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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 information and arrangements are organised quickly, helpfully and respectfully for the member of staff’s next of kin. It's also important that colleagues receive appropriate support, and 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 they are properly supported. Where possible, the supporting role should be shared between the department and the Department of Human Resources − and not focused on any one individual. Line managers for staff involved should speak with their HR Business Partner for further guidance.

Those affected should consider seeking help through the University’s staff counselling and support services, provided by the Royal United Hospital’s Employee Assistance Programme (EAP).

Death on the University campus

If a member of staff discovers someone on campus or the immediate vicinity showing no signs of life or appearing seriously injured, they should contact the Security Office immediately.

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 their 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 or family

Death off campus

If a member of staff learns of the death off campus of another member of staff, they should immediately notify the Director of Human Resources (or in their absence, the Deputy Director) or their HR Business Partner.

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 or the family.

Other sources of support


WAY (Widowed and Young)


Winston's Wish (charity for bereaved children)

Child Bereavement UK

Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide

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

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