Skip to main content

Dealing with the death of a member of staff

This guide describes the ways the University can provide support to those affected by the death of a member of staff.

Supporting staff

Handling the death of a member of staff requires managers and staff to combine practicality and sensitivity to ensure that information and arrangements are organised quickly, helpfully and respectfully for the member of staff’s next of kin. It is also important that colleagues receive appropriate support and that the dignity and wellbeing of all those involved is maintained throughout.

Dealing with these issues is likely to be highly emotionally demanding for the staff involved. It is therefore vital that the staff involved are properly supported and that where possible the supporting role is shared amongst both by the department and the Department of Human Resources and not focussed on any one individual. Line managers for the staff involved should speak with their HR Manager.

Staff affected should considering seeking support and help through the University’s staff counselling and support services which are provided by the Royal United Hospital’s Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) service.

Death on campus

A member of staff who discovers someone on the University Campus or its immediate vicinity showing no signs of life or appears to be seriously injured should immediately contact the Security Office.

The Security Office will:

  • Notify and liaise with the emergency services

  • Notify the Head of Security or Security Manager

  • Notify the Director of Human Resources (or in his/her absence the Deputy Director or a Human Resources Manager)

The Police and Ambulance Service will:

  • Attend the scene of the incident

  • Contact the Coroner, if appropriate

  • Notify the next of kin/family

Death off campus

Should a member of staff become aware of the death off campus of another member of staff they should notify the Director of Human Resources (or in his/her absence the Deputy Director) or their HR Manager straight away.

Announcing the death

In all cases no announcement of the death may be made - particularly through publicity via the internet or email - until it has been confirmed that close family members of the deceased have been made aware of the death. There may also be circumstances where announcement of death is withheld at the request of the police.

Other sources of support


WAY (Widowed and Young)


Winston's wish(charity for bereaved children)

Child Bereavement UK

Survivors of bereavement through suicide

Roadpeace (charity for road crash victims, supporting those bereaved or injured)