General Policy

The purpose of this Policy is to establish a consistent approach to the development of University policies and procedures to ensure that members of the University community and other users have ready access to well-developed and clear policies.

Bath Spa University Statement on Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking

Dated 31 July 2020

Bath Spa University is proud of its vision to be a leading university in creativity, culture and enterprise. Underpinning this vision is a principle to act ethically; the University is therefore committed to establishing practices to combat slavery and human trafficking.

The University is a Fairtrade University. Increasing the range of products bearing the Fairtrade Mark that are sold by the University ensures that the relevant parts of its supply chain are more likely to meet Fairtrade standards that protect workers’ rights and guarantee payment of a minimum price.

Our structure

Bath Spa University is a higher education corporation established pursuant to the Education Reform Act 1988. It is also an exempt charity regulated by the Office for Students. The University’s principal place of business is at Newton Park, Newton St Loe, Bath BA2 9BN. The University has approximately 900 employees, the majority of which are based in the United Kingdom.

The University has two subsidiary companies, Bath Spa U Limited and Bath Spa Venues Limited. The annual turnover of the consolidated accounts of the University is in the region of £82,000,000.

The University comprises of eight academic schools: Bath Business School, Bath School of Art, School of Creative Industries, Bath School of Design, School of Education, School of Humanities, Bath School of Music and Performing Arts and the School of Sciences.

Several professional services departments exist to provide services to the students and the University as a whole. These include Human Resources, Academic Planning, Student Experience, Finance and Infrastructure, External Affairs, the University Secretary’s Office, Research and Graduate Affairs. Within Finance and Infrastructure, the procurement function supports academic schools and departments in ensuring the University obtains value for money in all the goods and services it purchases, in-line with the University’s Financial Regulations and the Public Contracts Regulations 2015.

Our Policies

We have a zero tolerance to slavery and human trafficking. The University maintains policies relating to procurement, sustainability, equality, wellbeing and diversity which together form a robust institutional effort to combat slavery and human trafficking. Where relevant, our policies extend to our suppliers in expectations of adherence to external regulations and University principles.

The University’s procurement policies are concerned with adherence to the conditions outlined elsewhere in this statement and in ensuring due diligence, and include a sustainable procurement policy.

The University is committed to conducting its business with honesty and integrity, and it expects all staff to maintain high standards. Staff are encouraged to raise concerns of a public interest or make a public interest disclosure as part of the Whistleblowing Policy which is designed to allow concerns of a public interest arising in relation to the University to be raised, investigated and where appropriate, acted upon.

Our supply chains

To ensure all those in our supply chain and contractors comply with our policies, we have in place a supply chain compliance programme. Wherever possible our supply chain is made up of suppliers who are registered under framework agreements such as Southern Universities Purchasing Consortium, Crescent Purchasing Consortium, Crown Commercial Services and Health Trust Europe.

Consultancies and construction work are also lodged under framework agreements to ensure compliancy with legislation.

Due diligence processes for slavery and human trafficking

Supply chain management from the consortia is routine throughout the contractual term and it is common for staff to manage contracts throughout the term to ensure value for money. On the occasions where a framework agreement cannot be used the University carries out due diligence on all new suppliers prior to placing a purchase order, as standard, this includes question pertaining to modern slavery compliance. Further engagement with the suppliers is subject to review dependent on this confirmation step and the University’s standard contractual clauses explicitly require adherence by all suppliers to the Modern Slavery Act 2015.

The University works to identify and assess potential risk areas within its supply chains, monitor and mitigate any identified risk and to protect whistle-blowers raising concerns.

Supplier adherence to Bath Spa University values and ethics

To ensure all those in the University and its supply chain and its contractors comply with our policies and procedures the University has put in place a supply chain compliance programme. This consists of procurement procedures, contract reviews and renewal of due diligence on contract renewal.

The University is committed to sustainable procurement and plans to implement ISO 20400 by 2025; a key part of this is the undertaking of a review of the University’s current procurement framework.


To ensure a high level of understanding of the risks of modern slavery and human trafficking in University business and its supply chains, the University offers training to all appropriate staff.

The process all University staff must follow, in the engagement of a new supplier and inclusion of querying the suppliers’ efforts and steps taken to ensure compliance with the Act, acts as an engagement tool to ensure that staff access the resources made available in the provision of compliance.

The publication of this statement and the University’s approach to ensuring compliance with the Act is shared with staff via news and updates in line with the publication of the University’s financial statements.

