Policies and Procedures

Please choose one of the headers below to read the relevant part of the page;

The word confidence is derived from 'confidere' to have complete trust in, and 'foedus' spoken, written or given in confidence. For confidentiality to exist there must be a certain degree of trust. Confidentiality involves protecting personal information held about an individual. Personal information has been defined as consisting of ' those facts, communications or opinions which relate to the individual which it would be reasonable to expect him or her to regard as intimate or sensitive and therefore to want to withhold or at least resist their collection, use or circulation' (Wacks 1989:26)

Within an institution such as the University a great deal of personal information changes hands and it is incumbent upon every individual who handles sensitive information to take all possible steps to ensure it is treated carefully and only shared on a need to know basis. It is University policy not to give information about a student to anyone outside the University without their express permission. This includes family members.

There are different levels of confidentiality operating within different parts of the University. Certain professions or departments have their own Code of Ethics which give clear guidance regarding confidentiality. These include the Student Counselling Service, the Chaplains, the Nurse, and the Money Support Unit. The Student Services has a policy on confidentiality and the Careers Unit have a Statement of Service which includes a section on confidentiality. Ask to see the guidelines if you need clarification or have concerns.

Most other members of the University staff are not bound by such a professional code but with specific reference to mental health difficulties still need to respect confidentiality. All staff are expected to treat personal disclosures sensitively and respectfully so that a relationship based on trust can be developed and maintained. This will help students to come forward and seek help. Whenever the need arises to share information about a student their consent should be sought, unless for some reason it proves impossible, the reason why explained, and the manner in which the information will be recorded made clear .

It can be to the student's advantage for other members of the University staff to know that they are experiencing difficulties, though it is unlikely that much detail would need to be shared. In most instances it is the support needs of the student and not the details of the disclosure that would need to be made known. Ideally, the student should consent to information being shared. Staff should make it clear what will be recorded, where it will be stored and who will have access to it. Any written information regarding a student's mental health difficulties which needs to be recorded should be written in a non-discriminatory manner and the use of jargon should be avoided. Terminology should be agreed with the student and the emphasis should be on support needs as opposed to diagnosis. The consequences of relevant information not being shared needs to be discussed with the student. Examples might include extensions to dead-lines being denied, lack of additional support and lack of understanding.

Students with long standing mental health difficulties may be covered by the Disability Discrimination Act. A student who declares that they have a disability because of an existing or previous mental health difficulty will have been asked to make personal contact with the Disability Adviser. As part of the process of assessing their support needs they will be asked to sign a 'Release of Information' form. This form asks for written consent for relevant details to be disclosed to persons having a need to see them, for example, academic staff, the library etc. See Policy and Procedure on the Protection and Disclosure of Information Relating to a Student's Disability.

In certain extreme circumstances the need to share information is vital. These are:

  • If the student is putting their life at risk.
  • If their mental health has deteriorated to a serious level such that they are unable to maintain daily living routines and relationships
  • If the student is putting the life of someone else at risk.
  • If the student's behaviour is adversely affecting the rights of others.
  • If staff are being placed in a position in which their professional integrity is compromised.
  • In such instances the student's consent should be sought if possible, but the safety and security of those deemed at risk must be the priority, including of course the student concerned.
  • There is a legal duty to protect children from harm. Social Services guidelines state:

'Anyone who has cause for concern that a child may be suffering or likely to suffer harm must refer the matter to the Social Services Department. Harm may be physical, sexual or emotional abuse or neglect'.

If a student provides information that gives good grounds for believing a child will be harmed or will continue to be harmed the staff member has a duty to protect the child. If the student is not prepared to inform Social Services themselves the staff member should do so. In such circumstances the student should be encouraged to seek appropriate help.

If a student wants to share something in absolute confidence staff should be wary about making such a commitment. They should explain to the student the circumstances under which such an undertaking could not be given. In addition staff may feel burdened by certain disclosures that a student might make, and for their own mental well being may need to share this information with a trusted colleague. It may well be possible to do this by talking about a hypothetical situation or not revealing the student's name.

Members of staff should be clear what their departmental guidelines are for handling sensitive information. The University's guidelines on Data Protection may need to be referred to, and guidance sought from the Data Protection Officer. If a student's mental health difficulties are such that they are admitted to hospital the responsibility for negotiating whether or not next of kin are to be advised is that of the hospital, and wherever possible with the consent of the student; similarly if the police are involved.

