As a student, you are required to provide the University with an emergency contact in case we need to contact them if we have serious concerns about your welfare.
Families, carers and trusted others can play an essential part in supporting a student who is at risk or where there may be serious concerns.
This page will cover:
- Providing and updating emergency contact details
- Who can be an emergency contact
- Circumstances when the University may use an emergency contact
- Deciding to contact the emergency contact
All students are required to provide details of an emergency contact when registering for their programme at the start of each academic year. This information is held on the University’s student record system, in accordance with the University’s Data Protection Policy and current UK data protection legislation.
Students can nominate anyone they choose to be their emergency contact. We expect that for most of our students the emergency contact will be a partner, parent, guardian or close friend. However, you should be aware that it could be another responsible individual. Students are asked to keep these details up to date and fill them in each year at Registration. The student can change these and other details at any other time via the Ask Herts Hubs.
The University will assume that the information is up to date and may need to use it without being able to check with the student first. Therefore, it is essential that students review it regularly to ensure that the information is correct.
An emergency contact should:
- be aware that they have been nominated as an emergency contact.
- be available and prepared to support the student if called upon.
- understand the student's medical and social history.
- in most cases, they would be a parent, guardian, spouse or other close family member.
Students should provide their emergency contact's:
- mobile phone number.
- email address.
- full address including post / zip code.
Students should ensure that the emergency contact is aware that they have been nominated and that their contact details will be given to the University. Students should also ensure that the emergency contact has given permission to be an emergency contact. Wherever possible, students should give a mobile phone number as well as a landline telephone number so that contact can be made quickly.
Under data protection legislation, we may disclose personal information about a student without consent when it is in their ‘vital interests’ to do so; this means in serious or life and death situations.
You can find out more about what this means here: Vital Interests
Every student is an individual and their personal circumstances at the time will be taken into consideration before using the emergency contact details provided. The professional judgement of our Student Wellbeing & Safeguarding staff will be used in deciding whether to alert the emergency contact to a welfare concern.
The following are examples of circumstances in which we might inform the emergency contact:
- A student has attended or been admitted to hospital in an emergency.
- A student has suffered a serious physical injury, including self-harm.
- A student ceases to engage with their studies and we have been unable to contact them.
- A student has not been seen recently in their hall of residence and we have been unable to contact them.
- A student has an ongoing illness and they appear to be deteriorating.
- A student is experiencing a mental health crisis.
- A student has asked the University to contact their emergency contact on their behalf.
In addition to attempting to contact the emergency contact, the University will pass the emergency contact details on to the emergency services, for example to the ambulance crew or by telephoning the Emergency Department at the hospital, so that they can support their patient.
Informing the emergency contact will be decided on a case-by-case basis and authorised by senior staff in the Office of the Dean of Students. We would normally tell the student that we intend to alert their emergency contact unless it is not possible for us to do so or to do so would cause delay.