Trusted Contact

You can nominate someone as a Trusted Contact for the University to contact if we have concerns about your welfare. 

It's up to you whether you give us the name and number of a Trusted Contact. If you do, and we're worried about your immediate safety, we might call them if we think it will help manage your risk.

You can change your mind any time about who your Trusted Contact is - or whether you want to have one at all - by updating e-Vision.

It is expected that students who are unwell will engage with the NHS and other statutory agencies according to their needs. If, however, the University becomes aware that students are unwell, causing us to have concerns for their welfare, we may, where we regard it as appropriate, seek to engage with third parties to address those concerns. 

A Trusted Contact or an Emergency Contact?

An Emergency Contact will usually only be contacted in the event of an emergency when a serious concern for your health and safety has occurred which means your consent to share information cannot be sought. Providing details of an Emergency Contact is a mandatory part of the enrolment process. 

A Trusted Contact may be contacted to support you prior to any emergency taking place. This may happen if we believe the Trusted Contact’s support will help reduce your risk of harm. Contacting your Trusted Contact will only happen when the University has serious concerns that you are at significant, imminent risk and where we believe you or others may come to serious or lasting harm.

You do not have to give details of a Trusted Contact when you enrol but it is strongly recommended. You should always let the person you name as Trusted Contact know you are providing their details. The person who you nominate as your Emergency Contact can be the same person you nominate as your Trusted Contact.

You can opt out or change the details of your Trusted Contact at any time - update your Trusted Contact record on e:Vision.

Who can be a Trusted Contact?

The person you name as Trusted Contact must:

  • know you well (i.e. know your medical history, previous behaviours and any prior professional support)
  • be able and willing to act in your best interests to support you
  • be over the age of 18
  • ideally be able to speak English

In most cases, a trusted contact will be your parent, a guardian, spouse or other close family member. It can be someone else - it is most important that it is someone you trust. You should be confident the Trusted Contact you choose will respect your privacy and understands how to handle the responsibility. It is your responsibility to inform your Trusted Contact that you have chosen them to act in this important role. 

When might the University contact the Trusted Contact?

It is unlikely that we would ever need to get in touch with your Trusted Contact. When there are serious concerns, wherever possible we would not normally use your trusted contact without your expressed consent. However, we would consider speaking to your Trusted Contact when we believe that you are at significant, imminent risk and where we believe you or others may come to serious or lasting harm

Every situation is different and it is not possible to provide an exhaustive list. The following are examples of circumstances in which we might get in touch with your Trusted Contact and share personal information, but each case will be considered on its own merits.

  • You are exhibiting behaviour that may pose a serious risk to your safety and wellbeing or that of others and are not engaging in professional support.
  • You have not recently been seen in your accommodation, we have been unable to contact you and you are considered missing. 
  • You have an ongoing serious illness and you appear to be deteriorating.  
  • A third party has reported significant concerns and we are not able to contact you to establish your safety and wellbeing.  

By providing us with a trusted contact you are providing consent to the University to contact this individual in circumstances such as these. You can withdraw your consent at any time by deleting or changing your identified trusted contact in e:Vision or informing the member of support staff working with you.

Further information

Any decision to get in touch with your Trusted Contact or to share personal information without your consent would be taken by senior support staff from Student Life and Wellbeing who are experienced in supporting student welfare and wellbeing. 

Before deciding to contact a Trusted Contact at least two of the following staff will discuss your unique situation:

  • Director of Student Life and Wellbeing
  • Head of Open Door and Disability
  • Senior Open Door Practitioner
  • Senior Colleges Manager
  • Head of Campus Safety 
  • Head of Student Support
  • Head of Student Conduct and Respect

The discussion will consider the risk you may be at, your recent behaviour, your previous engagement with support, our knowledge of your medical history, concerns others may have shared, concerns about your capacity to make safe decisions, whether sharing information with others may increase the risk of harm to you or another person and what support you most need to keep you safe. 

Whenever we share personal information about a student with their Trusted Contact, we keep a record of the justification for this decision, the nature of the information shared, with whom, and the time and date of the disclosure.

The University works in partnership with statutory/emergency services, agencies and other third-party organisations where this helps to keep students, staff and the community safe. 

With your consent, we may pass your trusted contact information to relevant agencies so that they can help facilitate the provision of support you may need at that time. 

The University may share your Trusted Contact information with the emergency services if requested to do so without your expressed consent if circumstances warrant it. This could be if we think this is in your best interests, it may help to prevent harm to you or to someone else or it is requested as part of a police investigation or may be helpful to the emergency services for the purpose of your admission to hospital. 

Information for a Trusted Contact

When we will or won't contact you

As an adult educational establishment student autonomy is vital. We begin from the basic principle that our students are best placed to make the best decisions for themselves. This may mean students choose not to share details about their situation with their family and loved ones. It will only be on rare occasions, as described above, that we decide to override that student autonomy and contact a Trusted Contact.

The University provides a wide range of opportunities, activities and support for students and promotes these to enable students to achieve their academic and social goals. The University strongly encourages students to engage, as better engagement is a predictor of academic success. However, students can choose to engage in academic and social activities as much, or as little, as they like. 

Students engaging with medical services

Students with health concerns who are engaging with medical services would usually not be seen as a reason to contact a Trusted Contact. Health services will have their own information sharing protocols which do not include updating the University. Should a student be engaged in medical treatment it would be for the health service to decide whether to share that information with others.

Students receiving University support

When a student is receiving support from a University support service it is usual that the staff member will ask the student about their support network. Encouraging the student to share information about their situation, if safe and appropriate, with friends and family is common as staff support students. The University recognises the benefits of students' broader support networks and will want them to choose to access all of the support available to them as they see fit. This is important for Trusted Contacts to know as often students do not want family or friends to know about the situation they find themselves in. Student autonomy is vital and the University would respect that aside from particular situations described above. 

It is important for Trusted Contacts to know that a students’ consent to share is fluid. While a student may have opted-in to the Trusted Contact process at enrolment/re-enrolment, they are able to change their minds. If support staff are working with a student and ask if information can be shared with others, e.g. the Trusted Contact, and the student says no then that is the decision of an autonomous adult the University will adhere to.