Electronic Mail (Email) Policy

Document Number000895
Date Approved27 April 2009
Date Last Amended12 April 2013

1.      Introduction      

Email is an increasingly important vehicle for cost effective and sustainable communication between members of the University community and between staff and students of the University and external partners and agencies.  Its use by staff, students, honorary appointees, volunteers and associates becomes a formal corporate record of the university and is governed by relevant legislation, by the University’s stated values and standards of professional conduct, and by the protocols that apply to written communication.

The use of email requires attention to the needs of the University and its legislated responsibilities, consideration of the receiver, and regard for the demands of efficiency and professionalism.

This policy reflects the provisions of the law (refer Essential Supporting Documents below) and the University Computing and Communications Facilities Conditions of Use Policy 000817. It should be read in conjunction with that document and with the advice provided in the University's Making Email Work for Us Campaign.

2.      Policy Intent

Establishment of a framework for the proper and efficient use of email by staff, students, honorary appointees, volunteers and associates of the University.

2.1.      Policy Objectives

This policy seeks to:

  1. advise users of University email of their rights and responsibilities;
  2. ensure compliance with relevant legislation;
  3. protect the user and the University from the risk posed by illegal or improper use of email; and
  4. assist the user to manage email in a way that is sensitive to the needs of others and avoids waste of time and/or resources.

3.      Relevant Definitions

In the context of this document:

Email means a message, including any attachments, sent in an electronic format from one user to one or more other users via a computer network, using an email protocol.

4.      Scope

4.1.     This policy applies to all users of the University’s email system: staff, students, honorary appointees, volunteers and associates of the University who are given access to email by the University for uses associated with the University e.g. the conduct of a joint research project.

4.2.     It applies to emails, the contents of emails, electronic attachments to email and information associated with such communications.

4.3.     Use of email indicates the user’s understanding and acceptance of the University’s conditions of use for computing and communication facilities and acceptance of the terms of those conditions.

5.      Policy Provisions

5.1.     Responsibilities of Users.

5.1.1.       Access to a University email account is provided for the purpose of sending and receiving emails related to the business of the University or to the study program of the student.

5.1.2.       Students and staff are required to check their University email account regularly and to use Studentmail or staff email for all email correspondence with the University.

5.1.3.       Emails sent and received by a member of the University community acting in their University capacity, form part of the University’s official records and must therefore comply with the University’s Records Management Policy 000285, the State Records Act 1998 and related legislation.

5.1.4.       Use of email is subject to the laws relating to copyright, FOI, breach of confidentiality, privacy and anti-discrimination. Users of a University email account are required to respect confidentiality, privacy, legal/professional privilege and the rights of others and to ensure that the content and dissemination of email does not jeopardise those protections.
Promoting a Respectful and Collaborative University: Diversity and Inclusiveness Policy 000941 

5.1.5.       Users of University email are expected to respect the standards of courtesy and professionalism that apply to all University communications and to avoid aggressive or abusive messages.

5.1.6.       Users of University email must not use language that could be discriminatory or that may intimidate or humiliate the receiver or any other person.

5.1.7.       To ensure the integrity of the record of an email, users are required to ensure that the following three components of email messages are always completed and retained within the record of the email:

  1. the message envelope (addressee, sender, date/time);
  2. message body (text of the message);
  3. header information (transmission details such as date and time of sending).

5.1.8.       Users of University email resources should not use email in a way that causes excessive strain on the University’s Information System including use that consumes a large amount of bandwidth.

5.1.9.       Users of University email are responsible for using email in line with the protocols provided in the Electronic Mail (Email) Management Guidelines 000143.

5.1.10.     The University acknowledges the potential impost on staff of large volumes of email and the common expectation of an immediate reply. Staff are not usually expected to respond to work related emails outside  their normal working hours. Equally, in sending emails staff must avoid undue strain on the receiver by choosing alternative means of communicating where this is easier and more efficient.

 5.2.     Use of Email

5.2.1.       In determining when email is the appropriate choice for communicating, users should be guided by consideration of the nature of the message, the needs of the receiver and the value of using an alternative medium. (Refer: Make Email Work for Us.) 

 5.3.     Personal / Commercial Use of Email

5.3.1.       Limited personal use of a University email account is permitted provided that such use is legal, consistent with University Computing and Communications Facilities Conditions of Use Policy 000817, and does not detract from or conflict with University business.

5.3.2.       Use of the University’s email resources for private commercial activity is prohibited unless specific approval has been provided in line with the Paid Outside Work Policy 000835.

6.      Security and Monitoring of Email

6.1.1.       The University may access email records, including but not limited to access in the event of reasonable suspicion of criminal or unauthorised activity, potential or actual legal action involving the University, or in the exercise of its legal obligations to disclose or provide records or to protect the interests of the University.

6.1.2.       Surveillance of email will be in accordance with the Workplace Surveillance Act 2005.

6.1.3.       The University seeks to protect the security of its email but cannot guarantee protection against the interception or alteration of communication by third parties.

6.1.4.       Email users are expected to assist in the prevention of email misuse by:

  1. verifying the authenticity of an email that proposes an unusual course of action;
  2. not using email to convey sensitive personal or commercial information;
  3. protecting their email accounts and passwords by not allowing others to access these;
  4. not accessing other accounts without permission from the account holder;
  5. being aware that by sending their email address to open groups, their email address will become public; and
  6. being aware that it is possible for a forwarded message to  be altered from the original one.

6.1.5.       The University monitors the email system and reserves the right to limit the size of and volume of emails sent and received on the University system, and the amount of email retained on the University’s email resources.

6.1.6.       The Chief Information Officer or their nominated delegate may temporarily deny access or restrict access to the University’s email resources to prevent a breach of the law or a breach of policy, or to conduct an investigation into such a breach, or to protect the integrity of the University’s Information System.

6.1.7.       The University may block emails that threaten the security of the system, involve the dissemination of spam, or include content that is contrary to the expectations of this policy.

The policy has been prepared with assistance from the UWS Email Policy

7.      Essential Supporting Documents  

Make Email Work for Us

University Computing and Communications Facilities Conditions of Use Policy 000817

Code of Conduct Policy 000059

Electronic Mail (Email) Management Guidelines 000143

Records Management Policy 000285

Electronic Records Management Guideline 000053 

Promoting a Respectful and Collaborative University: Diversity and Inclusiveness Policy 000941 

Paid Outside Work Policy 000835

8.      Related Documents

Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998

Health Records and Information Privacy Act 2002

State Records Act 1998

Australian Copyright Act 1968

Approval AuthorityVice-Chancellor
Date Approved27 April 2009
Date Last Amended12 April 2013
Date for Review27 April 2012
Policy SponsorChief Operating Officer
Policy OwnerUniversity Chief Information Officer
Policy ContactAssociate Director, IT Infrastructure Services
Amendment History

Policy Sponsor changed to Chief Operating Officer, The Secretariat, 20 May 2013.

Amendment to title of Policy 000941 replacing 'Workplace' with 'University' in the Promoting a Respectful and Collaborative Workplace: Diversity and Inclusiveness Policy. Approved Vice-Chancellor 12 April 2013.

25 August 2011 - Minor administrative amendments.