Statement from Roger Gair, University Secretary

The University has been dealing with a grievance raised against it.

The exterior of the Great Hall. July 2020.

The University has been dealing with a grievance raised against it by Ms Sue Kilminster, a Principal Research Fellow in Leeds Institute of Health Sciences (and previously within Leeds Institute of Medical Education). Following full consideration of that grievance, I wish, on behalf of the University, publicly to acknowledge that, in a number of significant respects, Ms Kilminster was not treated as well as we would have wished. I also acknowledge that our attempts to resolve the issues – whilst undertaken in good faith – took too long and were, until very recently, ineffective. As a result, I have offered Ms Kilminster our wholehearted apologies, both for the difficulties she encountered and for the impact they have had on her. 

In the light of the grievance, we have undertaken to review the operation of some of the University’s current procedures (in particular our conduct, grievance and research misconduct procedures), looking in particular at how those procedures work in practice and how they connect with the University’s Equality and Inclusion strategy. We will work with our Trades Unions and representatives of relevant networks towards these ends.

Some of the work described above is already under way. The review will include:

  • enhanced training for investigators who are looking at cases under the staff grievance, discipline, dignity and mutual respect and/or research misconduct procedures requiring in particular that they ensure early dialogue with all parties to enable the investigators to consider any adjustments that might be needed to accommodate ill-health or disabilities and to reinforce the importance of objectivity, consistency and the avoidance of conscious or unconscious bias or other preconceptions (messages which are inherent in our policies and which are already set out in our existing E&I training modules); 
  • consideration of alternative pathways for resolution of issues; 
  • challenge to any presumption that, in the case of conflict, the complainant or more junior member of staff should always be the one to be moved or otherwise subject to special management or organisational arrangements. 

We sincerely hope that the measures summarised will ensure that the type of difficulties experienced by Ms Kilminster will not affect staff in future, but that if issues do arise they can be addressed effectively and with empathy and compassion. 

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