambassador, a Telephonist Fundraiser, in the Library, you do not need to declare your relationship. However, if you are in other roles, where there is a perceived imbalance of power, such as a researcher, GTA, Demonstrator or Tutor, you should declare any relationships.
5. I am a member of staff and I have a relationship with another member of staff – do I need to declare this?
It depends on whether your relationship could be considered a conflict of interest. If you do not work together, then no. However if you have any supervisory/line management responsibility for each other, and/or you collaborate, are involved with promotion/PDR or recruitment decisions impacting each other, then you should declare.
6. I am a student and a family member works at the University, do I need to declare this?
If your family member is a close relative (parent/guardian/sibling/grandparent/child) then this should be declared. The staff member should take the lead on the declaration process. We do not need to know the nature of your relationship.
7. How do I declare a relationship?
If you are a member of staff or a student you should declare your relationship to the Head of School/Director of Research Institute/Director of University Services for your area. They may have delegated the holding of this information to their most senior administrator.
8. If I declare a relationship with a staff/student, what happens to that information?
The information is held in line with the Privacy Statement for the policy.
9. I am a staff member, and I have had a relationship with a student in the past – do I need to declare this?
No, you do not need to declare past relationships unless you believe there may remain a perception of a conflict of interest. Please also consider that the policy covers close friendships and not only intimate relationships.
10. If the relationship I have declared ends, or one of the parties leaves the University, should I report this and will the records be deleted?
If the relationship status changes you should inform the University and we will update the status. The information will be kept as outlined in the Privacy Statement and then will be deleted.
11. If I declare a relationship with a fellow member of staff who is a colleague in my own work area what will happen?
This will depend on whether there is a perceived, or existent conflict of interest. If there is, your line manager (or theirs, if they are the most senior person) will manage this appropriately. This could have a variety of impacts depending on the nature of your role and work. As a minimum the other person with whom you have a relationship should not be conducting your PDR, promotion, line management (where possible), or have been involved directly in your recruitment.
12. If I declare a relationship with a student who I am involved in supervising what will happen?
The University will typically change the student’s supervisor: this is to protect you and the student. It is not a judgement on your relationship. In some cases this may present a particular challenge due to the nature of the subject being studied. If an alternative supervisor is not available, other steps will be taken to ensure the situation is transparently addressed and academic integrity maintained and the individuals appropriately protected.
13. Do I have to declare the nature of my relationship with a colleague or student?
No, we do not want to know the nature of the relationship, we just need to know there is a relationship.
14. I would rather not say who I am in a relationship with but feel I should still declare it. Is that possible?
No. We need to know who is involved, so we can manage the situation. However, we do not need to know the nature of the relationship which may be family or personal.
15. If I think someone who is in a relationship has not declared it but should have under this policy, what should I do?
Ideally you should discretely remind them that they need to declare the relationship as set out in the Personal Relationship Policy. If you are unsure or uncomfortable doing this, advice can be sought from the Equality and Diversity Unit.
16. I am concerned that someone is in an inappropriate relationship but is trying to keep it secret. What should I do?
Ideally, if you feel able to, you should speak with them and remind them that they need to declare the relationship as set out in the Personal Relationship Policy, otherwise you may seek advice from the Equality and Diversity Unit.
17. Given some relationships naturally start and end very quickly but amicably, at what point do I have to declare a relationship under this policy?
In many cases, if a relationship does not continue, you do not have to report it under this policy. However if you believe there could be a perceived conflict of interest of any sort it may be better to declare so that the situation is transparent and may be managed. Remember you do not need to declare the nature of the relationship.
18.What amounts to a close relationship with a student...
...for example if my neighbour’s child comes to the University but I have nothing to do with their studies should I declare this?
In these circumstances it would depend on a number of factors, how close you are to the student, and whether you would be involved in assessing their work. In the circumstances described, we would not expect this would need reporting.
19. If someone else reports that I am in a relationship will this be checked with me prior to anything being recorded?
Yes, if someone reported a relationship you would be asked to verify this information. It should be noted that there may be consequences if you do not report a relationship yourself.
20. How long will you keep the information relating to my relationship(s)?
This information is set out in the Privacy Statement.
21. Will my line manager or Head of School/DRI/Head of Service be made aware if I declare a relationship under this policy?
The information on the relationship will be held by the Head of School/DRI/Head of Service and the senior administrator for the function. This information will be confidential, and will only be shared if there is a requirement to manage a conflict of interest and it is likely that you would be consulted on how best to achieve this.
22. If I wish to declare but do not wish my Head of School or equivalent to know about it is there an alternative route to making a declaration in confidence?
No, if there is a conflict of interest this needs to be managed at a local level. In exceptional circumstances you should seek advice from the Equality and Diversity Unit.
23. I am concerned that declaring may result in colleagues learning about my personal life and I wish to keep this private? Can you guarantee confidentiality?
Yes – this is confidential information and the parties involved in holding this information are aware of this. Remember you do not need to declare the nature of the relationship.
24. I have been in a coercive/abusive relationship which my abuser would not allow me to declare...
...If I ask for help to escape the situation, will I be disciplined for not reporting the relationship earlier?
No – the University will offer support to any employee or student who is experiencing abuse. You should not be deterred from coming forward for help because of this policy. To seek support please contact the Crisis Team.
25. I am in a coercive/abusive relationship and I am scared of the consequences if I declare it...
...If I disclose this or ask for help to escape the situation, will you tell my abuser?
In this situation your safety is the priority. The University would work with you and offer support to deal with the situation in the best way for you. To seek support please contact the Crisis Team.