Murray Edwards - statement to students on confidentiality
Students at Murray Edwards College are entitled to privacy, and those working within the College will do their utmost to respect confidentiality as far as is possible. The College complies with the Data Protection Act 1998, and information on this can be found elsewhere [give links].
This document clarifies what students can expect in terms of confidentiality (in particular, but not exclusively, within the tutorial system), and also sets out the limits to this. Any concerns about any aspect of these processes can be raised with the Senior Tutor.
Any student seeking advice on personal or welfare matters is encouraged to speak to their Tutor in the first instance. Students should be aware that any such discussion will not result in adverse consequences academically, in any later employment, or in any other ways. Information that a student shares with their Tutor may be discussed with the Deputy Senior Tutor or Senior Tutor; it may also be shared subsequently with anyone taking over as the student’s Tutor. Usually the student will be advised of this in advance. Sharing information in this way is an important part of providing adequate tutorial support and continuity. Tutorial staff may also become aware of information shared in this way through their roles in managing the Tutorial Office (such as processing applications for intermission or for sitting exams in special conditions). Information is not routinely shared outside the Tutorial team without the consent of the student.
Other pastoral advisors
Tutors, the Deputy Senior Tutor or Senior Tutor may share information about a student with the following individuals in certain circumstances: the College Nurse, the College Counsellor, the Mental Health Advisors at the University Counselling Service, Disability Advisors at the Disability Resource Centre. However, the student’s consent to this will always be sought, apart from in the exceptional circumstances set out in the final section of this statement.
The College Nurse and College Counsellor are both bound by professional codes of conduct regarding confidentiality and do not share information with the Tutorial team without the consent of the student concerned, apart from in the exceptional circumstances detailed in the final section.
Directors of Study, supervisors and other academic staff
Tutors, the Deputy Senior Tutor or Senior Tutor will not share information with a student’s Director of Studies, supervisors or anyone within their Department without the student’s consent. There is a need to separate academic and pastoral support in the College. However, a Tutor, the Deputy Senior Tutor or Senior Tutor may speak to these individuals should a student give their consent, and there may also be occasions when a Director of Studies, supervisor or member of a Department/Faculty raises a concern with the Tutor, Deputy Senior Tutor or Senior Tutor.
Given their role in overseeing the College as a whole, it may sometimes be appropriate for the President to be informed of some tutorial situations. In general, any information that is shared in this way will not include identifying information about the student.
Families and next of kin
Almost all students, whether undergraduate or graduate, are legal adults and are entitled to confidentiality. Families/guardians/next of kin will not be contacted without a student’s consent, and Tutors, the Deputy Senior Tutor or Senior Tutor will not pass on any information about a student to families/guardians/next of kin who contact the College. If such contact is received, Tutors, the Deputy Senior Tutor or Senior Tutor will listen, and reply in general terms without specific reference to information about the student concerned.
Exceptions – duty of care and legal obligations
Murray Edwards College does, however, have a duty of care to all members of the College, the University and the wider community, and this may sometimes limit confidentiality afforded in cases where there is considered to be a serious and imminent risk of harm to a particular individual or to others, or where the College is under a legal obligation to disclose information.
Senior Tutor, 14.9.17.