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Email Service Statement and Guidelines

The University offers all staff and students a University email account and corresponding University email address.

The University offers all staff and students a University email account and corresponding University email address. These services are usually provided at the commencement of the person's time at the University.

Email has become a core element of the University's business and communications strategy and our department endeavours to provide a 24 hour service throughout the year. Planned maintenance periods and unexpected service interruptions occur occasionally and these factors must be borne in mind when planning to send important messages.

Here are some guidelines for using email:

Speed of Delivery

Email is not instantaneous. Even within University systems, it must pass through a number of processes and delays can occur at any point in the distribution chain.

Recommendations:

  • Allow a reasonable amount of time for a message to be delivered (at least 24 hours for internal messages and longer for external ones)
    • If the speed of delivery has an associated financial risk (e.g. a grant submission), this should be taken into account
    • Attachments usually take longer to process than standard emails
  • If the message is important, always confirm delivery by an alternative method (e.g. telephone)
  • Do not use a Confirm Message Read option because:
    • It may not be recognised by the recipient's system
    • Some people regard this as an intrusion of privacy and disable the feature
  • If the message is genuinely urgent, it is better to use the telephone to contact the individual

Security

Email should not be regarded as a secure form of communications.

  • Copies of a message are left on computer systems at key stages in the delivery process.
  • Normal email messages are not encrypted (they are in text format) and can be easily read.
  • Encryption software is available, but requires both sender and recipient to have both suitable software and the 'keys' to access the message.
  • A copy can be passed on to third parties without the originator's knowledge or consent.

It is recommended that you exercise caution when sending confidential information via email

Email Monitoring

The University in the course of normal business may monitor or record communications for activities such as the following:

  • To establish existence of facts
  • To ascertain compliance with regulatory practices
  • In the interest of general security
  • To prevent or detect misuse
  • To investigate unauthorised use of networked systems
  • To secure effective system operation
  • In association with specialist training

Attachments

Messages with attachments require more time to process and therefore take longer to deliver than standard text messages. Very large attachments, particularly when sent to groups of people can place a considerable strain upon the system. The maximum attachment size is 20 Mb. This applies to all messages passing through the University network.

It is recommended that:

  • where possible, use alternative methods whenever you have a requirement to share files with colleagues within the University (e.g. shared folders)
  • you ensure the recipient has the appropriate software to read the attachment. It is good practice to mention the file type in the message body.
  • the onus is on the sender to ensure the document is readable by the recipient.
  • you must exercise extreme caution when receiving attachments, particularly from unknown sources. They can contain viruses.

Finally, think of your recipient

  • Make sure your words cannot be misinterpreted. Read the message carefully before you send it.
  • Don't use capital letters ' it implies you are SHOUTING.
  • Provide contact details at the message-end (known as a 'signature')