skip to content

IT Help and Support

University Information Services

The University carried out an all-staff consultation between December 2021 and February 2022 on a set of principles that might inform a new policy governing the allocation of University email addresses. The details below summarise the information provided in the consultation, but these do not form the policy itself. The final policy will be informed by the feedback received via the consultation. For the latest updates, see email address allocation and retention policy.

Key principles and recommendations

Through the consultation, we sought feedback from the University community on the below principles and on a series of recommendations concerning eligibility and transition arrangements.


  • The new policy must be appropriate to the needs of collegiate Cambridge and also improve information governance, identity management and cyber security.   
  • The transitional arrangements for the implementation of the new policy should be mindful of the need to support those who may be affected by this change, including those who have operated for a long-time with just one email address which is used for all parts of life.   
  • The policy must include provision to retain email addresses for those who continue beyond retirement to actively contribute to the academic life of the University or Colleges.   
  • Retired professional services staff would not normally be eligible for an email address, but exceptions should be allowable where deemed appropriate by the relevant Head of Institution for a defined purpose and time.  
  • Provision should be made for those affiliated individuals who make a defined contribution for a defined period, either through academic association (e.g. individuals with adjunct titles) or professional association (e.g. attached to a project or committee).
  • The concept of allocating an email address for life (in perpetuity) is no longer valid policy for any category of eligibility, though transitional arrangements are essential for those who have previously operated on this assumption. Under new policy, all routes to eligibility should be time-limited.

Recommendation 1 – use and purpose of email addresses 

The ISC has defined the proper use and purpose of email addresses as follows: 

  1. email addresses are primarily for academic and administrative work for the University and the Colleges.  
  2. For academic and administrative purposes of the University and the Colleges, only the email address should be used. 

These purposes are informed by the information security and information governance requirements on the University and the Colleges, such as those framed by the Freedom of Information Act and Data Protection Act and research funders.  

Guidance on usage of email addresses is being developed to help steer good practice. As part of the policy implementation, UIS will work with the HR Division to ensure guidance on email use is built into induction information for new staff joining the University. 

Recommendation 2 - eligibility 

This is one of the areas that has attracted most feedback and concern. There is a complex balance between the benefits of improved information and cyber security and user expectations of eligibility, especially in retirement.   

The ISC proposes the following three routes for eligibility for an email address. 

Route A: Automatic Eligibility 
Individuals can be eligible through a formal relationship with the collegiate University. Eligibility in this category will last as long as the formal relationship or title lasts. This category consists of: 

  • Current employees of the academic University and the Colleges including employees of wholly-owned subsidiaries of the University and TES staff once assigned, but excluding staff at Cambridge University Press and Assessment. 
  • Current registered students as defined in Statute A X 2(c), and unmatriculated students who are attending, or have accepted an offer to attend, a course of study 
  • All members of the Faculties 
  • All Fellows of the Colleges, including Emeritus FellowS 
  • All Fellows and equivalents of the Theological Colleges 
  • All Honorary Professors and Readers 
  • All members of the Regent House  

Further work may be needed to define the categories listed above and to ensure they are as inclusive as possible to those who should be automatically eligible.  

Route B: Institutional Nomination  

Individuals can be eligible by institutional nomination. This category will consist of those nominated either by the Head of a Department in the University or the Head of a College. This includes staff with adjunct academic titles and other individuals whom the Head of Department / College determine require an email address for specific agreed purposes, such as external membership of a committee, consultancy, or volunteering. At the discretion of the Head of Department or Head of College it may also include other roles. 

Eligibility in this category should be for a defined period, either until the end of the academical year in which the nomination is made, or the end of the following academical year if the nomination is made in or after Easter term, or the defined term of office. It may be renewed repeatedly. Nominations may be revoked by the Head of the institution that originally made them. 

Route C: Self Nomination  

Individuals can be eligible by self-nomination. This category consists of individuals in academic roles who have been previously automatically eligible under Route A, are now retired, and who self-confirm that they are actively involved in defined academic activities of the collegiate University. 

Eligibility in this category will last until the end of the academical year in which the request is made, or the end of the following academical year if the request is made in or after Easter term. It may be renewed repeatedly, by virtue of resubmitting the self-nomination. Heads of Institutions will review self-nominations and retain a right of veto. 

Recommendation 3 – regulations 

The sub-group recommends that the ISC regulations governing IT use as set out in Statutes and Ordinances be updated to reflect the recommended use and purpose of an email address and that such rules apply to all individuals to whom an email address is allocated. 

Recommendation 4 – policy implementation and date for review 

The ISC has approved an implementation date for the revised policy of the start of the academical year 2022-23 – i.e. 4 October 2022 – assuming the policy is approved at the relevant committees and that there is adequate technical and communications support in place to support implementation 

The ISC has approved a date for policy review at three years from the policy implementation date, on the condition that the ISC can trigger an earlier review if there is a significant change in circumstances, such as a change to the regulatory framework for information governance and cyber security. 

Recommendation 5 – transition arrangements 

The ISC proposes the following transitional arrangements to allow time for current @cam email users who will cease to be eligible under the proposed new policy to adapt and change their provider:  

  • a grace period of two academic years (running from the proposed implementation date at the start of 22/23 to the end of 23/24) that would allow individuals no longer eligible for an email address under the new policy to make alternative email arrangements over an extended period.  
  • emails sent to an address may be forwarded automatically to another address specified by the individual for a period of up to 12 months after eligibility for that address has ceased. This would be available to affected users after the two-year grace period and might also be extended to some other withdrawn email addresses going forward. 

This recommendation is intended to seek a balance between the need to improve information governance and to support those impacted by policy change.

Consultation feedback summary

The consultation on the principles that might inform the policy highlighted areas that required further thought and attention.

1,507 people responded to the consultation survey. The majority of respondents (65%) were in favour of the principles outlined, or of having tighter controls on eligibility. The remainder of the respondents made clear that the policy needed to:

  • clearly delineate the criteria for eligibility of email addresses and, in particular, differentiate between eligibility for email while working for or studying at the University, and the criteria for eligibility once individuals’ formal or contractual relationships with the University have ended
  • ensure eligibility for retired academic staff who are still making valuable contributions to the University’s mission and the work of the collegiate University
  • acknowledge early-career academics and others working under short-term contracts
  • take account of the fact that many academic staff use their email addresses as their contact point on published papers, and need to remain contactable
  • further clarify the implications (if any) for Colleges, subsidiaries of the University and other associated entities
  • respect the needs of individuals for whom transition to a new email provider may be problematic.