Statistics of number of parents / nominated persons contacted by university regarding student mental wellbeing.

Gillian Green made this Rhyddid Gwybodaeth request to Magdalen College, Oxford

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Roedd y cais yn llwyddiannus.

Dear Magdalen College, Oxford,
Following a spate of sudden student deaths in 2018, an ‘opt-in scheme’ was pioneered by the University of Bristol as part of a set of measures aimed at preventing suicide. In 2019, a coroner wrote to the Department for Education and Minister for Suicide Prevention suggesting that these measures might be shared throughout the sector. I am now seeking to establish the extent to which ‘opt-in’ has been subsequently adopted and/or utilised.
The ‘opt-in’ or ‘consent at registration’ scheme implemented by Bristol University comprises an additional personal information sharing agreement that supplements when information might be shared. It gains consent at annual registration for the university to contact a ’safe and nominated’ parent, guardian or friend in situations that are not emergencies, but where staff have serious concerns that something bad might happen to an enrolled student, and/or where their health, wellbeing or welfare could be affected. Essentially it involves lowering the bar at which parents or nominated others could be contacted by a designated professional at the university, from ‘vital interests’ to ‘serious or significant concerns’. It could for example apply in cases of trauma or distress associated with suspension / expulsion / non-attendance / mental health issues etc.
To qualify as ‘opt-in’ a scheme must be optional and additional to the regular emergency contact protocol. The latter is compulsory and typically restricted to serious incidents and/or emergency situations, that may present an imminent threat to a student’s vital interests. Further particulars can be found at:
http://www.bristol.ac.uk/contacting-peop...
https://thetab.com/uk/2018/09/20/these-a...
https://thetab.com/uk/bristol/2019/10/31...
This important scheme has been implemented at a number of universities, and perhaps at your institution as well. If so, please provide me with the following information as absolute numbers and percentages.
For each academic period (2018-19, 2019-20 and 2020-21) and year-of-study (e.g. 1st year, 2nd year, 3rd year) sub-division:
• How many students opted-in at registration?
• How many students subsequently rescinded their consent?
• How many times was the opt-in consent used to contact somebody?
• How many times was use of the opt-in consent considered, but with you deliberately choosing not to contact a parent or nominated individual?

Yours faithfully,

Gillian Green

Dear Magdalen College, Oxford,

I am writing to remind you of my FOI request which should have been answered by now. Could you please confirm that you received it?
I understand that times are difficult, so this is just a polite reminder.

Yours faithfully,

Gillian Green

Dear Magdalen College, Oxford,
My request is so long overdue. While I appreciate times are difficult,
I really would appreciate it if you would reply soon.
Yours faithfully,

Gillian Green

Dear Magdalen College, Oxford,
I'm sorry to have to point out that Magdalen College Oxford is one of the last two to answer in a nationwide survey of 206 institutions. If I fail to get a response, I will have to ask for an internal review.
Yours faithfully,

Gillian Green

Magdalen College Senior Tutor, Magdalen College, Oxford

Dear Gillian,

Many thanks for your enquiry concerning the adoption of an 'opt-in'
scheme (or 'consent at registration' scheme) which comprises an
additional personal information-sharing agreement with students.

Please accept my apologies that you have not previously received an
answer to your enquiry. This was because of a lack of available staff
time earlier in the pandemic.

The College has a very extensive range of welfare provision, which is
detailed at https://www.magd.ox.ac.uk/living-here/we..., and has
adopted a policy on confidentiality in student health and welfare which
is set out in the College's Information and Regulations for members of
the College, available here:
https://www.magd.ox.ac.uk/wp-content/upl...
The policy covers the issue of contact with a student's parents or other
family members.

The College has not adopted the scheme to which you refer, and the
answer to each of your specific questions for each of the years in
question and each student year-group in question is 'not applicable'.

I hope that the above is helpful to you.

With best wishes,
Mark Pobjoy

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