Please find our relevant service policies and procedures below:
Wellbeing Services* are committed to the highest standards of professional practice and adhere closely to the ethical frameworks of our respective professional bodies. We aim to offer you a first-class service that meets your particular access needs. We hold the dignity and privacy of all students accessing our support in high regard and respect the importance of confidentiality in all our dealings with you. The following document describes our approach to confidentiality and related issues.
*Wellbeing Services include staff from the following teams: AccessAbility, Mental Health, Psychological Therapies, Welfare Case Workers, Residence Life team and Education Welfare Advisors.
It is important that you have complete confidence and trust in our services. Wellbeing Services are confidential and we protect any information about your individual circumstances that you choose to share with us. All staff in Wellbeing Services, including Student Services, Line Managers, Welfare Case Workers, Residence Life team, Education Support Advisors (Welfare) and external clinical supervisors, work closely as a team to ensure you receive the best support we can offer. In accordance with all relevant data protection legislation, your personal information will be treated respectfully and sensitively and only shared with other members of the team on a “need to know” basis.
Reception and enquiry staff working with Wellbeing Services will need to access limited personal information in order to deliver initial services (for example, when making an appointment on your behalf or when responding to your telephone enquiries). There will be instances where they need to access information you share directly with advisors, mentors, counsellors, or study support tutors in order to carry out other duties (for example, when uploading information submitted as medical evidence and questionnaires you complete when you access our service, or when students request access to their notes in line with all relevant data protection legislation). Reception and enquiry staff are also bound by confidentiality and treat students’ personal information respectfully and sensitively.
Liaison with others
Personal information conveyed to us will not be disclosed to other University staff or external organisations without your explicit and informed written consent (other than in exceptional circumstances as outlined below). In order to help you in your studies Wellbeing Services work closely with academic and support staff across the University. If you are supported under the Health, Wellbeing and Support for Study process, we may ask you if we can invite academic or support staff to the meetings. We may liaise with a range of external professionals (for example: a psychologist or other health professional, Student Health Centre colleagues and University Community Mental health Team practitioners) so that we can provide integrated and effective support for students. You may withhold your permission for us to share information but this may affect the level of support the University is able to offer you. You will be asked to complete a ‘Consent form’, where you can confirm whom we may or may not contact.
The consent form can be found here.
Members of Wellbeing and Welfare Services have a responsibility to act in our students’ best interests at all times. In the vast majority of circumstances, our responsibilities are entirely consistent with upholding your full confidentiality.
However, on occasion, very serious situations arise when upholding confidentiality conflicts with the practitioner’s responsibility to act in the student’s best interests.
In such circumstances we may need to contact relevant others such as your GP, another health professional or a relevant third party (such as a parent or trusted contact). Exceptions to confidentiality occur when Wellbeing Services practitioners have very serious concerns for your safety and wellbeing, or for the safety of others around you. This may include situations where we believe you or others may be at risk of serious harm, when there are safeguarding concerns, and/or when a member of the team would be liable to civil or criminal court procedures if relevant information had not been disclosed.
Confidentiality may also be limited if practitioners need to raise concerns under the University's Fitness to Practice Process (https://www.exeter.ac.uk/staff/policies/calendar/part1/otherregs/fitness/)
Under these very serious circumstances, and where we believe breaching confidentiality may result in a reduction of risk of serious harm, the practitioner has a duty to act in the student’s best interests. Appropriate information is only disclosed to relevant others on a “need to know” basis.
Exceptional circumstances – principles of practice:
When consideration is given to breaching confidentiality, the following principles will inform our actions:
• Practitioners will initially seek permission from the student to share information, if this is at all possible. In the first instance the practitioner may offer to support the student to share information themselves, or for the student to be present when the practitioner shares information.
• If this is not possible or the student withholds consent, and the practitioner believes there is risk to life or of serious self-harm, they may consider sharing information with a relevant third party (a MH practitioner, emergency contact, trusted contact or family relative) with the aim of reducing risk to the student in question.
• Before sharing sensitive information and when consent is witheld, the practitioner will always discuss with other member(s) of the well-being team (e.g. Head of Service, Operations Manager, Pathway Lead), and /or with other healthcare practitioners (eg GP and UCMHT) on the appropriateness of sharing information, provided this is possible within the timeframe of the situation.
• When information is shared with third parties, beyond the student’s consent, the information will always be restricted to the most limited possible. The purpose of disclosure is to enhance support and safety planning.
• As soon as is reasonably possible, the student will be notified of the disclosure, and with whom and what information has been shared, providing this would not be considered to increase the risk to the student.
SITs Record of next-of-kin and ‘trusted contact’
As part of every student’s annual registration with the University, students are asked to complete/update their next-of-kin/trusted contact details. They are advised at the point of completion that if the university has significant concerns for safety/wellbeing then the trusted contact may be contacted and/or staff may engage with the trusted contact if they seek information from the university.
