Our work on developing a Civic University Agreement for Bath and its surrounding areas is progressing, and today we want to give a quick update on what we've been busy working on.
For an explanation of what a Civic University Agreement is and why we're developing one, take a look at this post.
An area we have been working hard on is addressing our internal institutional behaviours and how these can have an impact on our local community. For example, the way we make procurement decisions can impact the income of local businesses, and our HR policies can make a difference in whether or not local people are able to find employment through the University. To carry out this work we've been relying heavily on service providers in departments across the University to assess their normal practices and identify areas in which they might make changes with our support to increase positive local impact. A great example is the new work experience programme that our HR team has introduced.
Developing staff civic work
Harnessing the unique skills of our staff for local benefit has been high on our objectives since the beginning of our Civic University Agreement process, however, we have also been determined to ensure that staff who do make civic contributions are appropriately recognised and rewarded for their efforts. We introduced a civic category in the Vice Chancellor's Engage Awards as an early form of recognition this year, and are now working on clarifying the University's Civic Duty Day policy to ensure staff can take time out from their contracted role to spend on civic activities.
Progressing our partnerships
We have now begun drafting our Civic University Agreement along with our partners, with a number of workshops planned for over the summer to work out exactly what will be articulated in our agreement and what each partner will contribute to the process. The Civic University Agreement belongs not to the University of Bath, but to the whole partnership and the local area, so ensuring all partners play an equal role in its development and drafting is essential.
In addition to the points above, the following activities have also been delivered:
- We continue to contribute to international Higher Education conversations regarding civic activity through the Stellenbosh Town and Gown civic engagement network.
- We contribute to the Civic University Network's events through sharing our experience at a local level here in Bath, and taking part in conferences and workshops.
- We have been working closely with our procurement department to better understand the opportunities to procure locally and sustainably, improving the impact of our spending.
- Our ethics team has worked with Bath and North East Somerset Council and the NHS while developing the University's new ethics policy and procedures to ensure future sharing of data between the council, hospital and University is as straightforward as possible and allows the smooth and timely undertaking of research activity.
We will continue to provide updates here on our blog about our work to develop a Civic University Agreement here in Bath, and on the broader sector advancements in civic and local engagement, so do subscribe so you don’t miss out!