Social Responsibility

  • UWS Social Responsibility Statement

  • 1. Local and regional economic impact

    We will enhance the economic, social and cultural fabric of our local communities by ensuring we are an open and full participant in our regions by:

    // being a flexible and responsive employer
    // procuring from a range of local suppliers
    // providing access for employers in the region to staff and facilities to enhance local economies
    through working in partnership with staff and other stakeholders to meet the needs of learners within our diverse communities
    // being a community hub for cultural, social and learning events

    Partnership working
    The University will ensure high standards in its partnership working and will develop its approach through a plan for stakeholder engagement and the management of these relationships for mutual benefit.

    Research & knowledge exchange
    The University is committed to providing a vibrant research and knowledge (KT) culture which attracts and retains research active and productive staff and outstanding research students.

    Local community employer
    One of the biggest impacts we can have on our local community is through employment. Currently, around 65% of our employees live within 5 miles of their UWS campus, which together with a commitment to, where possible, recruiting our own students and graduates means that we will continue to have an economic impact on our local communities.

    Diversity and equal opportunities
    The University will be mindful of its responsibility to:
    • Eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation and other prohibited conduct
    • Advance equality of opportunity between people who share a relevant protected characteristic and those who do not
    • Foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not 


  • 2. Local and regional community support and charitable activity

    We will seek to have a positive influence on the educational, social and cultural development of the communities in which we operate. Wherever possible, we will engage with local communities across the region by being an active and supportive partner in community activities, sharing resources and services. We will support staff (through the HR framework) and students (with the Learning and Teaching Assessment Strategy) to participate in volunteering opportunities.

    Community access to premises and facilities/sports facilities
    We will explore the potential for providing access to University services and facilities for public, community and voluntary group activity.

    Library use for reference purpose
    We allow library use for reference purposes to local residents of our Ayr, Hamilton and Paisley campuses.

    Charitable Organisations
    UWS will continue to deliver support to local charities where possible.

    The UWS-Oxfam Partnership for an Equitable, Sustainable and Socially Just Scotland
    Since 2012 the University has worked in a formally agreed partnership with Oxfam and its other partners, in particular its local community partners involved in its UK Poverty Programme in Scotland, to develop joint research projects and influence policy towards a more equitable, sustainable and socially just Scotland.

    Local sponsorship opportunities
    We will continue to support local community groups and individuals by providing small scale sponsorship on a criteria-based evaluation where the potential for community benefit will be given priority.

    Staff and student volunteering
    Staff and students are encouraged to gain new perspectives and new skills by participating in volunteering opportunities that are consistent with our strategic objectives. Relationships have been established with the volunteer centres local to each campus and the University promotes volunteering opportunities with a range of charities. The UWS Volunteer Recognition Award is an initiative to recognise the time students give up to volunteer for the University, Students’ Association or other organisations. The scheme rewards and recognises students’ voluntary activity which is undertaken in addition to your studies.

    The University will seek to develop a scheme for staff volunteering to enable staff to seek approval for a small number of contracted days to be used for volunteering in the communities in which we work.

    Charitable activity/payroll giving
    Staff and students wishing to engage in charitable activity will be supported. Colleagues can be enabled to take advantage of the HM Revenue and Customs “Payroll Giving” scheme where gross pay donations are tax exempt. Up to four charities can be selected and the amount donated can be changed at any time.

    Awards scheme
    The University has a scheme to recognise and celebrate staff success. Consideration will be given to extending this to celebrate staff and student community engagement.

  • 3. Widening participation

    Through our involvement with the communities we serve, we aim to create opportunities for people who are traditionally under-represented and who might otherwise not consider that higher education is for them and for employers who think likewise. We will work towards the aim of greater social inclusion and the mitigation of inequality in education.

    Financial support
    UWS offers funding support in a number of ways including educational trusts; competitive bursaries and scholarships. We also offer budgeting and debt management advice and can help point students in the direction of alternative or additional sources of help available.

    Work with local schools
    UWS aims to help local school pupils across all campuses with their post school choices by delivering talks and workshops at all stages in their secondary education right up until university application.

    Step Up
    Step Up to University is unique to UWS and involves delivery of a SCQF level 7 module which has been developed to facilitate and encourage pupils in making the transition from secondary school into higher education.