Wellbeing Services Policy on liaison with next-of-kin and/or ‘trusted contact’
When responding to risk concerns, we will actively consider as part of our standard process the appropriateness of contact with a next-of-kin (NOK) or a nominated ‘trusted contact’. Contact details may be held on our University Record system (SITS record) as well as within Wellbeing Services (if the service consent form has been completed.) A trusted contact is usually a parent, carer, guardian or family member - students should ensure that their trusted contact is aware they have been nominated and that their contact details have been given to the University for this purpose. Practitioners always seek to place the student’s expressed wishes at the centre of decision making when very serious circumstances arise. Wherever possible, practitioners will therefore explore the student’s view on whether contact would be helpful before liaising with a next-of-kin or trusted contact.
If a student withholds their consent for Wellbeing to liaise or chooses to withdraw their consent at the point of identified risk, then the practitioner will explain their concerns for the student’s wellbeing and encourage the student to consider the possible value of communication with their next-of-kin/trusted contact. All available support for the student should be explored in this conversation, including other family members or responsible adults if doubt is expressed about named contacts.
If consent to speak with a next-of-kin/trusted contact is still refused, yet the practitioner believes this course of action is still in the best interests of the student’s safety, then the practitioner will follow the above principles of practice for exceptional circumstances.
How we manage your information
We keep computer-based records of all the information you provide; this includes records of written information, emails, medical evidence, phone conversations and face-to-face contact. This enables us to offer you a professional service and to ensure you receive appropriate advice and support. All personal and sensitive data is processed in accordance with all relevant data protection legislation.
Wellbeing Services also collect routine statistical information about each contact made which is later anonymised and analysed for audit and evaluation purposes. This information may subsequently be summarised and interpreted in a Wellbeing Services Annual Report. The utmost care is taken to ensure no individually identifiable information is disclosed.
We will keep your data on our database for 7 years, following our last year of contact with you. This is to ensure that we can support you throughout your studies and afterwards should you continue on to post-graduate study. We also have to ensure data is kept on file for compliance reasons and statistical reporting.
Full details of our privacy notice can be found here. Should you wish to explore further any queries arising from this statement or our privacy notice, please contact us and we will be happy to discuss these with you.
Student Services Centre
University of Exeter
Reed Mews Wellbeing Centre
University of Exeter
University of Exeter
Telephone: 01392 723880
Telephone: 01392 724381
Telephone: 01392 724381
Central to the work of Wellbeing Services is the health, safety and wellbeing of our student community. The team makes every effort to build positive relationships with all students and operates from a position that students are adults who have the capacity to make informed choices about consent in line with their health and support needs.
Under Data Protection Law the University also has obligations to protect student confidentiality and privacy, specifically the use and disclosure of personal data including sensitive information on students' mental health.
As part of our contact with students, practitioners will commonly explore whether the student consents for liaison with a range of individuals who may be involved in their care. This includes GPs, Study Needs Assessors and relevant other NHS services (e.g. University Community Mental Health Team (including Psychiatrist), Community Mental Health Teams, Liaison Psychiatry and Talkworks.)
A brief note about limitations to consent and confidentiality
There are very occasional circumstances where confidentiality may be limited and disclosure of information required in order to protect individual safety and wellbeing. These circumstances are explained further in the Service Statement of Confidentiality.
Additionally, a next-of-kin and/or a trusted contact can offer valuable support for students and are potentially key partners in suicide prevention. A ‘trusted contact’ is usually a parent, carer, guardian or family member. Students should ensure that their trusted contact is aware they have been nominated for this purpose and that their contact details have been given to the University.
Wellbeing practitioners recognise the value of routinely exploring the role of family or a ‘trusted contact’ in all student support plans. Should practitioners have concerns for a deterioration in mental health, (or identify risk to self/others), then contact with the next-of-kin or a trusted contact should be reviewed, and the student’s view on any communication recorded.
Recording consent – Form and Storage
This form is harvested into SID and then uploaded by the administrative team to a student’s case file under the folder ‘consent’. Each ‘consent’ folder should be labelled for the academic year it was completed.
Students have the option not to give consent for liaison, or they can be specific about any limitations to their consent by completing the ‘other requirements’ box. Students can also withdraw or change their consent at any point of their engagement with the Wellbeing Team. The service recognises that, in some instances, it may not be possible or appropriate for a form to be completed. Consent given verbally will, however, be noted.
To help you get the most out of your support from Wellbeing Services, we advise you to attend all sessions agreed with your practitioner. We understand that sometimes other commitments may make attendance difficult – at the same time we want to make sure that our resources are used wisely so that others wishing to see us don’t have too long to wait. We therefore value your absolute commitment to the sessions we have booked for you, and hope you will understand our need for a procedure around non-attended sessions.
Cancellations and no shows
We ask you to give more than 24 hours’ notice for any cancellation or request to change an appointment. We believe it is your responsibility to keep scheduled appointments, however we will email you a confirmation of the date, time and place for your appointment.
