Skip to main content

Guidelines for the acquisition and use of mobile phones and other mobile devices

These are the terms and conditions you need to sign up for when you are using University funds to choose, buy and use a mobile device for your University work.


Section 1 - Contents

  • Section 2 - Introduction
  • Section 3 - Acquisition and use of University supplied mobile devices
  • Section 4 - Use of personal mobile telephones
  • Section 5 - Problems, Faults and Dispute Resolution
  • Section 6 - Disposal, legacy, leavers and termination
  • Section 7 - Where you can get help
  • Section 8 - Health and Safety
  • Section 9 - GDPR Information
  • Section 10 - Terms and Conditions
  • Footnotes

Section 2 - Introduction

The University recognises that to ensure the most effective running of services, communications and business activities it is necessary for some staff to have access to mobile communication devices. These guidelines and related procedures should be applied consistently to ensure the correct use of University funds in relation to procurement, maintenance and payment for these facilities.

These guidelines are intended both to control current and future use and so reduce the substantial cost to the University, and to indicate ways in which mobile technology could assist in more flexible working in the future.

2.1 Definitions

Advanced specification mobile phone: a Smart phone such as Android, Apple iPhone or Windows phone. Current models as per the IT Shop website.

BYOD (Bring Your Own Device): a personally owned device where permission to use a University supplied contract SIM has been given.

Data Dongle: device that adds 3G/4G connectivity to a laptop computer or similar device.

Data Tethering: where a mobile phone is utilised to enable 3/4G data connection to a Laptop instead of a Data Dongle

Mobile Device: a mobile phone handset, data dongle, SIM or tablet computer including iPads

Mobile Phone: a mobile handset for data and/or voice & text messaging.

Standard specification mobile phone: standard provider issued handset with speech, camera and SMS text message communications services only. Current models as per the ITP website.

Tablet computer: Apple iPad, Android, Windows based tablet or similar device.

2.2 Purpose of the Guidelines

To ensure that all contracts agreed for the provision of any mobile device and tariff or any other provision, in respect of mobile communication on behalf of the University or for the undertaking of its corporate business, are entered into with the service provider(s) that have been selected by the University as detailed in these guidelines.

To ensure that the purchase and use of all mobile devices for undertaking corporate business on behalf of University is correctly assessed, authorised and monitored. To ensure that all tariffs and mobile devices, as well as any relevant associated licence arrangements, are contracted for in accordance with the University’s procurement regulations.

To establish the expectations and responsibilities placed on all University mobile device users with authority for the acquisition and/or use of devices, tariffs or licences procured in respect of the provision of mobile communications options necessary for the University to meet its corporate responsibilities and business needs.

Section 3 - Acquisition and use of University supplied mobile devices

3.1 Limitations and Conditions of Use

The purchase and use of mobile devices is covered by the following University Policies:

  • Financial Policy UP4 – Equipment
  • Financial Policy UP3 - Purchasing Policy
  • Computer Services Acceptable Use Policy

All mobile devices are purchased by the University for business use and are provided to staff on a loan basis at the University’s discretion.

All users must adopt practices of fair and reasonable use. Calls should be limited to that for effective business use and kept as brief as possible. The user should take all reasonable and practical precautions to keep the device safe from damage, loss or theft. The user must not use the device for unlawful activities e.g. commercial purposes unrelated to the University or for personal gain. Use of premium services or chargeable downloads such as third-party software, ringtone services, TV or film downloads, competitions or adult chat lines for personal use is strictly forbidden. As with any University equipment misuse of the mobile device is a disciplinary offence.

3.2 Usage

All such equipment is issued for business use with only incidental private usage permitted. An employee may be subject to a Benefit in Kind tax charge unless it can be demonstrated that the piece of equipment is provided to an employee solely for business use and that any private use is not significant. There will be tax liabilities on the University if it has not reported this benefit. For this reason, it is important that the business need for the equipment is established. An employee can only be issued with one mobile phone at any time without incurring a tax charge.

