Quality Manual

Emergency contact protocol

This page contains the emergency contact protocol and explains why students are asked to provide the University with such contacts at registration. Its content is relevant to staff and students across all of the UK, China and Malaysia campuses.

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Please note that students in the UK on a Student Route visa are also affected by the University's Policy on Immigration Sponsorship. Where academic policies and immigration policies seem to be contradictory, immigration policies will take precedence. For more information, please consult the following:

Immigration sponsorship 


Includes: information storage; choice of contact; examples of circumstances when emergency contacts will be used; University privacy policies

All students are asked to provide details of an emergency contact when registering for their course. This information will be held on the relevant University student record system, in accordance with the University's privacy policies and in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018.

Students can nominate anyone they choose to be their emergency contact – it need not necessarily be their legal next of kin. Students should, however, let that person know that they have been nominated as the emergency contact and that they have given the University that person's details.

Emergency contact details will only be used very rarely by the University. Wherever possible, the permission of the student will be sought prior to the University getting in touch with the emergency contact.


If it is not possible for consent to be obtained (for example, because the student is incapable or unconscious) or if permission is denied, in very exceptional circumstances the University may still go ahead and use the emergency contact details. This is most likely to be when there are serious concerns for the welfare of the individual student.

Examples of circumstances when a decision might possibly be made to get in touch with the emergency contact may include:

  • Admission to hospital though note that the University is not always aware when a student has been admitted to hospital
  • Serious illness (including psychiatric illness)
  • When a student is 'missing'.

For more information about the University's privacy policies, please consult the following:



In cases where consent has not been obtained

Includes: role of the Registrar; role of other members of staff

In all cases where the consent of the individual student has not been obtained, a decision to get in touch with the emergency contact will be taken by the Registrar (or by a senior member of the Registrar's Department) or by a Hall Warden.

If any other member of staff considers that there is a need to get in touch with a student's emergency contact (and the individual student has not given permission) they should in the first instance discuss the case with the Registrar.

The contact will be made by the Registrar personally or by a senior member of staff of his department.


In cases where students are under 18 years of age

Includes: University obligations to parents or guardians; role of the Registrar's department

For students who are under eighteen years old, the University is obliged to contact the student's parent or guardian in certain circumstances.

In any such case a decision to make contact will be made by the Registrar or by a senior member of their department nominated for this purpose.


In cases of death

Includes: contacting next of kin; responsibility of the police; release of personal information

Where there has been a death, it is usually the responsibility of the police to contact the next of kin.

In accordance with the policy on the release of personal information the University might provide emergency contact details to the police but would not normally be involved in the initial, direct contact with the next of kin.

If you have any problems or queries relating to this page, please contact:

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Student Services

This content was last modified on 05 April 2022

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