Certain courses which involve caring for the public e.g. teaching, nursing, may have additional criteria with regard to exceptions to maintaining confidentiality, as students are technically practising professionals as well as students, and may need to conform to external criteria with regard to 'fitness to practice'. In these circumstances, very clear information must be given to students about when exceptions may have to be implemented and about the relationship between support and other services e.g. Student Health or the Student Counselling Service.

Summary

It is University policy not to give information about a student to anyone outside the University without their express permission. This includes family members.

Every individual who handles sensitive information must take all possible steps to ensure it is treated carefully and only shared on a need to know basis.

Most members of the University staff are not bound by a professional code with the exception of counsellors, chaplains etc. However with specific reference to mental health difficulties they still need to respect confidentiality. All staff are expected to treat personal disclosures sensitively and respectfully so that a relationship based on trust can be developed and maintained. This will help students to come forward and seek help.

Whenever the need arises to share information about a student their consent should be sought, unless for some reason it proves impossible. The reason why should be explained, and the manner in which the information will be recorded made clear.

Members of staff should be clear what their departmental guidelines are for handling sensitive information.

It can be to the student's advantage for other members of the University staff to know that they are experiencing difficulties, though it is unlikely that much detail would need to be shared. In most instances the support needs of the student and not the details of the disclosure are what should be shared.

Any written information regarding a student's mental health difficulties which needs to be recorded should be written in a non-discriminatory manner and the use of jargon should be avoided. Terminology should be agreed with the student and the emphasis should be on support needs as opposed to diagnosis. The consequences of relevant information not being shared needs to be discussed with the student.

Students with long standing mental health difficulties may be covered by the Disability Discrimination Act. A student who declares that they have a disability because of an existing or previous mental health difficulty will have been asked to make personal contact with the Disability Adviser. As part of the process of assessing their support needs they will be asked to sign a 'Release of Information' form. This form asks for written consent for relevant details to be disclosed to persons having a need to see them, for example, academic staff, the library etc. See Policy and Procedure on the Protection and Disclosure of Information Relating to a Student's Disability.

  • In certain extreme circumstances the need to share information is vital. These are:
  • If the student is putting their life at risk.
  • If their mental health has deteriorated to a serious level such that they are unable to maintain daily living routines and relationships
  • If the student is putting the life of someone else at risk.
  • If the student's behaviour is adversely affecting the rights of others.
  • If staff are being placed in a position in which their professional integrity is compromised.

There is a legal duty to protect children from harm. Social Services guidelines state:
'Anyone who has cause for concern that a child may be suffering or likely to suffer harm must refer the matter to the Social Services Department. Harm may be physical, sexual or emotional abuse or neglect'.

In such instances the student's consent should be sought if possible, but the safety and security of those deemed at risk must be the priority, including of course the student concerned.

If a student wants to share something in absolute confidence staff should be wary about making such a commitment. They should explain to the student the circumstances under which such an undertaking could not be held (see above).

Staff may feel burdened by certain disclosures that a student might make, and for their own mental well being may need to share this information with a trusted colleague.

The purpose of data protection legislation is to ensure that personal data is not processed without the knowledge and, except in certain cases, the consent of the data subject, to ensure that personal data which is processed is accurate, and to enforce a set of standards for the processing of such information. The current data protection legislation is the Data Protection Act 1998. Unlike the previous Act, the 1998 Act covers data held in manual files as well as computer files.

Data subjects have the right to check the validity of the data held about them by Bangor University. By submitting a request in writing to the University Records Manager and paying the fee required the data subject may obtain a copy of all the data held about him/her. The appropriate form for making a data subject access request can be obtained from UWB's University Records Manager who administers all the requirements of the Act, or can be found on our website. The University Records Manager can be contacted on extension 2413 or email.

Further details about UWB's data protection policy can be found in UWB's Data Protection Handbook which can be obtained from the University Records Manager or found on our website.

Emergency Case Meeting

The Emergency Case Conference is convened by the Head of the Student Services Centre or her deputy. The purpose is to bring together a small group of people who either have knowledge of a student whose mental health is giving cause for concern and or who have specialist mental health or medical knowledge. Every attempt is made to convene the group within a day or two of the request being made.