In the case of mobile/smartphones, incidental private use will be interpreted as having a cost of calls or data which is no more than £5 including VAT in any month. If due to exceptional circumstances, an employee has exceeded that sum then he/she should refund the total cost of the personal use. Where an employee believes this might be the case he/she should request a copy of the bill from their finance administrator. Bills in excess of £25 including VAT in a month should be circulated, by the staff responsible for finance in the department or faculty, to phone users for review. Departments may choose to circulate bills at a lower threshold or where they have a particular query. Personal use will be subject to audit.

3.3 Scope and Eligibility

The need for a University member of staff to have a mobile device must be justified according to the role and responsibilities of that member of staff.

All requests for mobile phones and all other mobile devices as defined in 2.1 must be via ITP eMarketPlace on Agresso.

Mobile devices will only be issued to staff that have the approval of their Head of Department. An employee is eligible to have a mobile device if it is necessary to their position or one of the following:

  • Staff engaged in business during unsocial hours i.e. before 7.00 am and after 7.30 pm and where there are lone working/H & S considerations.
  • Staff who regularly work off campus or at remote sites/locations.
  • Staff who are ‘on call’ to provide attendance at the University at short notice.
  • Staff who are required to work outside of a teaching/office/workshop environment as part of their duties and responsibility and have only intermittent access to landlines.
  • Staff for whom there are personal safety concerns while travelling on University business, e.g. working in isolated or high crime areas.
  • Staff where there is a need to contact the individual after normal business hours on a regular basis or defined emergency.
  • Staff where there is a clear and proportionate benefit to the University.
  • Staff who have received funding for a mobile device required as part of an externally funded research grant or contract, are not required to meet any further criteria. Please note, in these circumstances, funding must be available for the lifetime of the contract, currently 36 months, this should be taken into consideration when submitting grant requests.

When a mobile device has been authorised to be assigned to a member of staff, the following conditions will also apply:

  1. The mobile device should, when required, maximise the functionality offered by the University’s e-communications infrastructure, email, calendar, and other apps facilities as they become available e.g. remote tracking and resetting (data wipe).
  2. All mobile devices provided by the University, respective tariffs and licences remain the property of University at all times.
  3. The mobile device must be returned to ITP by the Faculty or Professional Service when a member of staff leaves the University, or there is a change in the job role which does not require the use of a mobile device, or if the device is replaced.
  4. The assigned user will be responsible for the security of the device, SIM card and any accessories. The device must not be passed to another member of staff for use without prior consultation with the Head of Department and ITP. (except in an emergency).
  5. Only use data capable devices in alignment with Computer Services Acceptable Use Policy.
  6. The above criteria also applies to SIMs provided for use in BYOD devices.
  7. An asset register will be kept by DD&T.
  8. Mobile devices will be mobile managed by your departmental IT Supporter.

3.4 Service Providers

Generally, The University will only fund corporate contracts entered into with the approved Service Providers under the relevant government, national or locally tendered framework agreement. All mobile devices and associated contracts must be purchased through ITP.

In exceptional circumstances permission can be granted to purchase outside our contracted arrangements, before the purchase has been made a completed IT Hardware and Software Purchase Approval Request (ITPAR) form must be signed off by the Assistant Director User Services Computer Services, reimbursement will not be approved unless the ITPAR process has been fully completed and approved in advance. – see footnote 1

The purchase of any device outside these arrangements will be considered as a personal purchase and will remain the sole liability of the purchaser. No reimbursements whatsoever will be made in relation to the purchase, maintenance or billing against such a device.

3.5 Responsibility and Ownership

It is the responsibility of hardware approvers, budget holders, finance administrators and the user to ensure the guidelines are adhered to.

It is the responsibility of the user to ensure the security, proper usage and maintenance of any device issued. The mobile device must only be used for business purposes with the exception of use in emergencies and incidental personal use.

The Faculty/Department IT supporter will offer support for internet access, retrieval of email and calendar if appropriate for your device, and other apps approved by Computer Services.

ITP will issue mobile devices to members of staff in the most cost effective and efficient method. This will include utilising existing mobile devices and contracts where appropriate.