Further steps

Going forward, the University’s Sustainability Group will work closely with colleagues across the University including Procurement, Finance and Estates functions to monitor higher risk areas within the University’s supply chain.

This statement is made pursuant to section 54(1) of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 and constitutes the University’s slavery and human trafficking statement for the financial year ending 31 July 2020. It was approved by the Board of Governors of Bath Spa University on 25 November 2020.

We value diversity and we recognise that different people bring different ideas, knowledge and culture, and that difference can bring strength, creativity and innovation.

We believe that discrimination or exclusion based on individual characteristics and circumstances, such as the below, represents a waste of talent and a denial of opportunity for self-fulfilment:

  • age
  • disability
  • caring or dependency responsibilities
  • gender or gender identity
  • marriage and civil partnership status
  • political opinion
  • pregnancy and maternity
  • race
  • colour
  • caste
  • nationality
  • ethnic or national origin
  • religion or belief
  • sexual orientation
  • socio-economic background
  • trade union membership status or other distinctions.

We recognise that patterns of under-representation and differences in outcomes at Bath Spa University can be challenged through positive action programmes.

We respect the rights of individuals, including the right to hold different views and beliefs. We will not allow these differences to be manifested in a way that is hostile or degrading to others.

We expect commitment and involvement from all our staff, students, partners and providers of goods and services in working towards the achievement of our vision.

This policy has been developed in conjunction with the Equality and Diversity Steering Group (EDSG) and representatives from the recognised Trade Unions. The Equality Act 2010 defines nine protected characteristics, see definition of characteristics and the main impacts in Appendix 1 below.

In updating and reviewing this policy consideration has been given to the Public Sector Equality Duty and specifically the requirement to meet the General Equality Duty and the specific duties that have been designed to support and aid compliance with the general duty.

The University will have due regard to the need to:

  • Eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation;
  • Advance equality of opportunity between those who share a relevant protected characteristic and those who don’t; and
  • Foster good relations between those who share a relevant protected characteristic and those who don’t.

In addition the University will meet the requirement of the specific duties designed to support and aid compliance with the general duty, by:

  • Publishing information annually from 31st January 2012 that demonstrates our compliance with the General Equality Duty; and
  • Prepare and publish, at least every four years from 6th April 2012, one or more objectives we consider we should achieve to meet the aims of the General Equality Duty.

The Vice-Chancellor has responsibility and accountability for Equality throughout the institution and is also responsible implementing and monitoring this policy through the Equality and Diversity Steering Group. However, all members of the University, both staff and students, have a duty to ensure that individuals do not suffer from any form of harassment and that if they do, they are supported in seeking to eliminate it and in pursuing any legitimate complaint about the harassment.

s part of the UK Government’s strategy to reduce terrorism, the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 introduced a statutory duty on Higher Education Institutions to have “due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism”. This legislation is called the Prevent Duty and applies to all forms of extremism, including the Far Right, Islamist groups and animal rights groups. Prevent is one of the Government’s four strands of counter-terrorism strategy (CONTEST) and aims to stop people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism.

Bath Spa University is committed to being a fair and inclusive employer and will not discriminate against an applicant, employee or student who identifies as trans. Trans employees and students are entitled to be treated with respect and permitted to perform their roles free from harassment and unfair discrimination. Bath Spa University views harassment or discrimination against any student or employee on any grounds as a serious disciplinary offence.

Academic Policy

We have created document templates and handbooks for the below sections. To download a copy of these handbooks, please visit the Academic Policy Handbooks section of the staff intranet (login required). 

To request a copy of any of these materials, please contact

The purpose of the collaborative provision handbook is to provide information and guidance on the processes that are in place for

  • Establishing new partnerships
  • The means by which partners are approved to deliver programmes in collaboration with the University
  • Ongoing quality management and operational support of all partners.

All forms relevant to the process are included as part of the handbook. 

Our guidance on External Examiners and their role and processes within the University can be found in the External examiner handbook

It contains guidance on how to nominate and appoint an external examiner (including nomination forms), information about their role, the annual reporting process and the role of the School.

The modifications process enables staff to make amendments to their programmes or to existing modules, to add new modules or delete obsolete ones. Modifications can only be made at specific times during the academic year.

For details of the process please refer to the Modifications handbook.

The design of new programmes is undertaken by a programme design team. The process makes provision for consultation with key internal stakeholders who can advise on planning for delivery and detailed programme design. For details of the process please refer to the Programme design handbook.

