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Tackling Bullying & Harassment and fostering a positive workplace

Benjamin Meunier15 January 2020

Following from the first “Where Do You Draw the Line?” training session last October, the Library SMT welcomed Kelsey Paske (Preventing Sexual Misconduct Manager) at its November meeting. Kelsey briefed SMT on the Report+ Support tool which UCL launched in March 2019 to help members of the UCL community to report instances of bullying or harassment, and to provide guidance on how to deal with this. This was a helpful presentation from the UCL Equality, Diversity and Inclusion team, which set the context for a wider discussion and for the Library SMT to endorse four recommendations described below.

One of the key points made by Kelsey was that practice needs to be embedded in order to ensure change. This theme was also discussed at the Staff Survey Action Group, where colleagues stressed the importance of ensuring that all staff are aware of how UCL defines bullying and harassment, that it has no place at UCL and how everyone in the institution has a part to play in tackling bullying and harassment. Training and communication are being rolled out, you may see information on the intranet and on screens within library sites. It is worth reiterating that this work will not end with the training or communications campaign, and will continue until it is part of the UCL culture, so that each of us is able to recognise where unacceptable behaviour happens and knows how to challenge it.

One Library manager who attended the “Where Do You Draw the Line?” session suggested that focusing on a positive organisational culture is another way to help address issues such as bullying and harassment. At the University of British Columbia, an Exceptional Workplace Committee worked on initiatives to build a positive organisational culture on an ongoing basis, including working with an organisational change consultant in facilitating sessions with library staff about core values and behaviours. Exceptional workplace continues to be a part of the Library’s strategy: https://about.library.ubc.ca/workplace/. This type of approach may help Library Services to progress work on creating a positive culture, including tackling bullying & harassment, in a sustainable way for the long-term.

Fiona Ryland, UCL’s Chief Operating Officer, has set out the One PS vision for UCL:

“To make UCL a great place to work and study, where what I do enables our people to do amazing things, every day.”

In line with that aspiration to make UCL a great place to work and study, the Library SMT agreed a number of actions which are being progressed thanks to the Library HR Team:

  1. All Library SMT members will complete “Taking the lead” training, a bullying and harassment prevention workshop designed for senior leaders in UCL
  2. All Library Services staff will complete “Where Do You Draw the line?” training. Sessions will be scheduled and advertised in the coming months.
  3. Library Services will explore opportunities for improving staff engagement and fostering a positive work culture with consultant Wayne Clarke (Founding Partner, The Global Growth Institute, who has been commissioned by Fiona Ryland on the theme of making UCL “a great place to work”)
  4. The Library SMT HR Working Group will look into how the different initiatives to make UCL Library Services a great place to work are brought together with appropriate oversight

The minutes of the SMT meeting are available on LibNet, where you can also find the minutes of the Staff Survey Action Group meetings. Further information will be disseminated in due course to advertise the training sessions referenced above and we will share further progress updates as we make progress on this important work to eradicate bullying and harassment from UCL.


Tackling Bullying & Harassment at UCL: “Where Do You Draw the Line?”

Benjamin Meunier23 October 2019

On the 3rd October, I participated in a “Where Do You Draw the Line?” workshop facilitated by the UCL Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) team. Where do you draw the line? is a harassment prevention approach collaboratively developed by UCL, University of Cambridge, University of Manchester and University of Oxford.

The workshop was jointly led by Kevin Coutinho from the EDI team and Martin Moyle, June Hedges and myself on behalf of Paul Ayris. It was very well-attended, and room 417 was completely full with managers from across Library Services, including many SMT members.

Colleagues who attended reported that it was helpful. One participant wrote:

“Firstly, I’d like to thank SMT for funding this session for Library Services Managers. I found it to be really helpful and I appreciated being able to participate alongside members of SMT and other managers in Library Services.”

This event was organised by Jennifer Brown, our Departmental Administrator, as part of our broader action plan for responding to findings from the Staff Survey.

Further work is needed to help eradicate bullying & harassment entirely from Library Services. There is no place for this type of behaviour at UCL, and the aim is for all staff to feel empowered and confident in challenging and reporting any instance where they encounter bullying or harassment. Given the success of this training event, and based on recommendations from colleagues attending, we will look to organise further events to ensure all staff receive this important training. The Library SMT will also consider a range of suggested next steps at the end of this month to follow up on this important matter.

For more information on how to respond if you witness bullying or harassment, please visit LibNet.

If you wish to report something or find additional support information for students and staff, please visit the Report+Support pages.

By challenging inappropriate behaviours we can all play a role in ensuring that UCL is a harassment free zone.