Athena SWAN Self-Assessment Team and Working Groups

working groups

From ASSA team to SAT

During 2010 we established 5 Athena SWAN Self-Assessment (ASSA) teams, one in each of the main administrative units within the department. On the basis of a consultation in 2015, the groups have been merged into one team during the early part of 2018. A centralised Self-Assessment Team (SAT) will aid with consistency of approach across NDM and aid target directed action, whilst representation from each of the 5 key Units will ensure we maintain sensitivity to the needs of individual Units. The restructure also provides us with the opportunity to ensure gender balance on the panel. To engage key individuals with the appropriate skills and knowledge to maintain good progress on specific time-limited projects and maintain breadth and depth of involvement of staff and students across NDM we have established a formalised structure of working groups for specific projects, to report into the SAT.

NDM Working Group and SAT Policy (March 2018)

What is the role of the SAT?

To ensure a broad range of experiences and knowledge are drawn upon, NDM’s Athena SWAN Self-Assessment Team (SAT) is gender balanced, has representatives from each of the 5 key administrative Units of NDM, a student representative and individuals from a range of staff types and career levels. The SAT’s primary purpose is to aid the Athena SWAN initiative by contributing to the action plan process and ensuring its implementation. The Working Groups report to the SAT, making recommendations and proposing action. The SAT meets termly, and reports to the Senior Management Committee within NDM, who provide strategic direction. The membership of the SAT will be reviewed on an annual basis, ensuring workload of it’s members is considered and representation remains diverse.

NDM Athena SWAN Self-Assessment Team (SAT)
Experimental
Medicine
Tropical Medicine
and Global Health
Wellcome Centre
for Human Genetics
ORCRB NDMRB/BDI
(TDI)
Students NDMS – Athena
SWAN
Dr Philippa Matthews

Dona Foster

Mr Ed Gibbs

Professor Lisa White

Dr Nantasit Luangasanatip

Mrs Sue Wilson

Miss Thea Perry

Professor Chas Bountra

Mr David Bartle

Dr Kuba Kopycinski Dr Andrés Noé Mrs Claire Worland

What is the role of the Working Groups?

As a part of the Athena SWAN assessment process, an Action Plan has been developed, and key projects identified. 8 Working Groups have been established in the first instance to investigate the areas under review and propose forward action. The Working Groups report to the SAT.

2018 Structure of the SAT and Working Groups

Express your views and provide feedback

Consultation with the members of the Department will continue to be conducted through surveys, focus groups, target-orientated interviews, committees, student open information sessions, and working groups. We will continue to adapt our current initiatives and develop new ones on the basis of the feedback received, and our surveys will be targeted to inform our understanding of the issues under review during each year. We would urge you to provide your feedback and inform our initiatives by completing the Staff and Student Surveys. The results from these surveys also provide us with essential data for our Athena SWAN application, which is renewed as Awards expire every 4 years.

We have a dedicated e-mail for you to share your views and ideas. Circulars and notices will continue to be used to communicate Athena SWAN activity with staff and students throughout the process; in the form of a termly newsletter, e-mails, posters, leaflets, and table-top signs in each communal or canteen areas.

We will continue to provide updates, guidance, links to resources, information and seek feedback on these dedicated Working for NDM and Athena SWAN website pages.

Want to get involved?

Working Groups

Be a part of the change. Have your say, and express your ideas. Several of our Working Groups are conducting focus groups, interviews or surveys to gather more detailed opinions from our staff on the topics under investigation. Just contact the NDM Athena SWAN Coordinator if you would like to be involved.

There will be 3 key meetings held throughout each of the 8 projects; planning, progress monitoring and recommendations. Additional meetings are being held as the groups require.

The details on each project are detailed below. We are looking for a range of experiences and knowledge to inform our understanding of the issues under investigation.

Managers Toolkit Working Group

Aim: To make recommendations on the content of a toolkit for managers.

Rationale: New managers are offered an extended induction with HR to provide an introduction to dealing with management issues such as flexible working requests, times to hold meetings, PDRs, recruitment and selection. Line managers are offered specific training when they start in post, including the mandatory OLI course ‘Managing People’. However, currently managers receive the same paperwork at induction as all other staff members. We would like to develop a toolkit for managers as a supportive resource.

Action: An investigation (such as focus groups or interviews) needs to be conducted to improve our understanding on what guidance line managers would like specific guidance on. What format should the resource take (for example a hard copy handbook or an on-line resource)? Recommendations need to be prepared.

Outcome: A toolkit will need to be created by HR, on the basis of recommendations by the working group, as they have the knowledge and expertise to create the toolkit and are best placed to implement it across the whole Department.