The University recognises that, occasionally, it may be necessary and/or appropriate to cease offering a named award (including a pathway or mode of delivery). This may take the form of a suspension of recruitment, which is for a maximum of one year, or discontinuation of the named award.

For details of this process please refer to the Suspension of recruitment and discontinuation of a named award handbook.

The Quality and Standards checks are the University’s approach to monitoring. As a bi-annual process, it is a fundamental part of the academic year cycle and provides opportunity for enhancement and the sharing of good practice.

For further details of this process, please refer to the Quality and standards checks handbook.

Quinquennial enhancement review provides an opportunity to review the provision within a School and to identify enhancement opportunities. Quinquennial enhancement review facilitates the use of reflection to inform change.

For further details of the process, please refer to the Quinquennial enhancement review handbook.

Academic misconduct (unfair practice)

Bath Spa University emphasises the need for academic integrity at all times. This means that students are expected to be honest in their studies, acknowledging the work of others where appropriate and giving credit where they have legitimately used other people’s ideas as part of presenting their own work

Bath Spa University is clear that all students will be judged on their own ability and that all assessment work submitted must be original. Academic Misconduct is defined as any activity used by a student which provides them with an unfair academic advantage over others. Academic Misconduct is sometimes called ‘unfair practice’ or ‘cheating’. The University regulations pertaining to Academic Misconduct can be reviewed in Section 11 of the University’s Academic Regulations.

Academic Misconduct is different from Poor Academic Practice, which the University defines as a minor breach of standard academic conventions, such as poorly attributed or incorrect referencing, or limited over-reliance on reference material, usually resulting from a misunderstanding or lack of confidence in conventions and where there is clearly no intention to deceive. Poor academic practice will be dealt with as part of the marking and feedback process, as it represents a failure to follow assessment and marking criteria.

You’re expected to present your own words, your own analysis and your own arguments in your work. It is acceptable to use the work of others to support arguments and analysis, and tutors will be able to inform you as to what constitutes good practice and give help with conventions such as referencing and the provision of footnotes. If you’re in any doubt about what constitutes good practice and what constitutes plagiarism, you’re advised to consult your tutors for advice. It’s also recommended that you seek advice from the Writing and Learning Centre regarding academic writing and referencing.

Where cases of Academic Misconduct are suspected, the University will follow the Academic Misconduct Policy outlined below. Students should be in no doubt that Academic Misconduct is regarded as a very serious offence in higher education. Pleas that a student was not aware of the offence or its consequences, or didn’t understand what constitutes Academic Misconduct, won’t be accepted under any circumstances. Academic Misconduct will result in a penalty even when it’s unintended or unwitting.

Students should be aware that an Academic Misconduct case can be opened at any time, even if the student has graduated and is no longer a current student.

Bath Spa University is a member of the Turnitin UK Service and uses this service to aid Academic Misconduct detection. All student work is fed through the online Turnitin system, which compares the document against a database of billions of internet pages, previous student papers and journals (amongst others). Turnitin provides an originality report for each document uploaded to it, which shows the level of similarity with other sources.

Plagiarism detection is not limited to the use of Turnitin. Tutors will also look to evidence of the following:

  • Plagiarism from published texts (not necessarily available online)
  • Similarities with the work of other students which may suggest collusion
  • Content that appears to be clearly beyond the known capabilities of a student
  • Work that’s expressed in a style which does not match the known writing or language abilities of a student.

Academic Misconduct may take a variety of forms, and the following explains some of the most common types of Academic Misconduct. This list is not definitive; any activity which meets the University’s definition of Academic Misconduct may be considered under this policy.

Penalties for academic misconduct

Where an accusation of unfair practice has been substantiated to the satisfaction of the Academic Misconduct Panel, the accusation is said to be established. In determining the appropriate penalty, the Academic Misconduct Panel will usually consider the following:

  • The degree of deception involved
  • Whether the student has been subject to a previous accusation of Academic Misconduct
  • The level of study
  • The extent of the Academic Misconduct
  • Any admission and/or explanation by the student of the Academic Misconduct.

It’s possible that additional factors may be considered when determining the appropriate penalty, if these are deemed relevant by the Academic Misconduct Panel.

Students should be aware that an established accusation of Academic Misconduct may lead to severe consequences for the career prospects for a student on a course which has a particular focus on honesty, integrity and ethical behaviour.

The University has published a table of categories, which dictates the penalties available to the Academic Misconduct Panel. As many variables are taken into consideration by the Panel when determining an appropriate penalty, it’s not possible to provide a definitive list of offences and the penalty these will incur. The following table is therefore intended to provide an indicative estimation only.

