Human Resources

Personal and professional relationships

The University recognises the importance of preserving the integrity of professional relationships between staff and students and between members of staff.

For the purposes of this policy, a personal relationship means a sexual or other intimate relationship, or a close family relationship.

This policy applies to:

  1. Personal relationships between a member of staff (academic or otherwise) and a student or potential student with whom they also have a professional relationship (e.g. where the member of staff is involved in the student's admission, assessment, supervision, teaching and/or pastoral care). For the purposes of this policy, a postgraduate student who is contracted to undertake teaching and assessment duties, or who has Resident Tutor responsibilities, has the status of a member of staff.
  2. Personal relationships between members of staff, or between a member of staff and a person applying to be a member of staff, where there is also a line management, supervisory or other professional relationship whose integrity could be compromised, or be perceived to be compromised, by the existence of the personal relationship.

A student or member of staff involved in a personal relationship which they do not consider to be consensual has the right to complain under the University's Dignity and Respect Policy and Procedure.

1. Personal relationships between staff and students

1.1 Staff are strongly advised not to enter into a sexual or other intimate relationship with a student. Such a relationship could compromise, or be perceived to compromise, the relationship of trust and confidence which underpins the learning experience.

1.2 Where a personal relationship does exist between a member of staff and a student, the member of staff is responsible for informing the Head of Department, Dean or other relevant senior manager without delay of the existence of that relationship. Any such disclosure will be treated sensitively and in strict confidence.

1.3 The person to whom such disclosure is made is responsible for ensuring, where necessary, that appropriate alternative arrangements are made with respect to the student's admission, assessment, supervision, teaching and/or pastoral care.

1.4 Failure to disclose the existence of such a relationship will result in disciplinary action being considered against the member of staff concerned.

2. Personal relationships between members of staff

2.1 Where a personal relationship exists between members of staff who also have a line management, supervisory or other professional relationship whose integrity could be compromised, or be perceived to be compromised, by the personal relationship, the existence of that personal relationship must be disclosed to the Head of Department, Dean or other relevant senior manager. Any such disclosure will be treated sensitively and in strict confidence.

2.2 The person to whom such disclosure is made is responsible for ensuring, where necessary, that appropriate alternative arrangements are made with respect to recruitment, selection, appraisal, promotion or other processes whereby unfair advantage may be gained, or be perceived to be gained, over another member of staff or where conflict of interest may exist.

2.3 If a conflict arises through a formal or informal complaint being raised about anyone with whom the member of staff may be in a relationship then the complaint must immediately be passed on to another appropriate person e.g. the Head of Department, Dean or other relevant senior manager.

2.4 Failure to disclose the existence of such a relationship will result in disciplinary action being considered.