  • The mobile device will be logged and registered against the member of staff.
  • The mobile device will remain the property of the University.
  • Under no circumstances will the ownership of the mobile device be transferred to a member of staff.
  • The member of staff is expected to use the device in a responsible manner. Costs due to the loss or damage to the mobile device will be paid for by the member of staff. It will be at the HoD’s sole discretion to waive these costs. However, in exceptional circumstances claims for reimbursement can be made to the University Insurance office for their consideration.
  • The mobile device must be returned to ITP by the Faculty or Professional Service when a member of staff leaves the University or there is a change in the job role which does not require the use of a mobile device.

3.6 Using Call Tagging to Identify Personal Call

Users can, if the contract allows, request access to their account where they can tag their popular personal numbers for easier identification when reviewing their bills.

3.7 Use abroad (roaming)

International roaming is turned off for all University devices, to turn roaming on contact ITP. Before using the mobile device outside of the UK the user must contact ITP to arrange for the most suitable tariff for voice and data.

Failure to arrange for a use abroad tariff will result in a significant cost which will be charged to respective user accounts. Please note travel tariffs are per trip and need to be requested for each trip abroad. ITP require a minimum of five working days’ notice to arrange appropriate tariff to be in place.

3.8 Early Termination of Mobile Device Contracts

Should the termination of a contract be necessary or required prior to the original contract term agreed, there exists an obligation to pay for the contract until this term expires. In these instances the contract will have to be bought out for the residue of the contract, by the sponsoring department. Currently, contracts are fixed at 36 months.

Mobile device users are responsible for communicating the need to terminate any mobile communications contract in accordance with the terms laid down in the original equipment agreement. Termination should be confirmed to ITP by the Faculty, Professional Service. ITP will arrange the actual termination with the service provider.

3.9 Replacement of Lost, Stolen or Damaged Mobile Devices

Lost device: contact the Device provider’s helpdesk to block both the number and the device. The Device providers helpdesk will ask when the mobile device was last used. It is the responsibility of the user to contact Device provider’s helpdesk immediately. See Footnote 2

Stolen device: immediately report to police and obtain a case number, contact the Device providers helpdesk to block both the number and the device. The Device provider’s helpdesk will ask when the mobile device was last used. It is the responsibility of the user to contact Device provider’s helpdesk immediately. See Footnote 2

Damaged device: contact the IT Shop for help and advice.

Replacement mobile devices will be charged at full cost. Claims for reimbursement can be made to the University Insurance office for their consideration. The replacement of a lost/stolen/damaged mobile device must be co-ordinated through ITP, to ensure that correct account details are maintained and any necessary security measures are taken to block access if applicable.

3.10 Cessation of Use

Where is it is clear from usage that the original justification for the device is no longer valid, the device must be returned to ITP and the residue of the contract paid off.

3.11 Abuse of the mobile telephone scheme

Any member of staff found to be abusing the usage or care of a mobile device may have the device removed for a defined or indefinite period. Any fines incurred, for example, fines by train operating companies for the use of mobile devices in certain restricted areas will be recharged to the users. Such fines cannot be paid from University funds or reimbursed through an expenses claim.

Section 4 - Use of personal mobile telephones

Where a member of staff does not have an issued University device or when such an issued device is not operational, the costs of University business calls can be reclaimed from the University. The cost of calls should be supported by an appropriate itemised invoice from the mobile supplier using the standard University expenses procedure.

If significant usage is recorded the HoD should consider a business case for the issue of a University approved device. Only cost of calls can be claimed, device rental is not a claimable cost.

Section 5 - Problems, Faults and Dispute Resolution

Members of staff that have a problem with their mobile device or the service can contact the device provider for help and advice. See Footnote 2.

Due to contract conditions, you may need to contact ITP to facilitate problem resolution.

Section 6 - Disposal, legacy, leavers and termination

It is the responsibility of the HoD to ensure that any device and SIM are returned to ITP when an employee leaves. It should be noted that user contracts are transferable and therefore consideration should be given to whether it is actually necessary to terminate the contract. Transferability provides the opportunity to re-register the existing mobile device and contract to a new user who need not be in the same Faculty or Professional Service unit. Should this be an option, it is the duty of the new user and line manager to communicate this information to ITP to arrange with the service provider.