Typically the Emergency Case Conference will be composed of the Head of the Student Services Centre, one or possibly two members of the University's staff who are in close contact with the student, the student's GP, a representative of the Student Counselling Service and a member of the Community Mental Health Team.

The group will meet once or twice in order to share information and knowledge so that the best possible way forward can be found when a student is displaying disturbed or disturbing behaviour.

The group may also meet to after the crisis has passed for the purpose of de-briefing.

Meningitis Protcol (Meningococcal Disease)

Definitions

The following case definitions will be used:

  • Suspected or Possible case : a clinical diagnosis of meningococcal meningitis or septicaemia without microbiological confirmation where the clinician and public health doctor consider that diagnoses other than meningococcal disease are at least as likely
  • Probable case : a clinical diagnosis without microbiological confirmation where the clinical and public health doctor consider that meningococcal disease is the most likely diagnosis.
  • Confirmed case : a clinical diagnosis of meningococcal meningitis or septicaemia which has been confirmed microbiologically by culture or non-culture methods.

Notification

Anyone, whether inside the University or external to it, who learns of, or has information about a suspected case of meningitis amongst the student population should immediately contact:

Head of the Student Services Centre
Tel. No.: (01248) 383543
Evenings/weekends: (01248) 364181

If the Head of the Student Services is not available, contact Steph Barbaresi in Student Services (Tel. 01248 382023 or a member of the University Emergency Team.

What happens next?

If the information has not emerged from the Bodnant Medical Centre or the Public Health Department, Head of the Student Services Centre Tate will inform/discuss the situation with both.

The Head of the Student Services Centre will immediately inform the Registrar, the Academic Registrar, the Warden of the Student's Hall (if relevant) and the President of the Students' Union.

The Academic Registrar will immediately form a University Emergency Team, comprising the following (or as many members as it is possible to assemble):

The Registrar (Chair)
The Academic Registrar
Dr. Richard Roberts, Consultant in Public Health
The Head of Student Services
The Head of Marketing & PR
The Press Officer
Dr. D.M. Evans
Warden of Hall (if appropriate)
President of the Students' Union
Welfare Officer, Students' Union

The Emergency Team will consider questions on the dissemination of information, the establishment of a helpline etc.

With regard to students on teaching practice (or other students on placement), specific action is required only if such students had had close contact with the person diagnosed as having meningococcal disease (see 'General Information' on page 3). A decision in this respect would be taken on medical advice at the time, as would a decision relating to students on placement where a case had occurred within the placement organisation.

All other Wardens and the student's Tutor/Head of Department will then be informed.

Information on any case will be given only to those whom the relevant medical advisors consider appropriate. Public Health may recommend wide distribution of information by the University (letters/notices) to convey a positive, reassuring message.

The Emergency Team in liaison with Public Health could request a visit by the Meningitis Research Foundation or the Meningitis Trust. They could refer callers to the Meningitis Research Foundation.

Disseminating information

The Emergency Team will consider and take a decision on the most effective means of disseminating information. This could include:
  • Email/Network bulletins
  • Posters
  • Information desks in Halls/other campus locations
  • Press releases
  • Press conferences
  • Individual letters to students/staff
  • Helplines

ON NO ACCOUNT MUST THE NAME OF THE STUDENT WHO IS ILL BE REVEALED OR RELEASED TO THE PRESS

The family of the student

The Hospital or the Public Health Department will liaise with family in the first instance. The University may get in touch at a later stage, and would deal with the situation using its normal procedures where serious illness, accident or death occurs.

Public health

Consultant in Public Health: Dr. Richard Roberts
Assistant: Sue Williams
Contact at: North Wales Health Authority
Preswylfa
Mold. Tel: 01352 700227
Out of hours number: 01248 689123 (North Wales Ambulance - ask for on call
public health doctor)

The Public Health Department is notified immediately by the Hospitals in the North Wales Health Authority Area where an admission has taken place. They will respond to any probable case (i.e. firm suspicion) or confirmed case.

The Public Health Department will be provided by the University with the names of all students in Hall of Residence concerned as soon as possible.

