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Disclosure and Why it Matters

When the word disclose or disclosure meets the ear, thoughts run through people's minds that equate to tell all, reveal everything!

However it's a bit more precise than that when it comes to equality monitoring.

There is a point to equality monitoring, quite a big one. It tells organisations, such as St Mary's, how best to shape their services. It contributes to future improvements and works towards ensuring that future plans consider the needs of all of us. In this instance we are talking about student needs.

Generally speaking the data that organisations ask students to disclose includes:

  • age
  • gender
  • disability
  • domicile
  • race/ethnicity
  • religion or belief
  • sexual orientation

Students are spending their money at universities to gain an education. If you ask any student if they wanted to getting the same service and experience as their fellow students, they would all say yes. How can the organisation be sure about this, they could guess of course but we all know that it might just be a matter of perspective. No, what is needed is some fundamental evidence, something that you can start to build upon, that gives the organisation direction.

Direction is the keyword. If you're basing projects, ideas, and strategies on guess work then you really crossing your fingers and hoping it works out. We all want to create a learning environment that meets the specific needs of our students, to make sure people of all backgrounds are catered for. Data that is produced from equality monitoring goes much further to giving a fairer indication of some of the positive and negative areas at St Mary's. Contributing to more successful strategies, contributing to superb student experience, and equality of opportunity!

Add to this benefit to students that there are also expectations to submit data to organisations such as Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), ensuring that the university can evidence that it is meeting it's duties under the Equality Act 2010, you can see why it's important.

It's a natural response when asked for personal information to be nervous and sceptical, however in order for an organisation to know who their customers (or staff) are and how they can meet their needs, increase equality and diversity, then they need a good idea of demographics.