Initial appointment - No show
Should you not attend (and give us no notice), it will be your responsibility to contact Wellbeing Services to rebook another appointment. Please be aware this may result in being placed back on the waiting list. You can find our contact details on the website.
Initial appointment - Cancellation
Should you contact us to reschedule an appointment we will aim to offer an alternative appointment depending on availability.
We understand that sometimes appointments may need to be rescheduled due to other commitments; however, should you need to cancel more than two appointments, we will be in contact to discuss the suitability of our service at this time.
Ongoing appointments - No show
First time - if you miss an appointment and don’t give us notice we will contact you to check that you still intend to continue ongoing sessions. However, we leave it to you to contact the Service to confirm your next appointment. We would appreciate a response within 48 hours otherwise we may have to withdraw your sessions.
Second time – if you miss two consecutive sessions and don’t inform us, we will contact you to notify you that your sessions have been withdrawn. This decision is at a practitioners discretion.
Ongoing appointments - Intermittent attendance
If you miss three appointments out of the total number of allocated sessions (with or without notice), we will contact you to discuss your attendance.
Mentoring and Specialist Study Skills
For those receiving DSA funded support, the following rules also apply:
- If you do not attend an appointment or cancel a session with less than 24 hours’ notice, the appointment will be counted as one of your DSA funded allocated sessions.
- You will be asked to provide a reason for any non-attendance or cancelled appointments with less than 24 hours’ notice. The University is required to provide Student Finance with this information. Student Finance may contact you to discuss the reason for your non-attendance/cancelled appointments
- Here is a copy of the DSA Support Agreement that you are asked to sign when you begin your support sessions
Turning up late to appointments
If you turn up to your appointment late, the practitioner may decide that there is insufficient time to complete the session. It is likely that this session will also be counted as non-attendance and may count towards your allocated number of sessions. In the case of DSA funded support this session will not be counted as non-attendance, but it will count as one of your allocated sessions.
Returning to the service
We really hope you will make best use for the support on offer at Wellbeing Services. However, should you find that you no longer wish to access the service as previously arranged for you, you are very welcome to come back to us in the future at any time during your studies.
We hope that you will feel your contact with Wellbeing Services is positive but, if not, we welcome comments that might help us improve our services.
In the first instance please contact Mark Sawyer, Head of Service.
Phone: 01392 724381
We will make an initial response within 5 working days.
If you find that your issue or complaint has not been resolved through this process please follow the University of Exeter complaints procedure; this can be found on the main website under Complaints and Appeals.
If you are applying for mitigation you should discuss this first with your College or Student Office who should be able to offer advice and support with regards to the application procedure. Please also see the University’s guidelines on mitigation, which has a link to the form that you need to use if you wish to apply.
If you currently receive support from Wellbeing or have done in the past, we will be happy to send a letter to your college which may be considered in support of your application for mitigation. The letter will state the dates that you attended Wellbeing services and the type of support you have been offered.
To request a letter of attendance, you need to select the correct option from the drop-down menu when completing the mitigation form: “I wish to request evidence from the Student Health Centre, Wellbeing or AccessAbility”. You will then be sent an email with instructions about how to download the letter request form.
If you have never attended Wellbeing services we will ask that you first see your GP regarding your mitigation concerns. We will then be happy to meet with you to discuss support options.
If you are finding it difficult to cope with exams you should consult your GP in the first instance as Wellbeing Services require medical evidence in order to put specific exam arrangements in place.
It is important to note that these arrangements are temporary. If you feel that you could benefit from longer term support we would advise you to contact us for an assessment where we will be able to support you to get an Individual Learning Plan (ILP) in place for the duration of your studies.
Deadlines for applications for exam arrangements are noted on the examinations webpage.
If you are not currently being supported within Wellbeing Services, you should contact us prior to the deadline to ask for an 'exam arrangements appointment'.
If you are currently being supported within Wellbeing Services then your practitioner will be happy to have a conversation with you about your needs.
Students who might incur additional costs for en-suite or studio accommodation as a direct result of a disability may be eligible for a subsidy towards those costs on disability grounds. The subsidy is only applicable to students who are applying as residents in accommodation where the University issues the contract. For full information on this process and the criteria for application, please refer to the Accessible Accommodation webpage.
To apply for the financial subsidy, please fill out the following form and send it to Wellbeing Services:
Please attach your completed form to an email and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org, or alternatively post it to:
Reed Mews - Wellbeing Centre
University of Exeter
Our advisors will aim to respond to your application within 10 working days.
Please see our Accommodation Financial Subsidy Process to see an overview, and who to contact with queries.
Please note that the accommodation financial subsidy cannot be backdated. If your application form is received and approved before the start of the academic year then the subsidy will be applied from the start of term; however, if your application form is received and approved after the start of term, the subsidy will only be applied from the date that your application form was received.
The University of Exeter wishes to establish effective working relationships with external suppliers, and has produced the below document to outline important information that external providers should be aware of when supporting students of the University.