If the diagnosis is made outside the area (e.g. when a student has gone home for a weekend and been admitted to a hospital outside North Wales), it is the duty of the Doctor who first receives notification of the case, to notify Public Health, giving as much information as possible. There is an electronic message facility whereby Authorities throughout GB can be notified of a case when students disperse for vacations, for example.

General information

Persons at Risk

People who have been in prolonged close contact over the preceding 7 days prior to onset of illness.

Close Contacts are:

  • household contacts including family and friends
  • mouth kissing contact

Definition of Household: Halls of Residence will be considered to be in this category, depending on the degree and nature of contact between residents. However, the new Halls where there are four roomed flatlets, e.g. Y Borth, should certainly be considered as individual households.

Casual contacts: these are not at risk but may need information, the distribution of which is the responsibility of the University in consultation with Public Health.

Actions

Contact Tracing

It is the responsibility of the Public Health Department to trace all contacts.

The names of close contacts will normally be given to the Public Health Department by the Patient, relatives and friends. These people will then be advised to see their own GP for appropriate treatment. The University Health Nurse, Sister Ann Roberts will assist the Public Health Department in gathering and collating this information. Infection Control Nurses are also available locally to assist in the process.

Helpline

The Emergency Team will consider the establishment of a Helpline. The Meningitis Research Foundation will provide a Helpline in the first instance. Other possibilities to be considered include:

  • designating a number of University lines for the purpose
  • using lines provided by the Public Health Department
  • an amalgamation of both possibilities

Availability

Bodnant will designate a doctor to be available to deal with the University to provide information, advice, counselling etc., and to allay the fears of students and academic staff.

It may also be necessary for that doctor to speak to groups of students in Halls of Residence, and provide information packs in Halls. (Public Health have them available).

Ourbreak procedure

There is a standard 'Outbreak Control Plan' drawn up by Public Health. An Outbreak Control Team (OCT) is set up under the chairmanship of Dr. Richard Roberts, which would incorporate the University's Emergency Team.

OCT would appoint a press spokesperson. Dr. R. Roberts is press spokesperson on public health issues.

OCT might decide to close bars, postpone discos etc., but decision made in light of specific circumstances.

Awareness

The University will operate a meningitis awareness campaign at the beginning of each session, displaying posters and leaflets and issuing special 'credit type' cards with basic information.

The press

Dr. Richard Roberts (the Consultant in Public Health) takes on the role of press Officer in respect of Public Health issues as soon as the notification has been made. Questions from the press should be referred to him. Department of Public Health: Tel. No. 01352 700227.

A decision on who will speak to the Press on behalf of the University will be taken by the Emergency Team. The University's Press Officer will be closely involved in this process and may field enquiries.

Missing Students

1 Definition of Missing Student

1.1 When a student is not at University during term time it can be difficult to determine whether or not they are absent or missing. During the assessment period and reading weeks this is made even more difficult, especially as not all students reliably adhere to the regulation of leaving an address where they can be contacted if they are absent for more than one day. (UWB Rules of Residence, Student Guide 4.2)

1.2 For the purpose of this document the following definition is offered of a missing student:

A student is deemed to be missing from the University when their absence gives rise to concern and as a consequence an individual or individuals express(es) their concern.

The expression of concern may take the form of:-

a) A student speaking to a member of the University's staff

b) a member of staff reporting their concern to another member of staff, particularly to those staff members who have a designated responsibility for student support

c) the student's family expressing their concern

d) someone outside the University reporting their concern to a member of the University community

1.3 There may still be ambiguity as to whether or not the student is missing or absent and the next phase is to gather and co-ordinate information to clarify the situation. In so doing the University will be discharging its Duty of Care responsibly.

1.4 There may be times when a family member, especially a parent, contacts the University because they are concerned they have not heard from their son or daughter. In most cases all that is required is for the student to be contacted and told of their relative's concern with the suggestion that they make contact with them. The relatives could be told that a message has been passed on to the student. However if the student cannot be contacted a risk assessment should be carried out using the information listed below and, depending on the outcome, a decision taken as to the level of risk that exists, and the best course of action to follow.

2 Co-ordination

2.1 In many cases the initial phase will be carried out within the Academic Department or Halls of Residence. When the investigation needs to be widened, i.e. when it cannot be established that the student is not missing, it is advisable to have one person in Central Services to co-ordinate the activity and to avoid duplication of effort and potential confusion.