    Part-time options
    The University provides a diverse range of part-time options which are designed to help build on existing skills and qualifications, or to enable students to take their first steps to achieving a University award.

    Flexible learning
    UWS offers flexible study options. This helps to ensure that individuals who cannot travel for their educational experience, such as those with dependants or those in remote and rural areas, still have the opportunity to access our provision.

    Scottish Wider Access Programmes (SWAP)
    UWS aims to help mature students with little or no qualifications to work thorough partner college SWAP Programmes which on successful completion will guarantee entry onto degree provision.

    UWS continues to prioritise partnership working with other HEIs at Ayr and Dumfries campuses in particular benefiting from the efficiencies that can be gained from the use of shared facilities and space.

  • 4. International Activities and Global Citizenship

    We commit to providing students with a total learning environment while helping them to develop as global citizens. Our programmes of study will enable students to engage with international themes and will have opportunities to participate in outward bound mobility or learning that takes place overseas. When developing new partnerships with international companies, educational facilities and agents we will have regard to our social responsibilities.

    The University and its staff and agents will not participate in or tolerate its partners participation in bribery. The University’s Bribery Policy provides full information.

    Risk Assessment
    Staff conducting UWS business/research in zones of conflict, danger or health risk will be supported to undertake risk assessments as part of the governance structures which underpin UWS Internationalisation.

    Due Diligence
    Due diligence including assessment of ethical issues will be undertaken for proposed collaborative academic partnerships.

  • 5. Environmental responsibility and sustainability

    We are committed to being a good neighbour, concerned for the community and the environment. We will continually strive to improve our social and environmental performance, with the objective of ensuring that our activities contribute to the sustainable development of the regional communities we serve.

    We undertake initiatives to promote greater environmental responsibility.
    We encourage the development and diffusion of environmentally friendly technologies.
    Some of the initiative we are involved in are:-

    • Green Impact Universities Project
    • Sustainability Strategy
    • Climate Action Plan
    • Sustainable Estate
    • Sustainable Travel
    • Waste Management
    • Research and knowledge exchange
    • Sustainable procurement 

  • 6. Fair Operating Practices

    We will act responsibly and ethically in conducting our business with other organisations.

    We will use our relationships with other organisations to promote positive outcomes by providing leadership and prioritising the adoption of social responsibility throughout the University’s sphere of influence. 4

    Issues relating to fair operating practices include anti-corruption (Global Principle 10), responsible participation in the public domain, fair competition, socially responsible behaviour in relationships with other organisations and respect for property rights.


  • 7. Learning, Teaching, Research and the Student Experience

    We will seek to embed the principles in this statement in the curriculum, approaches to research and dissemination of research and knowledge exchange.

    An academic framework for students in global citizenship, social enterprise and the embedding of features of curriculum for excellence which reflect citizenship is in development. We will commit to monitor and improve our social responsibility impact.

  • 8. United Nations Global Compact Principles

    The University of the West of Scotland is committed to the United Nations Global Compact Principles.

    Appendix 1

    UN Global Compact Principles

    Human Rights
    Principle 1: Businesses should support and respect the protection of internationally proclaimed human rights; and
    Principle 2: make sure that they are not complicit in human rights abuses.

    Principle 3: Businesses should uphold the freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining;
    Principle 4: the elimination of all forms of forced and compulsory labour;
    Principle 5: the effective abolition of child labour; and
    Principle 6: the elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation.

    Principle 7: Businesses should support a precautionary approach to environmental challenges;
    Principle 8: undertake initiatives to promote greater environmental responsibility; and
    Principle 9: encourage the development and diffusion of environmentally friendly technologies.

    Principle 10: Businesses should work against corruption in all its forms, including extortion and bribery.

  • Monitoring and Reporting
    It is important to monitor and report on Social Responsibility activities and their impact. While Social Responsibility is voluntary, the University has responsibilities to a broad range of stakeholders. It is not proposed to seek external verification of UWS Social Responsibility reports at this stage but compliance testing and review the impact of activities may be undertaken and reports will be provided to the Executive Group and Court as appropriate.

    Equality Impact Assessment
    The EIA was conducted as part of the original policy document, for information only.