This article contains information for University staff only.

This article provides information on delegate email accounts which are used by groups of staff to send and receive mail using a generic name. It includes instructions for requesting an account and guidance on the levels of responisbilty when managing a delegate email account. Information Services can create a delegate email account so that a faculty, department or group of people, where appropriate, can use the account to send and receive mail from a generic name. Delegate accounts should be used where there are a group of people responsible for the same area of work e.g. instructional, research, or administrative functions. Using a delegate account can be a way of ensuring that queries are answered quickly when members of the team are away from the office.

Request a delegate account

A delegate account can be requested by completing the 'New Shared Mailbox' Self Service request. The primary contact must be a current live Google account user and will be the owner.

Managing a delegate account

The primary contact is responsible for the management and administration of the account to ensure compliance with the University computer use regulations and email policy. Management of email messages in a delegated account involves identification of emails that should be retained as a record of an activity and deletion of ephemeral messages.There will be a need for some additional rules concerning when to delete an email message, how to identify an email message as having been answered and the types of email messages that should be treated as records. While it is the responsibility of the primary contact to ensure that there are specific rules relating to the management of the account, it is the responsibility of all staff members with access to the account to abide by those rules. The primary contact of the delegate account will need to decide and communicate to the other users how to treat the email messages that will be received in the account. The primary contact of the account should consider the following aspects:

  • Who should answer which email messages.
  • How to determine that someone has responded to an email message.
  • When an email has been replied to, should the received email or the reply remain in the mailbox.
  • Who has the responsibility to capture records of the email messages.
  • Where will the email records messages received and replied to be maintained.
  • Who should respond to which email messages will depend on who has access to the account, the type of emails that are received, and will ultimately be determined by the primary contact.

The issues relating to capturing records of the email messages received in the account will require guidance about what needs to be captured as a record and where to file a record. This should be discussed with the university records manager.

Levels of responsibility

The management of delegate accounts has two main levels.

  • Level 1 - IS has the responsibility for maintaining and controlling access to the delegate account.
  • Level 2 - The primary contact of the delegate account has responsibility for overseeing the daily management of the account.

These two levels have specific responsibilities that when combined should ensure that everyone using delegate accounts is aware of how the contained email messages should be treated It is the responsibility of IS to ensure that all delegate accounts have a primary contact and that these contacts are aware of their management responsibilities.

Only IS can change the ownership of a delegate email account. If the primary contact has any specific problems with managing the delegate account these should be discussed with IS. The primary contact will need to develop some specific rules relating to the management of the delegate account, how email messages are responded to and how this is communicated to other people using the delegate account. 

Purpose – The creation of a delegate account must include the details of what it is to be called and the specific purpose, for example a delegate account might be created to answer queries on a particular subject.

It is the responsibility of the primary contact to ensure that the account is used for the specified purpose. If the delegate account is not being used for the specified purpose the primary contact should take appropriate action eg. suggesting to the sender a more appropriate place to send their enquiry.

The delegate account must be authorised by the Head of Department/Faculty/Group Access – The primary contact can add and remove access (delegated) rights. Access should only be granted to people who are able to answer the email enquiries that will be received. It might also be necessary for the primary contact to delegate some responsibility to others who are granted access in terms of managing the emails and ensuring the account is used for its specified purpose.

In terms of sending messages to the account, it will be necessary to ensure that a message is given to people who might want to send enquiries by giving the email address and the purpose of the account. This can be done on university website.

Anyone who is granted operational access to a delegated email account may only view material that is considered necessary for the operational reason for which access was granted. They are required to treat all material as confidential and not to act upon it or disclose it to any other person except those directly associated with the operational requirement for which the access was granted. They must preserve the confidentiality of any private or personal data that they may view inadvertently whilst undertaking operational matters. A failure to do so could constitute an offence under the terms of the Human Rights Act 2000.


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