Education and Student Success confidentiality statement

We (the University) are committed to working with you to support your wellbeing. To do this effectively, we need to share limited information. Our confidentiality statement explains how this works.

This statement applies to both prospective and current students. The term 'student' in this document includes applicants, undergraduate and postgraduate students.

What you can expect from all services

1. Our student-facing services are committed to treating you with dignity and respect. This includes handling any information you provide to us sensitively.

2. We work within the terms of the Student Agreement (PDF). All students sign the Student Agreement at registration.

3. Information is available to colleagues within the same service to effectively provide support. Information may be passed between services, but only if relevant to set up support.

4. Some information is shared during the application process. This is to ensure support will be in place throughout this process and when you join the University.

Sharing information with third parties

5. We work with professionals outside the University such as NHS mental health teams and agencies involved in your support or funding. They have their own confidentiality policies.

We only share relevant information to support you, and we will tell you in advance unless we have significant welfare concerns. In some situations, these external teams or agencies may contact you directly.

6. We do not agree to requests for information from parents, guardians or other third parties (unless covered by Data Protection exemption, for example, requests from the police). We will not confirm or deny whether you are a student unless you have given explicit (clearly stated) permission in advance.

7. We may need to share information where the law requires it, such as to detect and prevent terrorism. We may also need to share information where not doing so might affect the prevention or detection of crime.

8. All University staff are required to report safeguarding concerns to the relevant and responsible senior member of staff. Senior staff may report to external organisations, such as the police or local council.

9. Staff may provide information to relevant professionals as part of University processes, such as Support to Study.

Storage of information

10. All personal information is collected, stored and managed as stated in our  Student Fair Processing Notice, Data Protection Policy, and associated guidance.

We follow the requirements of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the UK Data Protection Act 2018. Further information can be requested from the University Secretary's Office.

11. Records are kept and stored securely, and only accessed by relevant staff when required.

12. Information may be stored on systems used by other services, but access will be limited.

Managing significant welfare concerns and emergencies

1. All students must provide us (the University) with an emergency contact when they register. The emergency contact information is held as stated in our Student Fair Processing Notice and current UK data protection legislation.

2. We may contact your emergency contact if we consider it important due to high or urgent risk.

3. You can choose to ‘opt-in’ for us to share information with your emergency contact in a situation where this could:

  • help reduce risk
  • and/or enlist support.

Learn more about circumstances where we might use your emergency contact.

Working with you and your academic school/faculty

1. Your school provides support related to your academic studies. It may be helpful to share relevant information with certain school staff including (but not limited to) a:

  • senior tutor
  • personal tutor
  • student administration manager
  • school disability coordinator.

2. The Student Wellbeing Service, Residential Life Service and Disability Services are the most likely to share information with your school to coordinate appropriate support. We will usually limit the shared information to the fact that we are working with you instead of sharing details about why.

It can be helpful to share the likely impact of wellbeing or health-related issues on your academic engagement and performance. This will help the school to support you as best they can.

3. If we think it would be helpful to share more information than the fact that we are working with you, we will discuss this with you. We will usually agree with you in advance on what to share. 

4. Where there is high or urgent risk, relevant information will be shared to help provide support and reduce risk. This information sharing is not limited to cases involving University processes such as Support to Study.

5. Disability Services routinely work with your School Disability Coordinator. It can be helpful to share relevant information to enable appropriate support and reasonable adjustments.  

Information sharing between services

We will share information between University of Bristol services on a need-to-know basis. This is with the intention of coordinating support or managing risk.

Where there are significant concerns, we may escalate to a multi-team meeting.

Multi-team meetings are intended to:

  • manage complex and high or urgent-risk student cases
  • enable shared decision-making
  • agree actions for services to manage risk at a senior level.

Multi-team meetings are chaired by a Divisional Director (or their nominee) and staff from the following services usually attend:

  • Disability Services
  • Residential Life Services
  • Student Counselling Service (including the Mental Health Advisory Service
  • Student Wellbeing Service
  • Students' Health Service (NHS)
  • Student Liaison Service (NHS).

We will tell you that you will be discussed if it is possible and appropriate to do so.

If we are unable to tell you, we will inform our NHS colleagues that we are sharing information without your knowledge for safeguarding reasons.

As NHS services, the Students’ Health Service and the Student Liaison Service will only share information about you with us if you have given consent. They may also share information if there are significant safeguarding concerns.

Specific requirements of individual services

Careers Service

Read the privacy statement and user terms in the Careers Service terms and conditions.

Disability Services

Disability Services may need to share your information with other University staff and external organisations to make 'reasonable adjustments' and support you effectively.

The Student Counselling Service

The Student Counselling Service is a confidential service that follows the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy's Ethical Framework for the Counselling Professions. It has its own confidentiality and data protection statement that explains privacy and confidentiality limitations.

The Student Counselling Service may use your mobile number to confirm or remind you about your appointment by text message. You can withdraw your consent for this at your first session or by emailing at any time.

The Students' Health Service

The Students' Health Service is an NHS service and follows separate guidelines relating to medical information and clinical records.

All consultations are confidential. Information will not be given to University staff, parents or anyone else without your permission. However, information may be shared with other clinical and support staff involved in your care.

Student Visas

Read the 'About our Student Visa Advisers' section in the Student Visas statement of service.

Student Funding Office (SFO)

The SFO may request relevant documentation from your school to support your application for financial assistance.

The confidentiality statement on the application form will explain what information they need.

This statement applies to the following services

  • Accommodation Office
  • Careers Service
  • Disability Services
  • Multifaith Chaplaincy
  • Residential Life Service
  • Student Counselling Service (including the Mental Health Advisory Service)
  • Student Funding Office
  • Students’ Health Service
  • Student Inclusion Team
  • Student Resolution Service
  • Student Services
  • Student Visa Services
  • Student Wellbeing Service
  • Wellbeing Access
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