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Service policies

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 the students accessing our support in high regard and respect the importance of confidentiality in all our dealings with you. The following explains 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 Support Advisors (Welfare).

Confidentiality

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 at the Student Information Desk 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 confidentially and treat students’ personal information respectfully and sensitively. If you do not wish to disclose any personal information at the Student Information Desk, you can request an appointment with Wellbeing Services on-line or by telephone (see Contact us).

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. We may liaise with a range of external professionals (for example: a psychologist or other health practitioner) 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 includes whether you wish to provide explicit written permission for liaison and sharing of information between Wellbeing Services staff and the Student Health Centre and University Mental Health Team (UCMHT) on a ‘need to know’ basis. Before completing the consent form, please ensure you read the Consent Agreement with regards to how your information will be shared.

The consent form can be found here.

Exceptional circumstances

Wherever possible staff will seek to obtain your agreement prior to liaison, however it is acknowledged that there may be some circumstances where this is not possibleThere may be rare instances when Wellbeing Services are unable to maintain our commitment to confidentiality. In such circumstances we may need to contact relevant others such as your GP or other health professionals. Exceptions to confidentiality occur when Wellbeing Services practitioners 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. In such circumstances, additional information is kept to a minimum and only disclosed to relevant others on a “need to know” basis.

In such circumstances where there is a concern for your safety/wellbeing, we may contact your parent/emergency contact and/or engage with them if they make an enquiry on your behalf. Where possible, we will always aim to do this with your consent and in discussion with you first, but in exceptional circumstances information may be shared if we consider this essential for your safety.

How we manage your information

We keep computer-based records of all the information you provide; this includes records of written information, emails, 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.

Contact details

AccessAbility

Wellbeing

Welfare

First Floor

Student Services Centre

The Forum

University of Exeter

Stocker Road

Exeter

EX4 4SZ

Reed Mews Wellbeing Centre

University of Exeter

Streatham Drive

Exeter

EX4 4QP

Mardon Hall

University of Exeter

Streatham Drive

EX4 4QW

Telephone: 01392 723880

Telephone: 01392 724381

Telephone: 01392 724381

AccessAbility@exeter.ac.uk

Wellbeing@exeter.ac.uk

Welfare@exeter.ac.uk

Wellbeing and Welfare Services operate from a position that students are adults who have the capacity to make informed choices about their health and support needs. The University has a duty of care to protect the health, safety and wellbeing of our students. 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. Therefore it is important that practitioners manage expectations over what data they can disclose and when, particularly when there are concerns for students safety and wellbeing.

As part of our contact with students, practitioners will commonly explore whether the student consents for liaison with a range of individuals involved in a student’s care. This can include GP, Study Needs Assessors and relevant NHS services -e.g. University Community Mental Health Team (including Psychiatrist), Community Mental Health Teams, Liaison Psychiatry and Talkworks.
Parents, a nominated ‘emergency contact’ and other family relatives can offer valuable support for vulnerable students, and potentially partners in suicide prevention. Wellbeing and Welfare Services practitioners recognise the value of exploring the role of parental and/or family support and will actively discuss this as part of student support. Should practitioners have concerns for a deterioration in mental health, (or identify risk to self/others), then contact with family or the emergency contact should be reviewed and the student’s view on any communication recorded.

Recording consent – Form and Storage

An electronic consent form can be completed online here: https://www.exeter.ac.uk/wellbeing/about/policies/consent/.
This form is harvested into SID and is 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.
A paper copy of the consent form is found on the N drive if the student is unable to complete the online form. If a paper form is completed, this should be uploaded to the student’s SID case record as a priority and a brief note added to a ‘consent’ folder to indicate to practitioners that they can find the form on files.

The service recognises that, in some instances, it may not be possible or appropriate for a form to be completed. Consent given verbally should, however, be noted in the Consent folder. If possible, an email should be sent to the student following the conversation to confirm the consent given, and a form completed at the earliest opportunity.

Ideally, consent (whether online or paper forms) is reviewed annually, and a new form completed each academic year. This can be challenging given the scope of services a student may be supported by. It is best practice for all practitioners to review at their first meeting with a student whether consent has already been completed within the academic year of contact. This may not possible for practitioners undertaking Telephone Referral Appointments, WBC or ILP appointments. .. If a student has capacity and declines permission to liaise with external agencies and/or their parent/emergency contact then their wishes will be respected (unless ‘exceptional circumstances’) in line with our service ethos, data protection policy and confidentiality statement. This should be documented in a ‘consent’ folder and a note written to reflect the discussion and the outcome of this discussion (ie was consent agreed?).
Students can withdraw or change their consent at any point and should be directed to complete a new consent form or email wellbeing@Exeter.ac.uk. If a practitioner sees a student who has a consent form in place, it is good practice to review the current consent folder and to confirm that these details remain up to date.