2.2 The most appropriate person to co-ordinate the investigation shall be the Head of Student Services, or a nominated deputy. They will ensure close liaison and co-operation between all those involved, be they academic staff, halls staff, support staff or students.

3 Confidentiality

3.1 The processing of personal data about students is subject to the terms and condition of the Data Protection Act 1998. Where there is genuine concern about a student's welfare then information can be shared if this is in the legitimate interests of the student concerned. However, all parties to the information have to be made aware of he need to maintain confidentiality wherever possible.

3.2 In addition there are some professional groupings within the University who are bound to the Code of Ethics of their profession, e.g. the Chaplains, Student Counsellors and the Student Health Nurse. The Student Services Centre has its own service delivery Confidentiality Policy. In responding to critical incidents and related matters the Head of Student Services will seek and impart information as needed.

3.3 Whilst there is a clear expectation that personal disclosures are treated confidentially, when a student is thought to be missing, and possibly at risk, any information which might be pertinent to the investigation should be shared between staff of the University. The decision as to when to involve any external agencies or individuals should be taken by the person leading the investigation in conjunction with key staff involved. In most instances this will be the Head of Student Services.

3.4 In order to avoid unnecessary distress to the student's family, in most circumstances they need not be contacted until initial enquiries have been completed and as much clarity as possible about the student's absence has been obtained. (See 6.1) However it is important to maintain a degree of flexibility dependant on the circumstances.

3.5 Those involved should seek the most sensitive means of finding out if the student has returned home without informing the University, but without causing unnecessary concern to the family, and taking into account all the known circumstances.

3.6 Students may go missing and when contacted not wish for their whereabouts to be disclosed to relatives or other interested parties. This confidence should be respected. (See National Missing Person's Helpline below)

3.7 If the University is contacted by the student's family it would be necessary to provide an explanation of U.W.B.'s policy on confidentiality in the first instance before proceeding with an assessment of the risk involved.

4 The Procedure

4.1 Some or all of the following steps should be followed once it has been decided to expand the investigation part the initial phase.

a) Notify Head of Student Services of her deputy. Out of office hours a contact number is available from Security which can be obtained by ringing 01248 352252.

b) An investigation incorporating a risk assessment should be commenced. See below

c) The following should be contacted to see if they can provide any useful information:-

i those sharing term time accommodation, including Hall Wardens/Tutors where appropriate

ii staff and students who have contact with the missing student from their Academic Department(s)

iii Students' Union - particularly if the student is a member of any groups or partakes in any activities/sports

iv any other known social contacts

v Welfare Services within the University which the student might use e.g. Student Counselling Service, chaplains, Students' Union Advice and Representation Service

d) The following information would need to be gathered:

i checking the departmental registers to check on the student's attendance

ii consulting with departmental staff for information regarding the student's academic progress, non-submission of work, personal circumstances etc.

iii checking with the Academic Registry to ascertain whether the student has registered for the given semester

iv checking with the Assistant Registrar/Withdrawals (Student Services) to ascertain whether the student has withdrawn

e) All contacts made and information gathered should be documented.

f) For speed, it may be appropriate for the above tasks to be delegated to a small team.

5 Risk Assessment

5.1 When conducting the information gathering task it is important to dind out the following:-

a) do they suffer from any form of physical or psychiatric condition that makes it desirable to have them considered a high risk? *

b) is their absence a significant change in their established patter of behaviour, which cannot be explained, and gives reason that some harm may befall them? *

c) are they usually resident abroad and have gone missing in the UK? *

d) are they usually resident in the UK and have gone missing abroad? *

e) are they aged 65 years or over? *

f) are there any drug/alcohol related difficulties?

g) have they stated an intent to harm themselves/others **

h) have they recently been involved in racial/violent incidents(s)?

i) have they been a victim of crime, especially harassment, bullying or violence?

j) do they partake in any hazardous sports or activities?

k) have they had any recent injuries, especially head injuries?

l) are there adverse weather conditions?

m) do they have a previous history of having been missing?

n) are there known to be family/relationship difficulties?

o) how long is it since the student was last seen by any member of the University community?

