Trusted contacts

Information about why we have a trusted contacts policy and what you need to do if you are nominated as one.


What is a trusted contact? 

A trusted contact is someone who a student nominates as a person we can contact in certain, and usually rare, circumstances.

It is likely this would usually be a parent, guardian or partner, but it can also be someone who is over the age of 18, such as a family member or friend. It is up to the student to decide who this is, but we would recommend that this is someone the student trusts and who they can ask for help.

It is also vital that the trusted contact agrees that they will act in this role. Students should not put forward someone who has not agreed to be a nominated contact.

Why do students need to provide a trusted contact?

At the University of Sheffield, we want to ensure that students are supported and empowered throughout their student journey to succeed in their studies and are committed to supporting their wellbeing along the way.

We recognise that, from time to time, students may need a little extra support from outside of the University community. Studying at University is an exciting phase in a student’s life, but we recognise that each student will probably have a network of trusted people outside of university who can help them along the way. This might be parents, siblings, grandparents, partners, guardians, friends.

A named trusted contact is likely to be a person a student would want to go to to keep them updated on their life, and someone they can rely on for support and guidance. This person should be made aware that they are being listed as a trusted contact.

Sometimes, the University may want to make contact with a student’s trusted contact, if they feel that the student requires a little more support in rare and specific circumstances.

What do I need to do if I am a trusted contact?

For most trusted contacts, there will not be any action to take at any point during a student’s journey with us.

In some rare instances, we will make contact with a trusted contact and this will be only for the reasons listed under When would the University contact a trusted contact?. Where possible, we would ask the student’s consent to do so first, but this may not always be appropriate.

As a trusted contact, your role would be to receive information from us in those circumstances and take appropriate action as you see fit; for instance providing support to the student. You will also need to let the student know if your contact details change, so that they can update their record. 

If, as a trusted contact, you have serious and urgent concerns about the safety of a student, you should contact Security Services on +44 114 222 4444 if you know the student is on campus, or 999 directly, if you believe this to be urgent.

If you believe the concern to be less urgent, contact In that instance, we would only be able to share information with you, with the student’s consent; unless we have reason to believe that the student is in serious need of support.

When would the University contact a trusted contact?

The University will contact a trusted contact in one of two instances:

  1. in a student’s ‘vital interest’ (life or death situations), or
  2. where the University has a serious concern for the student’s health, wellbeing or safety.

Where possible, the University would try to obtain the student’s consent first, but this is not always possible. In that instance, the University would use the trusted contacts protocol and guidance to go ahead and make contact. 

Is a trusted contact different from a next of kin?

In many cases, a trusted contact may be the same person as a next of kin. The provision of a trusted contact in addition to next of kin provides the opportunity for a student to give an additional contact who they trust and who they can ask for help in times of difficulty. Whilst we collect details for both next of kin and trusted contact, there is no requirement that these are different people. 

A next of kin would only be contacted without consent in an emergency as advised by a clinician/medical professional.

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