Equality monitoring - why do we do it?

Updated on 9 August 2023

By completing your Equality Monitoring form you help us, your colleagues and fellow students ensure a culture that benefits and supports us all

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Whenever you start work, or arrive at the University to study, you will be asked to complete an Equality Monitoring form.

The form asks you to disclose information that is personal and the questions can seem intrusive. So why do we ask them and what happens to the information?

Collecting data on protected characteristics

First of all, there is a statutory requirement in Scotland for public bodies to capture and publish data on what are known as the 'protected characteristics'. These are set out in the Equality Act 2010 and are:

  • age
  • disability
  • gender reassignment
  • marriage and civil partnership
  • pregnancy and maternity
  • race
  • religion or belief
  • sex
  • sexual orientation

The Equality Act 2010 makes it unlawful to discriminate because of any of these protected characteristics.

Informing policies and practices

The second reason for capturing the information is to inform our policies and practices which influence our culture here in the University. Capturing the information helps to get a picture of the diversity of staff and students, and candidates for posts and student places. From that we can understand whether the work and study environment is fully supportive in terms of having the right policies, information and support networks available. We can also take steps to identify where we feel there is potential for issues arising that might be detrimental to staff or students.

It also helps us to understand where there may be gaps in our services or where we can be doing more to widen the diversity of our staff or students in a particular area of study. Focussed work to encourage more men into education and social work or more women into engineering and other science subjects are examples of where the data helps to inform need for wider outreach and marketing of these subjects.


When you post the information, it is stored as numerical data in a separate and secure area. Access to it is limited to you, the owner of the data, and specialist data analysts in the People team. It is also subject to the rules of the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR).

The information is used in numeric form and no personal details are assigned to those numbers. It helps to give an overall picture of the University, Schools and Directorates in terms of diversity. Where the numbers in any data set are below ten, they cannot be used or published, and so protecting individuals from being identified by process of elimination.


Joan Robertson

Equality and Diversity Officer

+44 (0)1382 384103