5.2 * Those marked with an asterisk are the factors which the police use to designate a missing person as ‘Vulnerable High Risk'. They also have a category which is ‘Vulnerable Low Risk' and which is applied when a person is identified as vulnerable but that it is clear the person has left of their own accord and is not believed to be at risk of significant harm.

5.3 ** Though this is not a category in the Police's list of Vulnerable High Risk, it is alluded to in the National Missing Person's Helpline and should be taken seriously.

6 Contact with the Family

6.1 Unless there is a clear reason as to why not, the missing student's family should be contacted once the initial investigation has been conducted.

6.2 A discussion will need to take place regarding contact with the police. The police may be formally contacted by the family or the University as appropriate. The contact should be made with the Police in the area from which the student was reported missing. In most cases this would be Bangor.

7 Contact with External Agencies

7.1 The Community Beat Manager has indicated a willingness to be contacted prior to a formal report of a missing student being lodged with the police. She might be able to offer advice or information. This should be done in conjunction with the Head of Student Services..

7.2 If there is a known mental health problem it may be appropriate to contact the Community Mental Health Team and/or Hergest Unit at Ysbyty Gwynedd.

7.3 Once the initial investigation has been completed and it is agreed the student is missing, the police may be formally contacted by the family or the University as appropriate. All information gathered and any action already taken should be shared with them. It should be made clear to the police whom they should contact within the University. In most instances this will be the Head of Student Services.

7.4 The University Registrar should be notided if the Police are being informed in order to oversee any briefings with the Press Officer should it prove necessary.

7.5 Once the police are involved formally, they will place the missing student's name on the National Missing Person's Helpline. This is a charitable organisation which has contacts throughout the UK and which can obtain publicity and media interest in a missing person enquiry. In addition the N.M.P.H. offers a service for those ‘left behind'. This is a support tole where practical help, advice and support are offered. The Helpline operates 24 hours a day and the number is 0500 700 700. In addition they also offer a Message Home service for anyone who has, for whatever reason, left his or her home and does not want to be traced. They can send a message home through this service without being traced to lessen the anxieties of those left behind.

7.6 If it is known that the student partakes in certain hazardous activities the appropriate rescue service may need to be contacted: for land based activities, the police, for Coastal or maritime activities H.M.Coastguard.

Procedures Relating to the Death of a Student or a Critical Incident involving a Student

Introduction

The death of a student is thankfully relatively rare.  However, should such an event occur it is important that the University has procedures in place to ensure that it is able to respond sensitively and appropriately to the situation, taking into account the distress caused and the needs of the student’s family, of staff, and other students.

The degree of involvement of the University in a student death or critical incident will depend both on the location and manner of the event.   The courses of action to be taken will therefore be dependent on the individual circumstances of each case, but general principles and procedures are outlined in order to assist staff and students who may be involved in such incidents.

The procedure identifies what action should be taken following the discovery of a death on campus, or the news of a student death off campus.   A small team of staff is identified whose responsibility will be to ensure that information is passed speedily to those who need to know, and that the University response to such an event is co-ordinated. 

The aim of the procedure is to avoid confusion by developing clear lines of responsibility which support and make coherent, rather than centralise, the valuable contributions of a number of University staff and students.

Clear lines of responsibility for staff who may be involved are outlined in Annex A – and support provision for staff and students is detailed in section 4.

Outline of the procedure document:

  • 1. Discovering a Death on Campus
  • 2. The Death of a Student off Campus
  • 3. Who to inform in the event of a Student Death
  • 4. Sources of support for staff and students
  • 5. Responsibilities of staff who may be involved

1.  Discovery of a Death on Campus

1.1 A death, unless it occurs within a hospital, must always be notified to the Police in the first instance. If a death occurs on campus, University Security should be alerted immediately on 2795, or 351151.  333 is the emergency number for contacting Security.

1.2 If a body is discovered, the area should be secured, but no other action taken until the Police have arrived and their advice given.    

1.3  The Police will arrange for the body to be removed, and for any necessary post mortem to be undertaken

1.4 University Security will contact the Head of Student Services or a member of a small team of staff who are responsible for co-ordinating the University’s response. 

