The aim of the role of Dignity at Work Advisor is to facilitate informal resolution in cases of staff harassment and bullying in line with UCL's Dignity at Work Statement. Advisors are provided with extensive training which will covers the law in relation to harassment, UCL's policy and the skills required for their role. A Dignity at Work Advisors (DWAs) network has been established and meets once a term to facilitate mutual support and the sharing of experience. The network and meetings are co-ordinated by the Head of Equalities and Diversity.
Main elements of the role
To listen to members of UCL staff who believe they are being harassed, to clarify the options open to them and to assist them in resolving the matter informally where possible. The service is not open to temporary workers and contractors, who should alert their Human Resources Consultant of any harassment and bullying in the first instance.
Where requested, to support individuals throughout the resolution of their concerns at an informal level. This may include discussing with the individual what they may wish to say or write to the person who they consider has harassed or bullied them; where appropriate, accompanying the individual to speak to the alleged harasser or accompanying the individual to seek guidance from a senior manager. This list is not exhaustive, and emphasises empowering and supporting the individual rather than representation or advocacy.
It is not appropriate for DWAs to represent or accompany individuals at any formal stage of the process.
To act as 'buddy' to new DWAs for the purposes of mutual support, to act as a sounding board and for troubleshooting solutions to difficult situations.
To contribute, where possible, to UCL-wide initiatives aimed at combating harassment and raising awareness of the problem.
To deal with all cases with the utmost confidentiality except in cases where there is an unacceptable risk of harm to a member of staff, student or UCL. The exception to this is that DWAs can speak to the Head of Equalities and Diversity about complex cases. The Head of Equalities and Diversity acts in a supervisory role to DWAs and 1:1 meetings and phone calls can be arranged on an ad hoc basis.
To maintain summary records of any action taken in relation to cases using the forms supplied by the Equalities and Policy Administrator and to store them in conditions of strict confidence in keeping with Data Protection principles.
To support the annual monitoring of the Dignity at Work Statement through recording (on an anonymous basis) the number of cases in which the DWA is involved, what advice/support was given and whether the situation was resolved.
To refer individuals onto another DWA where necessary - e.g. due to time or other commitments, conflicts of interest - or to other support systems as appropriate.
To attend ad hoc training in relation to the DWA role and to participate in the regular sharing of experience and good practice in order to develop relevant skills and expertise.
No particular seniority, status, educational, or professional qualifications are required.
A clear commitment to equalities and diversity
An understanding of the nature of harassment and bullying and the ways in which it can affect those who are harassed/bullied in their workplace.
The courage, confidence and empathy to support staff in difficult situations
Non judgemental, with well-developed interpersonal and active listening skills and an approachable style.
The ability to advise colleagues in an unbiased way.
Communication skills that will enable effective communication with staff from a wide range of backgrounds and at all levels across UCL.
The ability to treat all disclosures in a confidential and sensitive manner.
Benefits of the role
The role is voluntary and there is no remuneration for these duties. However, UCL greatly values the contribution of DWAs to the life of UCL and the welfare of its staff and the work should be given appropriate recognition in the appraisal process. Previous DWAs have said that this role has increased their communication and negotiation skills and has given them useful experience in managing difficult situations and insight and knowledge regarding good management practice.