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

Gillian Green made this Freedom of Information request to Heriot-Watt University

Automatic anti-spam measures are in place for this older request. Please let us know if a further response is expected or if you are having trouble responding.

The request was successful.

Dear Heriot-Watt University,

Student ‘opt-in’ or ‘consent at registration’ was a hot topic in 2018. Essentially it involves lowering the bar at which parents or nominated others could be contacted by a university, when there are serious concerns that something bad might happen to an enrolled student, and/or where their health, wellbeing or welfare could be affected.
To qualify as ‘opt-in’ a scheme must be optional and additional to any compulsory emergency contact protocol. The latter is typically restricted to serious incidents and/or emergency situations, that may present an imminent threat to a student’s vital interests. Modifying your compulsory emergency contact protocol is not ‘opt-in’, it is ‘opt-out’, since action would be required to withdraw consent.
This important policy has been implemented at a number of universities, and presumably at your institution as well. If so, please provide me with the following more detailed information:
• How many students were registered at your institution for each of the academic periods
2018-19,
2019-20 and
2020-21?
Please provide the above information according to year-of-study e.g. 1st year, 2nd year, 3rd year
For each academic period and year-of-study 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• How many students subsequently rescinded their consent?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

Freedom of Information, Heriot-Watt University

1 Attachment

Dear Gillian 

Thank you for your recent information request (Our ref F041-21) which has
been handled under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002. 

Information regarding the University's student headcount is available on
our website by searching [1]here. This is therefore exempt from
release under Section 25(1) of FOISA: Obtainable other than by requesting.

​Heriot Watt University does not have a ‘consent at registration/opt in’
mechanism in place.  We collect emergency contact information at initial
enrolment (and annual re-enrolment) and students can update this
information should it change in-year.  Students who engage with
our [2]counselling services complete a registration sheet which can
contain different emergency contact information which better fits the
student’s situation. 

We have procedures in place to identify at risk students and an escalation
and approval protocol to authorise contact with named emergency
contacts/emergency services. In exceptional circumstances, where a member
of our professionally qualified and accredited counselling staff has
significant concerns about the safety, health or wellbeing of the student
or another person (i.e. their vital interests as defined by the General
Data Protection Regulations), we may share the minimum personal data
necessary with the emergency contacts/emergency services to take urgent
action to protect the individual/s concerned.

Your right to seek review of our decision 

If you are not satisfied with our response or our reasoning set-out above,
you have forty working days from today in which to request a review of our
decision. Any request should be put in writing and should be sent to Ann
Jones, Head of Information Governance, at the address detailed at the
bottom of this email. The request should: 

(a) detail your request for a review of our decision to be undertaken; 

(b) describe the nature of your original request; and 

(c) explain the reasons why you are dissatisfied with our response. 

If you remain dissatisfied with how your request for information has been
dealt with, you also have the right to apply to the Scottish Information
Commissioner for a decision as to whether we have handled your request
properly. 

  

Information relating to your right to seek review is available from the
Scottish Information Commissioner's web page
at:[3]http://www.itspublicknowledge.info/YourR...

or by contacting the Scottish Information Commissioner's Office at the
following address: 

  

Scottish Information Commissioner, 

Kinburn Castle, 

Doubledykes Road, St Andrews, 

Fife KY16 9DS 

Telephone: 01334 464610 

Fax: 01334 464611 

E-mail: [4][email address

Website: [5]http://www.itspublicknowledge.info/home/...

  

Contact us 

Finally, should you wish to discuss the contents of this email, please do
not hesitate to contact us via [6][Heriot-Watt University request email] 

FOISA Team 

Information Governance Division 

Heriot-Watt University 

Edinburgh EH14 4AS 

 
 
 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Gillian Green <[FOI #729649 email]>
Sent: 18 February 2021 22:21
To: Freedom of Information <[email address]>
Subject: Freedom of Information request - Statistics of number of parents
/ nominated persons contacted by university regarding student mental
wellbeing.
 
****************************************************************
Caution: This email originated from a sender outside Heriot-Watt
University.
Do not follow links or open attachments if you doubt the authenticity of
the sender or the content.
****************************************************************

Dear Heriot-Watt University,

Student ‘opt-in’ or ‘consent at registration’ was a hot topic in 2018.
Essentially it involves lowering the bar at which parents or nominated
others could be contacted by a university, when there are serious concerns
that something bad might happen to an enrolled student, and/or where their
health, wellbeing or welfare could be affected.

To qualify as ‘opt-in’ a scheme must be optional and additional to any
compulsory emergency contact protocol. The latter is typically restricted
to serious incidents and/or emergency situations, that may present an
imminent threat to a student’s vital interests. Modifying your compulsory
emergency contact protocol is not ‘opt-in’, it is ‘opt-out’, since action
would be required to withdraw consent.

This important policy has been implemented at a number of universities,
and presumably at your institution as well. If so, please provide me with
the following more detailed information:

•       How many students were registered at your institution for each of
the academic periods

2018-19,

2019-20 and

2020-21?

Please provide the above information according to year-of-study e.g. 1st
year, 2nd year, 3rd year

For each academic period and year-of-study 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

-------------------------------------------------------------------

Please use this email address for all replies to this request:

[FOI #729649 email]

Is [Heriot-Watt University request email] the wrong address for Freedom of Information requests to
Heriot-Watt University? If so, please contact us using this form:

[7]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/change_re...

Disclaimer: This message and any reply that you make will be published on
the internet. Our privacy and copyright policies:

[8]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/help/offi...

For more detailed guidance on safely disclosing information, read the
latest advice from the ICO:

[9]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/help/ico-...

Please note that in some cases publication of requests and responses will
be delayed.

If you find this service useful as an FOI officer, please ask your web
manager to link to us from your organisation's FOI page.

show quoted sections