Procedure guidance and related forms
When members of staff leave the College, it is essential that information reaches all those who need to know as quickly as possible. Failure to do so has implications for the leaver and their department, division, school or institute.
A leavers form should be completed as applicable for all staff members who are leaving the College, regardless of the circumstances. These include:
- Retirement (for any reason)
- Death protocol - staff [pdf]
- Contract Expiry
The Leavers' process flowchart sets out the individual responsibilities of the Leaver and Departmental Operating Manager, along with the actions that Administrative Divisions will take upon receipt of the leavers form.
In the event of a member of staff's death, please refer to the College's Death protocol - staff [pdf] in the first instance as some of the actions below may not apply.
Where dismissal is a possible outcome of a formal HR procedure it is important to consider both how the message will be communicated to the member of staff and how their exit from the College should be managed.
Retirements (for individuals in a College pension scheme)
Related information and guidance
Responding to reference requests
This note primarily focuses on points that line managers should take into consideration when dealing with a reference request.
Is there any obligation to provide a reference?
There is no legal obligation to provide a reference when asked. However, to refuse to give a reference may have negative effects on an individual and so it is College policy to respond to requests wherever possible. To avoid allegations of discrimination, individuals should be treated consistently.
When a reference request is received:
References should be completed by the relevant line manager and copied to HR for filing on the individual’s personal file.
Requests for oral references should be brief and factual and ideally followed up in writing to avoid any misrepresentation of the statements made. Before providing an oral reference it is good practice to check with the company that the person requesting the reference has the authority to do so.
‘To Whom It May Concern’ statements should be restricted to matters of fact and give a contact name and address so that prospective employers can request further information.
When providing a reference, the following points should be addressed:
Length of service
Reasons for leaving
Where comment on the performance/competence of the individual is requested, proceed with caution and only comment on matters within your knowledge or the knowledge of the relevant departmental/divisional Manager, ensuring that the following two points (which are imposed by law) are met:
a) Use reasonable skill and care to ensure the accuracy of all facts and statements and ensure that, even where facts given are accurate, they do not present the individual in such a way so as to give an unfair overall impression
b) Mention any facts relating to an individual’s performance, capability or conduct which should be drawn to the attention of a new employer.
Consider whether a favourable reference is always appropriate. In the case of a claim for unfair dismissal brought against the College where an individual has been dismissed for poor performance or misconduct, a defence might be seriously prejudiced by the former individual producing a highly complimentary reference as evidence to support his or her claim. The College would also be in breach of its obligation to provide an accurate reference.
The following disclaimer should be included in all references, both written and oral: “This reference is strictly confidential and is provided to you only in connection with [Name] and should only be used for that purpose. The above information is given in confidence and in good faith. No responsibility, however, can be accepted for any errors, omissions or inaccuracies in the information or for any loss or damage that may result from reliance being placed upon it.” (This may provide the College with a defence for a claim for negligent misstatement and may assist the College if it wishes to resist providing a copy of the reference to the individual).
If the request asks whether the individual has entered into a settlement agreement with the College, the response should be: “It is College policy not to respond to questions regarding settlement agreements. This should not be taken as an indication that [Name] has or has not entered into a settlement agreement with the College.”
Ensure that the reference:
Is not discriminatory or in any way victimises the individual, for example, by refusing to provide (or by providing a bad) reference because an individual has previously raised a complaint of discrimination.
Does not comment on any aspect of attendance or sickness.
The refusal is carefully phrased to ensure that a negative reference is not implied where this is not the intention.
Employee/Ex-employee’s rights under the Data Protection Act
- The Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA) gives individuals the right to have access to data stored by the College about them. Confidential references received by the College are exempt from the right of access by the data subject to whom they refer provided that such references have been written "In Confidence" and clearly state this. However, this exemption from disclosure to the data subject may not be possible to rely on in all circumstances – and the College may decide in any event that it is reasonable to disclose the reference (possibly, after anonymising it e.g. to remove the identity of the referee or where the referee has given his/her consent). Please refer to the Code of practice 3 - Access to personal data by subjects for further information.
Whom to contact for information and assistance:
For factual information on the employment history of an individual or for general guidance on the content of references please contact your local HR team.
Transfer of Undertakings (TUPE) procedure
Keeping that Imperial connection
Friends of Imperial
Friends of Imperial
Friends of Imperial events provide a convivial platform to bring together neighbours, alumni, staff and supporters of the College to hear about leading-edge science, talk about its implications and chat with world-class scientists. The benefits of membership include reduced rates for their programme of events as well as access to certain College facilities and opportunities to attend other special lectures, exhibitions, music and other events at the College. On production of your membership card you will also receive a discount at the various dining facilities (restaurants, cafeterias and bars) throughout College.
Thank you for making me so welcome. It was a great pleasure to meet such interesting people and I was very glad I made the journey. I am looking forward to the next opportunity already."
Alumnus and Friend of Imperial College.
Imperial College Women's Club
Inspiring and connecting women of the College.
The Women's Club provides opportunities for women to network at College meeting people from other Faculties as well as Campuses. Lunches take place in elegent dining room surroundings during the months of February, May and November. During the year, the Book Group and Day Events Group meet too.
As well as current staff, the Club warmly welcomes retired women of the College.
We love having the opportunity of meeting up with our friends and former colleagues. The Club also enables us to keep up to date with College news."
Two retired members of College staff.
Imperial Fringe is a series of public events exploring the unexpected side of science. Based on Imperial's ground-breaking research, Imperial Fringe is comprised of public evening events to engage with and build Festival audiences throughout the year via innovative public programming.
Prepare to think in new dimensions as you join a voyage of discovery and debate with the Imperial Fringe.
Every year the College showcases the best in science and arts at the College. This is a free public event featuring interactive activities, performances and workshops. Find out more about the Festival.
After you have left the College's employment, you will still be able to enjoy the savings offered through Imperial Perks by transitioning your account to the alumni program.