1.5 The University staff who will co-ordinate the University response in the event of a death or critical incident, are:

The Head of Student Services (or Deputy)                        ext. 3543
The Academic Registrar                                                    ext  2030
The University Press Officer                                              ext  3298
The Head of School/College

1.6 If there are witnesses whom the Police wish to interview, they should be taken to a private area removed from the immediate scene as soon as possible, and provided with appropriate comforts.

1.7  The Police (or Hospital) will normally arrange for the next of kin to be informed.  The University may need to assist the Police by making available this information from the Student Records system (Banner)

1.8 In the unlikely event of the Police not undertaking this duty, the responsibility will be undertaken by a Senior Officer (the Academic Registrar or Registrar), who will seek to ascertain all known facts before contacting the next of kin.

1.9 Whilst knowledge about the sudden death of a student will become known very quickly to a portion of the University community, it is important that principles of ‘need to know’, and ‘need to support’ are considered at this stage.

2. Death of a student, or other critical incident which has occurred off Campus

2.1 Notification of the death of a student, or critical incident, off campus may be received by any member of staff or student within the University.   It is important that a member of the co-ordinating team is notified as soon as possible.  Notification out-of-hours may be made to University Security on 01248 351151 who will contact the relevant staff members.

2.2  It is important that, in the event of a student death or critical incident off campus, members of the team should ensure that relevant facts are confirmed by reliable sources before any notifications are made.


3. Who should be informed of a death or critical incident

3.1 University Security staff will normally be alerted to a critical incident or to a student death which occurs on campus-  2795 or 333 emergency number

Out of Hours numbers of the emergency team are available via University Security on 01248 351151

3.2  The member of staff contacted will notify other members of the team. The student’s Head of School will be notified immediately if this has not already been done.

3.3 The Team will also ensure that the following are notified:

The Registrar
The President of the Students Union.
The University Switchboard Manager

And, where appropriate;

The Director of Estates and Facilities
Senior Hall Warden
The International Office and the International Student Welfare Adviser

The student’s close friends/neighbours/colleagues will be informed

3.4  The Head of Student Services will be responsible for ensuring that all necessary staff and students have been informed.    All internal enquiries thereafter should be directed to the Head of Student Services, unless otherwise notified.

3.5  Depending on the nature of the incident, appropriate communication channels will be established and maintained between all those involved.   The lead may be taken by the student’s Department, where the death of a student will have most impact.  In this case the wishes of Departmental staff will be respected and the co-ordinating team will provide support to the Department.

3.6  It is important that all staff who are involved either during or after an incident have a clear idea of their roles and responsibilities.   It is also important that support is offered to both staff and students who may be affected. Attached to this document is an outline of the responsibilities of those who may be involved, (Appendix A) and information on the support which can be arranged. (Section 4)

3.7 Throughout, consideration will be given to the needs of the student’s family and to the needs of the student’s close friends and colleagues within the University.

4. Sources of support for staff and students

4.1  Support to staff who may have been involved in a traumatic incident can be arranged through the Department of Human Resources.

4.2   Support to distressed students following a student death will be provided by the Student Counselling Service.  Staff and students should contact the Head of Student Services, or the Head of the Student Counselling Service for details of any special provision following an incident.   However, we need to be aware that grief is a natural reaction, and that students may not need counselling provision immediately.  The Counselling Service will be happy to visit the department to meet with students and staff to discuss their needs following an incident.

4.3 The University Chaplaincy will provide support to both staff and students if requested.  Contact details of the Chaplaincy Services are available from Student Services and from the Student Services Web-Site.

4.5 Further information or advice following the incident may be obtained from the Head of Student Services

Appendix A

5.   Roles and responsibilities                                                                               

1.  The following postholders form the nucleus of the co-ordinating team, their role is to ensure as far as is practicable:

  • that appropriate people within the University and externally are informed of the event
  • that the legalities surrounding the event are being conformed to
  • that appropriate people are consulted and involved with further inputs that the University may wish or need to make

Academic Registrar

  • Inform Registrar; Senior Assistant Registrar, Student Records;   Director of Human Resources, Health & Safety Officer (if appropriate)                                
  • Liaise with Police;  Coroner’s Office, legal representatives as appropriate

Head of Student Services

  • Inform Head of Residences/ Director of Estates and Facilities
  • Inform Student Counselling Service;  Chaplaincy; International Office and International Welfare Adviser (if appropriate);  other Student Services staff as appropriate
  • Inform President of the Students Union
  • Co-ordinate offers of support to affected students
  • Inform University switchboard
  • Ensure all contacts have been made, be the designated contact person within the Institution.

