New policy and action plan to create an inclusive environment across UCL

Three women talking on the Wilkins Terrace at UCL
Three women talking on the Wilkins Terrace at UCL
UCL has published a new policy and agreed on an initial five-year action plan to create campuses that are inclusive, welcoming and accessible to everyone in our community.

The Inclusive Environments Policy and accompanying five-year action plan have been passed by UCL’s Operations Committee.  

These set out a clear framework for ensuring our buildings, facilities and services are designed and delivered in a way that meet the needs of all our students, staff and visitors, and for removing barriers that prevent anyone from being able to participate equally, confidently and independently in their activities across our campuses and venues wherever possible. 

Read the Inclusive Environments Policy.

UCL’s Inclusive Environments Policy 

Developed through a thorough consultation with our staff and students, this is the first policy of its kind to be agreed at an institutional level, demonstrating our commitment and strategic approach to inclusivity and diversity. 

The policy makes it clear how relevant teams at UCL are accountable for delivering the action plan, while recognising that providing an inclusive environment is the shared responsibility of our whole community. 

While we won’t be able to solve all the issues that were raised when speaking with our community in just five years, this is only the first of many action plans, and we will continue to engage with those affected by barriers to inclusion to ensure we are prioritising actions that make the most difference.  

Read more about the consultation process and the biggest priorities raised by our community.

Inclusive environments are an important part of our overall Estates strategy, and whilst we know there is more work to do - this policy is an important step in ensuring that we build inclusive environments into our plans as we work together on the Master Plan for the University." Aimie Chapple, Vice-President Operations
I am very excited to be working with colleagues in Estates and Operations to embed inclusive design principles in all we do, creating an inclusive campus that is welcoming to all." Alison Koslowski, Pro Provost Equity and Inclusion 

Initial five-year action plan 

The action plan breaks the work down into eight strands, all with prioritised actions and each with a strand lead.  

From 2023-2028 this work will be focused on: 
  • Design - We will aspire to the highest level of inclusive design in all building works, and continually review UCL guidance to ensure we embed inclusivity into all we do. 
  • Improvement and refurbishment - We will start a programme of works to automate doors where possible, and a rolling programme of refurbishments and works to increase the availability and standards of accessible and inclusive toilets.  
  • Communication - We will provide easy to access information about inclusive design features in our buildings and facilities, regularly engage with inclusion networks, and clearly communicate changes and improvements. 
  • Monitoring - We will set up clear processes for monitoring and reporting progress with clear lines of responsibility and accountability for the actions in the plan. 

What to expect next 

While the publication of the Inclusive Environments Policy and agreement on a clear action plan, along with the wider Estates Strategy shows our commitment to change, we also need to be clear that this change will take some time.  

With an estate of over more than 250 buildings - two thirds of which are listed and/or in a conservation area - comprising 6.5 million square foot, and following years of underinvestment in maintenance, it will take a whole university approach to achieving our aims. 

We will shortly be launching an education programme on inclusive environments for Campus Infrastructure and Operations and Estates Development staff. The programme aims to equip our teams with inclusive design knowledge that can help future-proof buildings across the UCL Estate, and to make UCL a role model in inclusive environments and continue as a world leading higher education destination.   

We’re now working on setting up the Inclusive Environments subcommittee that will report on progress against the action plan to Operations Committee. As well as setting up project groups for the first three strands of work looking at reasonable adjustments, door accessibility improvements and toilet accessibility improvements. 
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