Athena SWAN in SHW

Staff consultation

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Jack Melson and Heather McClelland


The Athena Swan staff consultation working group has been set up to conduct an annual in-depth exploration (through qualitative methods, e.g. individual interviews, focus groups) of SHW staff views and experiences of working and promotion practices across the institute. Each consultation is designed to reflect issues emerging from previous consultations and other Athena Swan groups (e.g. staff survey working group), to identify similarities and differences between gender and research groupings, and to make recommendations about working, promotion and management practices to the SHW Athena Swan SAT.


In 2021/22, following 10 years of Athena Swan activities in SHW, the staff consultation working group asked staff about their views and experiences of the Athena Swan initiative. In a shift from the working groups’ usual approach of carrying out a small number of one-to-one interviews, staff were surveyed to increase the reach of the consultation at this 10-year milestone. We have put together a report of the consultation, and its recommendations have been used to identify priorities for future Athena Swan activities within the School of Health and Wellbeing as part of the Gold Application renewal application, submitted in March 2023.

In 2020/21, the staff consultation working group carried out interviews to explore staff experiences and views on "dignity at work", including bullying and harassment within SHW. We have put together a report of the consultation are being taken forward through an information and awareness campaign (dignity at work "bitesize") to help promote a positive workplace environment and culture within SHW.

In 2019/20, the staff consultation working group explored staff experiences of the performance and development review (P&DR) process, and career development within the institute. Key findings were reported on in the October 2020 edition of SHW's monthly newsletter, and the full report and recommendations can also be accessed.

In 2018/19 the staff consultation working group interviewed staff from across the school about their experiences of stress within SHW. The findings found that overall people found SHW a relatively stress-free workplace, although key contributors of stress included workload, overtime and academic job precarity and insecurity.

In 2016/17 the staff consultation working group talked to staff about their experiences of the maternity/paternity buddy scheme and the policy for emergency time off for carers. The report found there was a lack of an awareness of these policies, and subsequently this was better to promoted within the school.

In 2014/15 the staff consultation working group has focussed on the impact of current and previous family commitments among staff on career decisions and aspirations (including attitudes to seeking/not seeking promotion) and the views and experiences of SHW culture and practice (including flexible working and core hours policy) with respect to equal opportunities for career progression.

Comments on these and any other Athena Swan-related issues would be very welcome. Please get in touch with the Athena Swan staff consultation working group chair (see above).