Head of School

  • Inform Head of College
  • Inform Departmental Staff;  administrators; personal tutors; Senior Tutors
  • Inform fellow students
  • Liaise with next-of-kin,  making arrangements for visits if appropriate

Press Officer

  • Prepare a press statement and handle all media enquiries
  • Assist with the dissemination of information

 

2.   The following postholders may have responsibilities stemming from a student death, the aim in all cases is:

  • to ensure that the University creates an environment which shows compassion ,sensitivity and support to all those affected by the tragedy
  • to ensure that no routine administrative procedure is continued which may cause distress to relatives/friends of the deceased
  • to ensure that follow-up enquiries, internal or external, are channelled to the appropriate person

Registrar/Academic Registrar

  • Write a letter of condolence to the family/partner
  • Write to member(s) of University staff who had direct involvement with the death

The Switchboard Manager

  • Ensure that all external enquiries are channelled to the Press Officer, or other named person as agreed

Senior Assistant Registrar, Student Records

 

Information Services

  • Ensure that the student’s record is immediately updated, and that all internal administration enquiries are referred
  • Ensure that no University communications, including invoices are sent to the deceased’s address
  • Ensure that the Library, IT and other registrations in the name of the student are cancelled
  • Advise the Academic Registry on the most appropriate means of the return of outstanding library items.

Head of School/Head of College

 

 

 

  • Assist with informing staff and students connected with the deceased
  • Make appropriate contact with, and send a letter of condolence to, the family/partner of the deceased.
  • Arrange and assist appropriate representation by staff and students at a funeral and/or memorial service
  • Consider with others, but especially the family of the deceased, an appropriate memorial to the student and/or tribute at the funeral/cremation.
  • Liaise with Human Resources on the provision of follow-up support to staff

Senior Tutor

  • Ensure that students on course are informed in a timely and sensitive manner
  • Ensure availability of staff to any student who wishes to talk
  • Inform students of arrangements made through the Head of Student Services for counselling support

The Personal Tutor

  • Ensure his/her availability to students in the deceased’s tutor group
  • Contribute to the Department’s discussion on funeral arrangements, memorials, and contacts with the family/partner.

President of the Students Union

  • Write a letter of condolence to the family/partner
  • Ensure Student Union registrations and memberships are cancelled.

 

3.  The following may have particular responsibilities arising from the death of a student, depending on the circumstances of the tragedy.

International Student Welfare Adviser/International Office

  • Liaise with the consulate/embassy
  • Arrange where appropriate the involvement of University representatives in the student’s home country
  • Liaise with the student’s family on making appropriate arrangements for funeral/repatriation

Head of Human Resources

  • Ensure that appropriate arrangements are made for staff to seek help or support following a major traumatic event
  • Ensure that staff involved in a traumatic event are thanked and/or praised for their involvement

Health & Safety Officer

  • Assess the Health & Safety implications of any incident
  • Follow the reporting procedures laid down by the Health & Safety Executive
  • In consultation with the Police or other statutory authority, implement immediate closures or changes in practice where necessary

Student Health Centre

  • Take any action required by law as the result of a possible death by reason of infectious disease
  • Collaborate with the Local Health Authority and the University on the implementation of established health protocols.

Director of Estates and Facilities or Deputy

  • Inform ancillary staff - site office staff, domestics, security personnel –  and arrange support of residence staff if deceased was a Hall resident.
  • Implement as appropriate immediate closures or modifications to premises

Head of Residences

 

Hall Warden/Site Office staff

  • Arrange support for students and tutors if the deceased was a Hall resident
  • Liaise with the next of kin on the collection of the student’s belongings from her/his hall room

Head of Counselling Service

In consultation with the Department and others:

  • Arrange and disseminate the availability of counselling provision for distressed students.
  • Provide advice and guidance to staff and students

Chaplain(s)

  • Consult with the family and Department on the desirability of a memorial service and/or commemorative tribute.
  • Provide support to staff and students within the University community and to relatives if appropriate