Timeframe: Q1 2019 – Recommendations to be provided to the HHR and ASC by the WG by Jan 2019.
Q3 2019 – The development of a toolkit for managers by HR to be complete by Sept 2019.
Q3 2019 – Ensure 100% of all new line managers are given a toolkit from Sept 2019.
Q3 2020 – All existing managers have access to the toolkit from Sept 2020.

Impact: Improved self-rated confidence ratings by line managers across several areas of competency in the staff surveys (benchmark in 2018 survey, comparative data in 2020 survey). Good satisfaction ratings by staff.

PDR Working Group

Aim 1: To investigate the reasons for reported gender differences in experiences of the PDR process and propose action to address any imbalances found.

Rationale: Findings from our 2017 survey indicate a gender difference in staff taking the opportunity to talk about their career development during their PDR (87%F:92%M), and perceived usefulness of the PDR process (65%F:74%M).

Aim 2: Monitor the success of initiatives put in place to support research and academic staff who are line managers in their confidence of their capabilities to conduct PDRs and consider alternative action that can be taken to support this group in conducting PDRs.

Rationale: Findings from our 2017 survey show that 67% of research and academic staff who are line managers feel confident in their capabilities to conduct probationary and Personal Development Reviews. This compares to 85% of non-research staff who are line managers. Given these groups have access to the same training and workshop opportunities, this suggest that further work may be needed to support this group in conducting PDRs. The HHR has started (2017) to use the Principal Investigators meetings as an opportunity to deliver further training and a brief introduction to the PDR process is now offered during HR inductions for new line managers. We need to monitor the success of these initiatives and consider any other supportive action.

Aim 3: To investigate the reasons for our lower than desired completion rates and identify where improvements can be made and propose ways to increase the uptake of the PDR.

Rationale: Our uptake figures for PDRs across all staff have remained fairly stable, with a completion rate of 61% for 2012/14, 61% for 2014/15, 64% for 2015/16, 61% for 2016/17. We need to see an improvement in these figures.

Action: An investigation (such as focus groups or interviews) needs to be conducted to improve the PDR, including
1) improve our understanding of the reasons for reported gender differences in experiences and perceived usefulness of the PDR process.
2) propose action to address any gender imbalances found.
3) establish a monitoring system for the success of initiatives put in place to support research and academic staff who are line managers  in their confidence of their capabilities to conduct PDRs.
4) consider alternative action that can be taken to support this group in conducting PDRs.
5) identify the reasons for a low uptake of the PDR and make recommendations on how to improve uptake.

Outcome: The working group will be investigating how to improve the PDR process, and the support that can be given to line managers. However, it is essential that these recommendations are drawn together and any necessary actions implemented in a cohesive approach by HR.

Timeframe: Q4 2018 – Findings of the research to be completed by Dec 2018.
Q4 2019 – Changes to the PDR, on the basis of the recommendations by the WG, to be implemented by HR by Dec 2019.

Impact: 1) Evidence of a reduced gender gap in staff taking the opportunity to talk about their career development during their PDR (currently 87%F:92%M), and perceived usefulness of the PDR process (currently 65%F:74%M).
2) Evidence of a reduced gap (currently 67%:85%) between research and non-research line managers in their confidence ratings in their capabilities to conduct probationary and Personal Development Reviews.
3) Our aim is to see improved PDR uptake figures (>61%). Our target is 70% by 2021.

Redeployment Resource Working Group

Aim: To make recommendations on a Departmental resource for those on fixed term contracts to better understand what they should be considering, their options and the support available, and the process of redeployment, to complement that already provided.

Rationale: HR Teams and Business Managers/Unit Administrators write to offer a meeting for every person coming to the end of their fixed term contract; they provide support and advice including around further funding opportunities, helping them seek redeployment if desired. In addition, Personnel Services provide extensive online guidance on the redeployment process and the support available. Despite this, in the 2017 survey, most staff didn’t feel they knew enough to comment about the support given to individuals through redeployment (61%F:56%M) and open comments in the survey suggest that some clarity may be required as some misconceptions were identified.

Action:  An investigation (such as focus groups or interviews) needs to be conducted to improve our understanding on what guidance should be provided to aid clarity over the end of fixed term contract process and the support on offer. What content should be included? How is the resource best presented and publicised? Recommendations need to be prepared.

Outcome: Following the recommendations of the Working Group, a central Departmental resource for those on fixed term contracts will need to be developed.