In instances where it is necessary to terminate the contract prior to the original contract term, there is an obligation to pay for the contract until this term expires. The Faculty or Professional Service unit will be responsible for any costs associated with this.

Users and budget holders are jointly responsible for ensuring the appropriate termination of any mobile communications contract in accordance with the terms laid down in the original agreement.

General Funded equipment purchased for you by the University remains the property of the university. If the item is to be upgraded, replaced or anything to that effect, it must be returned to the University before any new equipment can be provided.

Devices that have reached the end of their working life must be disposed of legally as they fall under the WEEE regulations and can be considered commercial waste. All end of life devices must be returned to ITP for disposal.

Section 7 - Where you can get help

  • ITP for information on tariffs, plans, lost/stolen devices and device problems
  • Computer Services IT Purchasing - Library, Level 2
  • Computer Services web pages
  • HELP button on Computer Services website

Section 8 - Health and Safety

8.1 Using mobile communication devices in Controlled or Hazardous Areas

If considering the use of any mobile device in a controlled environment or area where hazardous products or procedures are used, the activity must be carefully risk assessed and, if necessary, advice sought from the University’s Health, Safety and Environment Service (UHSE).

In some hazardous or controlled areas, intrinsically safe mobile devices may be appropriate, but it may be necessary to ban the use of any mobile communication device. Strict adherence to local rules and any established Safe Systems of Work must be observed at all hazardous locations or sites. This is particularly relevant, but not limited, to proximity to strong magnetic fields, e.g. Mass Spectrometry or Nuclear Magnetic Resonance facilities.

8.2 Using Mobile Devices whilst driving

Do not use a mobile phone or other device held in the hand (for example iPads and Tablets) while driving, or while stopped with the engine switched on – it is illegal. Only two-way radios are exempt from this requirement.

While it is an offence simply to use a hand held phone whilst driving, this is not the case for hands-free phones. However, you can still be prosecuted if you are seen not to be in control of a vehicle while using a hands-free phone.

There is plenty of evidence that using any sort of phone has a considerable effect on accident risk, so simply complying with the law does not make you a safe driver. Using even a hands free phone can have a significant bearing on whether or not you could be found guilty of careless or dangerous driving.

Any fines incurred by the University in respect of driving offences will be recharged to the staff member.

Stop in a safe and legal place to make or take a call, or leave it to go to voicemail – even if you have a hands-free phone.

You may make a call to 999 or 112 in a genuine emergency, but only if it is unsafe or impractical for you to stop first.

If you must talk on your hands-free phone, keep conversations short and simple or say that you will find somewhere to stop and phone back.

8.3 Further Information

Section 9 - GDPR is an extension and tightening up of the Data Protection Act. It ensures that any personal data held by any organisation is processed in a secure and transparent way.

Personal data will be used to: Process orders, process a request, to maintain records and to provide pre and after-sales services. IT Purchasing need to pass the information we collect to EE Limited, in order to carry out our obligations arising from any contracts entered into by you and the University of Bath.

Section 10 - Terms and Conditions for Issue of Mobile Phones / Mobile Devices

Please print and sign to accept the above conditions.

Please note: ITP will keep the original and copies can be kept by departments and end users.


Footnote 1 ITPAR (IT Hardware and Software Purchase Approval Request).

This form must be completed and approved by Bath University DD&T prior to all purchases of non-contracted IT - Hardware e.g. PCs and Laptops, Software and Mobile telephony. Copies of ITPAR form available on Purchasing Services and ITP web pages

Footnote 2 For phones/SIMs provided under University EE contract:

If your phone is lost, stolen or faulty please call Business Customer Relations on 150 from an EE handset or 07953966250 from any other phone, Or call +44 7953966250  from abroad (at international call rates). You will be able to get advice regarding:

  • Lost, stolen or damaged phones
  • Help and advice on the EE network

Lost and stolen phones - these need to be reported to the relevant Police Station where a crime reference number will be issued. In addition, you must also report to ITP.

You will need to contact ITP for any replacements and restoring service.

Owners: Alex Butler, Chief Digital and Information Officer and Tony Brett, Head of Procurement Version: 1 Last Review date: March 2013


If you have any questions, please contact us.

On this page