Embedding health and sustainability

Self-Review Tool

NOTE: As part of the redevelopment of the Self-Review Tool users will need to re-register to use this new revised and improved version


The Self-Review Tool supports universities to review and reflect on their progress in embedding a whole system approach to health and wellbeing

The Self-Review Tool is not a cross-institution benchmarking tool for universities to compare and compete – and the reports generated will be confidential to you. It has been designed to facilitate strategic-level engagement and partnership development within individual HEIs, and  to allow for internal benchmarking over time.

The Self-Review Tool is designed to be used on-line – and to get started, you will need to register. During this process, you will be alerted as to whether anyone else from your institution has already registered. It is recommended that you liaise with colleagues to ensure that you take a co-ordinated approach within and across your university and students’ union. Ideally, a multi-departmental and multi-service group should use it to assess progress and inform planning, thereby building up a picture of where the institution is at on its Healthy University journey and guiding future responses to student, staff and community health and wellbeing. A downloadable version is available to facilitate this group process, enabling different individuals to complete drafts of specific sections prior to the on-line tool being completed and submitted.

You may find it useful to review the UK Healthy Universities website and wider toolkit to inform your self-review process.

What does the Self-Review Tool consist of?

The Self-Review Tool is an online questionnaire structured under five headings that reflect the key areas that a university should be addressing when working towards their goal of becoming a Healthy University:

  • Leadership and Governance: This section of the tool focuses on the corporate commitment of the university in working towards becoming a Healthy University.
  • Service Provision: This section of the tool identifies the level of service provision on and off site to support the health and wellbeing needs of staff and students.
  • Facilities and Environment: This section of the tool supports the university in reviewing the facilities it provides and the environment it creates to support the health and wellbeing of staff and students and the wider community.
  • Communication, Information and Marketing: This section of the tool reviews the processes involved in communicating health and wellbeing information and messages to staff and students and how the university markets health and wellbeing in its promotional materials.
  • Academic, Personal, Social and Professional Development: This section of the tool deals with how the university uses the opportunities presented by curricula, research, knowledge transfer and professional development to improve health and wellbeing and respond to the needs of its staff and students.

Under each sub-heading, there are statements giving an opportunity to reflect and review current progress by choosing one of four qualitative ‘multiple choice’ responses:

  • No not at all / Don’t know: i.e. the university has not yet engaged with this area of work or you do not know and are unable to find out the answer.
  • Thinking about it: i.e. the area of work has been raised as an issue for consideration or there are pockets of isolated activity.
  • Working on this currently: i.e. the university as a whole has made a strategic-level commitment.
  • Yes we are there: i.e. the university as a whole has acted on this strategic-level commitment.

Additionally, under each question, a drop-down text box is available for you to make a note of ‘evidence’ that you have used when deciding which of the four responses to choose. This will be helpful when you repeat the exercise and want to benchmark your progress.

Under each section of the questionnaire, a further text box is available in order to record any additional activity not captured by the questions – allowing you to record examples of innovative and creative activity.

Whilst you will be able to scroll through the questionnaire online, you must complete every question (even if you answer ‘don’t know’ to some) in order to be able to submit. Once a university has completed the online tool and submitted its responses, a graphic representation (red, amber, green) of levels of progress under each key heading will be generated. This will highlight those areas where the university is achieving and those areas where additional input is needed. It should be noted that this report does not constitute a detailed analysis – rather, it is designed as a helpful mechanism for guiding future decision-making and action-planning. The red/amber/green calculation is based on assigning a score for each question: 0% for No not at all / Don’t know, 33% for Thinking about it, 66% for Working on currently and 100% for Yes we are there. Each area is rated on its average score: red for under 45%, amber for 45-69% and green for over 70%.

What the Self-Review Tool does not offer

We recognise that some universities will find it challenging to complete the questions in a way that they feel adequately reflects the differential progress that they have made with different population groups (e.g. students or staff) or on different topics and themes (e.g. mental wellbeing, food, physical activity). However, in keeping with the whole system focus of Healthy Universities, we have deliberately kept the focus of the tool ‘general’.

If you feel that it would be valuable to complete the questionnaire separately for different population groups and/or different topics and themes, you are able to do this – just keep a record of your focus when you register.

You may also find it useful to explore and use alternative resources. For instance, Public Health Wales has launched its Healthy and Sustainable FE and HE Framework – which uses a matrix approach to map and assess progress in relation to six health-related topics that across four aspects of college and university life.

From tool to action

Based on this profile, universities will be able to set priorities and develop action plans, which can be monitored and reviewed by a cross-university group. It is important that the tool does not encourage complacency: even when universities score green, there is always room for further improvement and enhancement!

It is suggested that the Self-Review Tool be used on an annual basis to review and benchmark progress.