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University of Southampton

Case Study
Non-Academic Misconduct Policy Review

Halpin was commissioned by the University of Southampton to carry out a review of their current Non-Academic Misconduct Policy and to provide guidance in support of the launch of ‘Report and Support’. This was in anticipation that the University may receive an increased number of reports of harassment, bullying and sexual misconduct that will lead to greater use of the policy.

We considered how the expectations of behaviour and conduct in the University community were set, communicated and managed throughout the student journey. This would support the University in responding in a fair, proportionate and timely way, and communicating this through its policies and procedures. We also assessed the University’s current and recommended practices against the OfS expectations.

We discovered some excellent practice and levels of support from knowledgeable and experienced staff and engaged students at Southampton. There was an enthusiasm for change to ensure that the University supports students when incidents happen, that expectations of behaviour and conduct are set and managed, that the process is transparent and timely, and the outcomes of any cases proportionate and fair.

We made a series of recommendations to improve the policy and associated procedures, including practical information on where policies and accompanying guidance should be located, training for staff and students on various roles and responsibilities and the reporting process. Working with our legal partners Shakespeare Martineau we gained legal advice on our recommendations to ensure that they were compliant with current legal thinking in the area of complaints and the status of legal and civil cases.


  • Revised policies and procedures.
  • Examples to support defining misconduct at all levels and appropriate sanctions.
  • Work with the student community and Students Union to increase awareness of the platform and process for making a recording an incident.
  • Guidance and recommendations on training and regular training intervals for staff to ensure they are properly supporting policies and procedures, and also to ensure that their own health and wellbeing is supported by the University.

““The report surpassed my expectations with the level of depth, detail and expertise shared. It has been well received across the board and helped moved things forward at a rate we could not have achieved otherwise.” – Emma Rowsell, Associate Director – Student and Education Services and Student Experience, University of Southampton