Indicative level of offenceExampleIndicative penalty category
  • Poor referencing
  • Very minor plagiarism
  • Repeated minor misconduct
  • Sustantial portions of directly copied / unreferenced text 
  • Stealing an exam paper
  • Purchasing essays
  • Falsifying research data


Students should note that, at Penalty Category 4 and above, the consequences will include a permanent record on the student’s transcript, and the requirement that any capped mark (which may be zero) must count for classification purposes (above Level 4).

Students should be aware that, if the module to which an Academic Misconduct penalty has been applied is subsequently failed, the penalty will be carried over and will apply to whatever module is added to a student’s record as a result of the failed module.

Students should be aware that instances of very severe Academic Misconduct may additionally lead to disciplinary action.

The full list of Academic Misconduct penalty categories can be found in the Academic Misconduct Penalties (.pdf).

Where Academic Misconduct is suspected, the tutor(s) should complete a copy of the form below, summarising the nature of the offence and providing appropriate evidence (e.g. colour Turnitin Report showing similarity scores). This should be emailed to Student and Registry Services (

Student and Registry Services will contact the student by email, attaching the report and a copy of the Academic Misconduct policy, and requiring a written response by a specified date. Students are given ten working days to respond to the accusation. The tutor(s) will be asked to comment on the student’s response.

The Academic Misconduct Panel will consider all aspects of the case, including the report from the tutor(s), any response from the student and any subsequent comments from the tutor(s).

Where Academic Misconduct is suspected, it is important for the tutor(s) to submit a report and evidence to Student and Registry Services within a suitable timeframe to enable the Academic Misconduct Panel to receive sufficient evidence to fully consider the case and to advise the next University Assessment Board of the Panel’s decision.

When students receive a copy of the Academic Misconduct accusation, they’re advised that they may request a meeting with their tutor(s) to discuss the matter. It’s recommended that at least two members of staff should be present at the meeting and a written record taken.

If tutors have any additional questions about the procedures for dealing with accusations of Academic Misconduct, the’re encouraged to contact Student and Registry Services via email: or telephone +44 (0)1225 876115.



Stage Two: Review

If you wish to request a review of the decision of the Academic Misconduct Panel, please submit this request by email to within ten working days from the date of written notification of the Panel outcome. Further details are available on the University’s Appeal Policy and Procedure.

Students Policy

The student agreement is an important document that will guide you through what the University expects from you as a student, and what you can come to expect from us as a University. If you have any questions regarding this document, you can contact your current student representative through the link below.


Plagiarism is submitting the work or ideas of someone else as your own, without appropriate referencing. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Copying sections from one or more books / articles / other published sources without acknowledgement of the source(s). It’s still plagiarism if you reproduce sections from several sources rather than one.
  • Excessive dependence upon one or a limited number of sources is plagiarism if the sources are inadequately referenced, even if the original text has been paraphrased.
  • Copying from other members while working in a group.
  • Submitting your own previous work (in whole or in part) from another course / module, even if this is from a different institution. This is sometimes known as ‘self-plagiarism’ or ‘double-counting’.
  • Submitting the work of any third party, including students and former students.

Impersonation is submitting work prepared by another person for assessment purposes. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Purchasing essays
  • Writing an assessment for another student.

Collusion is the failure to work independently, where this is required, and passing the work off as your own individual effort.

Students should note that collusion is different to collaboration and some assignments may specify that students should work together and submit joint work. Students should never submit joint work unless it is clearly stated as a requirement in the module’s written documentation, and, in such cases, students should always seek clarification from their tutors as to the level of collaboration that is acceptable.

All students implicated in a case of collusion will be considered as having breached Academic Practice, even when one student is believed to have copied from another. This is because the act of not adequately securing your work or sharing / showing someone else your work can make you culpable for collusion. Only where students can provide clear proof that their work has been stolen or otherwise acquired without their consent may they be exonerated from the accusation of collusion.

Exam misconduct means breaching exam regulations to gain an unfair advantage. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Use of unauthorised technology during the exam
  • Use of unauthorised notes / other aids
  • Refusing to hand in your paper at the allocated time
  • Impersonation in exams.

Falsification means submitting data, observations or other research in assessed work which has been either fabricated or falsified.

Policy Themes

*The Contract Management Policy will not apply to Bath Spa University precedent contracts (such as contracts of employment) that:

(i) have been approved as an exception by the University Secretary pursuant to the Financial Regulations; and
(ii) have not been substantially varied.