Timeframe: Q3 2018 – Recommendations to be provided to the HHR and ASC by the WG by Jan 2019.
Q3 2019 – Launch of the redeployment resource, on the basis of the recommendations by the WG, to be implemented by HR by Sept 2019.

Impact: Our target is to see no gender differences in the perceived clarity of the process (specifically target and benchmark in 2018 survey, comparative data in 2020 survey).

Grant Support Working Group

Aim: To explore the needs of our research staff in view of the support currently on offer for those wishing to make fellowship or grant applications, identify any gaps in provision and propose an action plan for further development.

Rationale: Applicants are provided with bespoke support in application with peer review and interview preparation, and each of our Units has a dedicated grants team. Our units complete a return which allows us to analyse and act upon data on fellowship success rates, support routes, awarding body feedback and top tips from previous applicants. On the basis of this return, a Fellowship data website page has been developed to provide anonymous ‘top tips’ from previous applicants and NDM wide success rates. We have publicized the newly developed MSD Researchers Toolkit – a set of webpages bringing together information about divisional and central resources and support services. Applicants are followed up to discuss feedback, and in the case of unsuccessful applications to discuss the next steps and the support available for a successful next submission. Our grant application success rates have risen from 24%F:34%M in 2013/14 to 76%F:71%M in 2016/17. We now need to expand our provision of support where needed. Comments in our latest staff survey (2017) suggest some interest in further training and workshops around grant applications, specifically as a way for DPhil students and early career Postdoctoral Scientists to gain insight and experience into the grant writing process.

Action: An investigation (such as focus groups or interviews) needs to be conducted to explore the needs of our Research staff and identify any gaps in provision and propose an action plan for further development. The resources available within the further University also need to be considered and utilised where possible. Recommendations need to be prepared.

Outcome: Following the recommendations of the Working Group, our provision around fellowship and grant application support will be expanded.

Timeframe: Q1 2019 – Recommendations to be provided to the SAT by the WG by March 2019.

Q1 2020 – The support provided for Fellowship and Grant applications will be expanded, on the basis of the recommendations by the WG, by March 2020.

Impact: Our target is to see continued high success rates, with no gender disparity, in fellowship and grant success rates.

Coaching Scheme Working Group

Aim: To assess the feasibility and benefits of running an NDM Coaching scheme to support staff development.

Rationale: Since March 2016 all staff groups, including professional and admin staff, have access to a Mentoring scheme. We have developed and publicised a signpost page to help our staff and students find the right scheme for them. In addition, mentoring is included in discussions and associated paperwork during induction and PDR. We conducted a review of the mentoring arrangements in the early part of 2017, and found that most Units now publicised the many mentoring schemes available across the University. However, our 2017 survey shows that there are indications of differing experiences between men and women with the schemes available: 70%F:93%M found the mentoring scheme they were engaged with useful. During 2017 we established an initial pilot coaching programme within NDM, to see if this may be a better format for some staff members. Initial verbal feedback is positive, but we need to extend the pilot, monitor the success of this pilot through a formal feedback process and investigate the possibility of a Departmental wide scheme.

Action: a) Use the results of the pilot to ascertain the benefit of a coaching scheme for NDM.
b) Explore how a coaching scheme could run and assess its feasibility eg. what staff groups and career stages would be included, how matches will be made, who will do the administration for the scheme, how impact will be measured.
c) Consider the best way to publicise the scheme.
d) Design and implement a coaching programme for NDM, if suitable.

Outcome: Implementation of a coaching scheme, if suitable, with a feedback mechanism established to allow for further development.

Timeframe: Q1 2019 – Recommendations to be provided to the SAT by the WG by March 2019.
Q1 2020 – Implementation of an NDM coaching scheme, if suitable, by March 2020.

Impact: Our target is to see high satisfaction ratings with the coaching scheme, if implemented widely, and long-term evidence of impact on career progression.

Transparency of Decision Making Working Group

Aim: To improve the transparency of decision making.

Rationale: We have used the staff surveys to explore the details around the transparency of decision making processes, and have implemented steps to address those issues. For example, a statement is published every term, within our Newsletter, on the issues under discussion within the NDM Management Committee. This is e-mailed to all staff and students. The NDM governance page currently details the members of the NDM Management Committee. Although progress has been made, currently not all Units have published their committee membership lists on their websites, with a general statement when meetings occur about the subjects under discussion, as detailed in our previous action plan. We need to ensure this is followed up as a continued action. Survey results suggest that further work needs to be done to address transparency of decision making at line manager level, within the Unit and at committee level. We need to further consider how we can address the issues around meaningful consultation (where appropriate) and clear communication following decisions.

