Situations occur at all times of the day or night that may impact a student’s wellbeing. There are protocols and procedures in place to deal with issues during the week from 8:30am to 5pm. 

For those that take place outside of these hours, a Welfare Duty Officer (WDO) is on call from 5pm to 8am weekdays and all day and night during weekends and bank holidays.  

The WDOs are a small team of BU staff who undertake this role in addition to their main role. WDOs work on a rota basis, covering one week at a time. They, in turn, are supported and advised by senior members of staff, one of whom will also be on call outside of core work hours.  

For any out of hours incident or emergency, anyone can call Poole House Security on 01202 962222. If it involves a student welfare issue, such as a student who has become unwell, a member of the Security team will alert the WDO. The WDO will then contact any relevant staff member who is on the scene, such as a security guard or accommodation staff member. The WDO does not attend callouts, but they do stay in touch by telephone until a situation is resolved.  

In some cases when a welfare concern is raised, a WDO will speak to a student directly for assurance that they are safe. WDOs can also gauge how a student is feeling by their non-verbal cues, such as tone of voice. The WDO may also recommend that a student is followed up during the next working day, for instance, by the ResLifeBU Wellbeing Officer or the Achieve@BU team. The WDOs will not generally report any incidents to a student’s faculty. 

Information for parents/carers

They can also contact Security out of hours on 01202 962222 if they have concerns about their child. However, due to data protection, staff will explain that unless a student has given express permission for the university to speak with their parent/carer, staff will not provide any information, nor will they acknowledge whether someone is a student or not. They will take details and make enquiries. If necessary, they will get in touch with the WDO.

Information for friends/housemates

If a student is in difficult situation, suffering from a physical or mental health condition or you are simply concerned for their welfare out of hours, please ring Security on 01202 962222 to alert them. They will arrange for the WDO to become involved.