This Code applies to all staff, including Emeritus Professors, honorary and visiting staff, and students of the University, who must act responsibly and ethically and in accordance with the seven principles of public life set out by the Nolan Committee: selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership.

Ethical conduct means acting consistently in a way that is ethical and fair and encouraging others to do likewise; it should not be an isolated response to a specific situation.

Our values underpin our commitment to:

  • delivering quality and excellence
  • nurturing high aspirations
  • supporting freedom to challenge received wisdom
  • aspiring to the highest standards of scientific and professional integrity
  • working responsibly and with respect for others
  • fostering equality, diversity, inclusivity and accessibility
  • adopting best environmental practice

1. Institutional Ethics Framework

1.1 The University's strategy is to establish structures, procedures and guidelines sufficient to ensure that any ethical issues arising from its teaching and research activities and institutional practice are given due consideration.

1.2 The University aims to develop a culture of institutional practice wherein consideration of ethical, social, legal, environmental and sustainability issues become embedded in its decision-making activities. In reaching difficult ethical judgement, the University will be guided by application of the ultimate test of reasonableness. Advice is available from the Chief Operating Officer, and members of the University community who are in doubt should seek further guidance.

1.3 The University seeks to raise awareness of ethical issues amongst its staff and students and to provide such procedures, guidelines and codes as are necessary to ensure that good practice is adopted across the breath of its activities. The development and review of these procedures, guidelines and codes of practice is an ongoing process.

1.4 The institutional code of ethics also extends to, and underpins, the University's interactions with external organisations and individuals.

2. Corporate responsibility for ethics

2.1 The University's Council as governing body of the institution, has corporate responsibility for the approval and development of its institutional code of ethics. In approving such a code, Council furthers the University's aim to strive for the highest standards of professional integrity.

2.2 Corporate responsibility for addressing the ethical, social, legal, environmental and sustainability issues arising from the University's teaching and research activities and institutional practice is discharged by key committees or officers, including, inter alia:

a. teaching, research and related activities by Senate, with recommendations from the Ethics Committee;

b. ethical investment by the Finance Committee reporting to Council;

c. business ethics by the Audit Committee/Finance Committee reporting to Council;

d. personal and professional conduct by the Chief Operating Officer reporting to Executive Committee;

e. sustainable procurement policy by the Head of Procurement reporting to the Executive Committee;

f. ethical fundraising code of practice by the Director of Development and Alumni Relations reporting to the Vice-Chancellor's Group;

g. acceptable use of the internet by the University's Director of Computing Services reporting to the Executive Committee;

h. ethical catering arrangements (Fairtrade commitment) by the Director of Accommodation and Hospitality Services reporting to the Executive Committee;

i. environmental policy by the Office of Policy and Planning, assisted by the Director of Estates, Director of Accommodation and Hospitality Services, Head of Health, Safety and Environmental and Head of Procurement Services reporting to Executive Committee.

2.3 All formal committees of the University, in discharging their routine business, will seek to raise awareness of ethical considerations and to disseminate best practice appropriate to their terms of reference.

3. Implementation of the Institutional Ethics Framework

3.1 Council

Through the conduct of its own business, and that of its sub-committees, Council seeks to promote the highest standards of ethical, social and environmental responsibility.

3.2 Senate

Senate is responsible for the development and implementation of the institutional ethics strategy as it relates to the University's teaching, research and other related institutional activities.

3.3 Ethics Committee

The Ethics Committee is responsible for advising Senate on the development of appropriate procedures and guidelines and for responding to requests for guidance on ethical issues from academics, Departments and Faculties/the School of Management.

3.4 Responsibility of Departments/the School of Management for Implementation

Each Department is responsible for communicating the University's frameworks and policies related to ethics and for ensuring compliance with discipline-specific ethical guidelines for relevant professional bodies.

3.5 Responsibilities of Members of Staff

Individual members of staff are responsible for ensuring that any ethical issues arising from their research, teaching, professional practice, consultancy activities and students they supervise are considered. In addition, staff in the Education and Research job family are responsible for ensuring that ethical issues are given due consideration as they arise naturally during the delivery of the taught curriculum. In particular, they should ensure that undergraduates and postgraduates are made aware of and supported in taking some responsibility for issues surrounding professional ethics. Where ethical issues arise from research requiring further consideration, members of staff should contact their Departmental Research Ethics Officer (DREO) in the first instance. If any such issue remains unresolved after consultation with the DREO and any local ethics committee, it shall be referred to the University Ethics Committee for determination.

3.6 All members of staff are responsible for ensuring that they implement such guidelines, codes of practice and procedures relating to ethical issues as are relevant to the nature of their employment.

Document control

Version number:
Approval date: 19 October 2011
Date of last review: 16 November 2016
Approved by: Senate