This code of practice is to encourage best practice in recruitment and selection at the University, and to advise those members responsible for recruitment of their obligations under:-
- The University's Single Equality Strategy.
- The various Acts of Parliament and codes of practice which govern activity in this area.
This code applies to all aspects of recruitment for all staff groups including part time and short term appointments.
High standards of professional recruitment practice are essential for the University to thrive and its long term prosperity.
Lancaster University is committed to a comprehensive policy of equal opportunities and equal pay for all members of the University community. The University aims to ensure that individuals are recruited, selected, assessed, promoted and treated fairly on the basis of their relevant merits and abilities and that pay systems are transparent, based on objective criteria and free from bias. The University recognises that an effective equal opportunities and equal pay policy contributes to its long term success and competitiveness and is committed to a programme of action to implement the policy. This policy aims to ensure that no job applicant, potential or existing student or member of staff, in any employment designation, receives less favourable treatment on the grounds of gender, marital status, disability, cultural background, creed, nationality, ethnic or class origins, age, being lesbian, gay or bisexual or on any other grounds not relevant to good employment and learning practice. This might include an offending background that does not create risk to children or vulnerable adults. This policy is consistent with the University's Charter and its Employment Policy.
Positive action is permissible under the relevant legislation and the opportunity exists for those responsible for recruitment to take steps to redress imbalances in the profile of the University's working population. This might include methods for encouraging more applicants from those groups or by providing training specifically for those groups, in order to make them more competitive in the selection process. Effective application of the code requires that those responsible for its application will be supported through advice, training and development provided by HR.
Recruiters must take account of current legislation covering equality of opportunity including: Sex Discrimination Act 1975, Race Relations Act 1976, Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, Equality Act 2010.
Specifying the vacancy
Each vacancy should be supported by a written description of the purpose and responsibilities of the post. This will usually be in the form of a job description. Such specifications should be written to ensure that they are free from irrelevant discrimination. Care is needed in their preparation to ensure that all aspects are justified and are not likely to exclude potential applicants from under-represented or disadvantaged groups. Consideration should be given to the design of the job to ensure, for example, that the needs of any potential disabled candidate can be accommodated. Under the Equality Act 2010 employers are under an obligation to make reasonable adjustments to the work-place in order to accommodate disabilities.
Each job description should be accompanied by a detailed person specification which will form the basis of any selection decision. Many potential applicants may have the necessary qualities for the effective performance of the job but lack experience or qualifications through not having had suitable opportunities. Care should be taken, therefore, in the specification of requirements to ensure that statements of length and type of experience and educational and training requirements are justified. Criteria covering personal qualities and circumstances should be directly related to the job and applied equally to all groups consistent with the Equal Opportunities in Employment Policy.
The terms and conditions under which the post holder is to be employed must be consistent with the current HR policies of the University.
Advertising the job
In principle, to ensure the University moves towards addressing imbalances in the work-force profile, all posts should be open for any candidate to apply who meets the basic requirements of the job. This means that all posts, where it is reasonable to do so, should be advertised in the public domain and consideration should be given to advertising in specialist journals/ locations where they will come to the attention of members of under-represented groups. The requirement to advertise to the general public does not apply where the University is seeking to reduce staff numbers overall and there are staff in other parts of the organisation who might be re-deployed to that post.
The job advertisement, which should be closely based on the person specification, may, where appropriate, contain specific encouragement for members of under-represented groups to apply. It should be remembered that use of appropriate visual images can help to achieve and reinforce non-discriminatory practice.
A format for applications should be specified, which would usually be in the form of a standard application form designed to elicit information relevant to the job.
Where the job might be particularly suitable for a person who has a specific disability of for whom English is not their first language, consideration should be given to finding alternative methods for communicating job information and the format for job applications. Applicants should be invited to take part in equal opportunities monitoring, the responses to which will be handled separately from the application and short-listing process through HR.
To ensure compliance with the Disability (Two Ticks) Interview Promise, applicants should be asked to declare if they have a disability, in which case they should be interviewed if they meet the essential person specification criteria.
All applicants must comply with the application procedure.
The selection decision should ultimately be made by more than one person who has a detailed knowledge of the work required for the post. A Selection Panel is, therefore, required which should include persons trained in selection techniques and equal opportunities.
The current appointment procedures make specific requirements for the composition of the panel and require, inter alia, that the panel includes members with appropriate training.
All members of the selection panel should be involved in the short-listing process. The person specification will form the basis of the selection decision. Records should be kept on the extent to which each candidate meets the requirements of each aspect of the person specification. These records should be held for a minimum of six months after the appointment has been made.
Consideration should be given in the process to those who meet the basic requirements of the post and belong to groups under-represented in the University. Disabled applicants in particular should be invited for interview where they meet those basic requirements. This is a commitment of the Disability Two Ticks award.
Candidates should be given sufficient notice of proposed selection activities, their content and details of those staff to be involved in the selection decision.
Since objectivity is difficult to achieve through interview alone, a range of selection methods should be established, closely based on the person specification for the post, which might include work-related tests or assessments. Care should be taken when selecting or designing tests and analysing their results to ensure that they are free from bias.
Interview questions should be chosen with care and designed to elicit the information covered in the person specification. Particular care should be taken to avoid using questions which might convey an intention to take into account irrelevant material, such as arrangements for child care. Interview structure and content should be applied consistently to all candidates interviewed.
Records should be held for each of the candidates which demonstrate the extent to which the requirements of the person specification were met. These records should be kept for a minimum of six months following the appointment.
Candidates may wish to receive feedback about their performance in the selection process. Such feedback should only be provided by a competent person directly involved in the selection decision.
For more information on selection methods, please read Selection Methods.
Use of references
Information sought from referees should be structured around the requirements of the job through the job description and person specification. That information should be kept confidential and should be used only to verify information collected during the selection process.
The University will organise a rolling programme of in-service training and development to provide support to those staff required to implement the code.
HR staff will provide advice and guidance in the operation of this code assisting with the preparation of the specification of the post through to forming the contract of employment.
Updated: March 2013
Review date: Dec 2013