Liaison with the Student Health Centre and UCMHT

If a student is accessing Wellbeing Services at the same time as receiving care from the Student Health Centre or UCMHT, it is in the best interests of the student that well-being / welfare services are allowed to communicate directly with other healthcare practitioners (and vice versa.) This ensures best care is delivered and that services are appropriately coordinated.
A section of the consent form is between Wellbeing Services, the SHC and UCMHT specifically. This information will be forwarded to the relevant service as evidence of ‘explicit consent to share’ at the point liaison between differing service professionals is required to ensure best care. Sharing of information between services will only be on a ‘need to know’ basis.

Students have the option to not consent for liaison between the SHC and UMCHT, and they can also be more specific about their consent if they wish to by completing the ‘other requirements’ box.

Exceptional circumstances

Members of Wellbeing and Welfare Services have a duty of care towards students and a responsibility to act in our students best interests. In the vast majority of situations, our responsibilities are entirely consistent with upholding full confidentiality of student information.
However, on occasion, very serious situations arise when upholding confidentiality conflicts with the practitioner’s duty of care to act in the student’s best interests. This may include situations where there is risk to life or risk of serious harm to an individual or individuals. Under these 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.

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 or family relative) with the aim of reducing risk to the student in question.
• Before sharing sensitive information and breaching confidentiality, the practitioner will always discuss with other member(s) of the well-being team (e.g. Head of Service, Operations Manager, Pathway), 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.
• Under these circumstances the practitioner will record in the student’s record why this course of action has been considered, with whom (which professionals) it was discussed, what the students view on this was, what information was shared with 3rd parties, and the impact of this action (was risk reduced / was useful information gathered).
• For reasons of best interests and to serve the duty of care, if information is shared with third parties, beyond what the student has consented to, information sharing will always be conducted in the most limited way possible (i.e. only minimum possible information is shared to effect risk reduction). This will never be done for trivial reasons
• As soon as is reasonably possible, the student will always be informed when information has been shared, with whom and what information has been shared, providing this would not be considered to increase the risk to the student.

Liaison with parents/emergency contact where exceptional circumstances are identified

When responding to risk concerns, we will actively consider as part of our standard process the appropriateness of contact with parents or the nominated next-of-kin/emergency contact on their SITS record. . Practitioners will seek to place the student’s expressed wishes at the centre of decision making and will therefore explore, where possible, the student’s view on whether contact would be helpful before liaising with parent/emergency contact.

If a student withholds their consent for Wellbeing to liaise with parent/emergency contact, 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 contacting their parent/emergency contact if appropriate. All available support for the student should be explored in this conversation, including other family members or responsible adults if parents are not appropriate emergency contacts at that time.

If consent to speak with a parent/emergency 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. The practitioner should consult with relevant colleagues (Head of Service, Operations Manager, Pathway Leads), taking into account any known information on the nature of the student-family relationship provided in previous contact with Wellbeing Services.

A clear record of the rationale to speak to an emergency contact should be made in the student’s case file, including details of any risk screening completed and concerns for safety/wellbeing that led to any breach in confidentiality. Any information provided to a parent/emergency contact should be on a ‘need to know’ basis, providing the least information to assure the student’s safety. Any discussion with a parent in these circumstances will include consideration of how/when to inform the student of the university’s contact. It may not be necessary to disclose the detailed nature of the risk concerns – this will be determined on a case by case basis by the practitioner.

SITs Records of emergency contact

As part of every student’s annual registration with the University, students are asked to complete/update their emergency contact details. They are advised at the point of completion that if the university has significant concerns for their safety/wellbeing then their emergency contact may be contacted and/or staff may engage with the emergency contact if they seek information from the university.

It may sometimes be necessary for practitioners to understand if a contact has been nominated on SITs. Firstly, practitioners should check whether the Wellbeing Services Consent form has been completed, and if no consent details on file, then consideration given to SITs access. If a practitioner wishes to check these details, they should contact the Student Registry Team to access the emergency contact information.

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 also send you a text reminder the day before 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.

Initial contact

In the first instance please contact Mark Sawyer, Head of Service.

Phone: 01392 724381

Email: Wellbeing@exeter.ac.uk

We will make an initial response within 5 working days.

Unresolved issues

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. You can find out more about what this means on our pages about support available.  

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:

Application Form for Accommodation Subsidy

Please attach your completed form to an email and send it to accessability@exeter.ac.uk, or alternatively post it to: 

Reed Mews - Wellbeing Centre
University of Exeter
Streatham Drive
Exeter
EX4 4QP

‌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.

Guidance for External Non-Medical Help providers