Action: An investigation (such as focus groups or interviews) needs to be conducted to:

a) identify the priority areas where improvements need to be made in transparency of decision making (detailed survey results will be made available to the group).
b) explore how to address these key areas.
c) ensure that all Units publish their committees, with membership lists and a general statement about the topics under discussion at each meeting (redacted as appropriate).
d) make recommendations and develop an action plan.
e) ensure transparency in decision making is improved.

NB: The Department will develop a centralised NDM signpost website page with details about NDM Governance and links to the Unit governance pages throughout NDM to help increase understanding about what committees there are. This can be developed once all Units have governance pages in place.

Outcome: Following the recommendations of the Working Group, actions will be put in place to facilitate the transparency of decision making.

Timeframe: Q1 2019 – Recommendations to be provided to the SAT by the WG by March 2019.
Q2 2019 – Implementation of changes to improve transparency with effect from May 2019.
Q2 2019 – Published committee details for each Unit of NDM by May 2019.
Q4 2019 – Creation of a centralised NDM signpost website page by October 2019.
Q2 2020 – Survey to assess impact.

Impact: Our targets are to see:

  • Improved survey results around transparency in decision making (2020). For example, 64% of women and 67% of men feel their manager is good at consulting on decisions. We would like to see this improve to 70% with no gender differences.
  • Improved understanding of what committees there are within the Units (36%F45%M in 2017 to 48%) and the types of issues discussed (30%F38%M in 2017 to 40%), with a closed gender gap.
  • An improved number of views on Google Analytics from the existing Governance page (obtain baseline Dec 2017) to the new central page.
  • Improved understanding of what committees there are within NDM (23%F27%M in 2017 to 30%) and the types of issues discussed (23%F29%M in 2017 to 30%), with a closed gender gap (2020 survey).

Career and Professional Development Talks and Events Working Group

Aim: To ensure workshops, talks and events are offered to aid career and professional development for all staff types.

Rationale: Across NDM a variety of career development talks and events are held, such as the Women in Science talks within the WTCHG. We need to ensure that these events continue to be held, and are expanded across more Units and that the events on offer are developed to include targeted events for Professional and Support staff. We need to ensure that events continue to be run on a rolling basis, and are updated as required, to ensure momentum and relevance are maintained.

Action: A review of the current events on offer needs to take place, and an investigation (such as focus groups or interviews) needs to be conducted to explore the needs of our Research and Professional and Support staff and identify any gaps in provision and propose an action plan for further events. Ensure sessions are targeted to different staff types where appropriate, to maximise relevance. A rolling schedule of events, including a wider involvement of NDM Units, needs to be prepared and implemented.

Outcome: The continuation, and expansion, of the career and professional development talks and events on offer across NDM.

Timeframe: Q3 2018 – An annual schedule of events to be provided to the SAT, HHR and ASC by the WG by Sept 2018.
Q1 2019 – Implementation of the schedule of events by the WG, to be on a rolling annual basis.

Impact: We would aim to see an improvement in career pathway awareness and proactive career planning from data within the staff surveys (benchmark in 2018 survey, comparative data in 2020 survey).

Career Development Resources Working Group

Aim: To continue to develop resources to support career development for both research staff and professional & support staff.

Rationale: A consultant was engaged to establish a resource to support career development (in addition to the career development workshops, training and talks on offer), specifically targeting early career researchers in helping them understand their career pathways and support available. This is available on our Working for NDM website pages. We need to identify if further work needs to be done to develop and/or publicise these resources and expand our portfolio of resources to support professional & support staff.

Action: A review of the current resources needs to take place, and an investigation (such as focus groups or interviews) needs to be conducted to explore the needs of our Research and Professional and Support staff and identify any gaps in provision and propose an action plan for further development. The resources available within the further University also need to be considered and utilised where possible. Recommendations need to be prepared.

Outcome: Following the recommendations of the Working Group, our provision around career development resources will be expanded.

Timeframe: Q1 2019 – Recommendations to be provided to the HHR and ASC by the WG by Jan 2019.
Q1 2020 – Implementation of improvements to the career resources pages, on the basis of feedback received.

Impact: Improved awareness of the resources available and improved satisfaction ratings with the resources on offer (benchmark in 2018 survey, comparative data in 2020 survey). We would aim to see an improvement in career pathway awareness and proactive career planning from data within the staff surveys

Strategic Direction

Professor Chris Conlon, Interim Head of Department
Darren Nash, Associate Head of Department (Academic Support and Finance)

Support for SAT and Working Groups

Elena McPhilbin, NDM Head of Human Resources

Claire Worland, NDM Athena SWAN Coordinator