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Mobile Technology Policy

This University Mobile Technology Policy was approved by the Executive Operation Group with effect from 1 June 2013. (Printer-friendly version available here)

1.       MOBILE DEVICES

Aston University may provide mobile devices (indicative list includes: mobile phones, smartphones, tablets, laptops, dongles, etc) either to individual members of staff or to Schools/Departments/Teams where there is a clear legitimate business need.  This Policy aims to:

  • provide guidance on eligibility, usage and management of University owned mobile services

  • help manage telecommunications costs.

This policy applies to all mobile phones funded directly by the University, including via Personal Academic Support Accounts and Research Funding Accounts.    

 1.2    Eligibility

 1.2.1 Individual Staff Members

Aston University may provide a mobile device where a legitimate business need is identified and it is authorised by the relevant PVC/Executive Dean/Executive Director. Purchase of mobile devices and packages from Personal Academic Support Accounts and Research Funding Accounts must also be authorised by the relevant Executive Dean.

The eligibility of a member of staff for allocation of a mobile device will be evaluated against one or more of the following criteria:

  • the member of staff is required to be available outside business hours to assist with critical business functions, for example, responding to emergency incidents; or responding to ICT or building infrastructure problems.

  • the member of staff is required to make frequent and/or prolonged travel off campus.

  • there is an identifiable and proportionate benefit to the University.

Eligibility must be reassessed whenever the staff member transfers to a different position.

Mobile devices will not normally be issued to students, individuals contracted to provide services to the University, temporary staff or consultants.

 1.2.2  School/Departmental/Team Pool Mobile Devices

Mobile devices may be issued to a School/Department/Team rather than an individual where there is a clear and legitimate need, for example:

  • the School/Department/Team is responsible for large scale events (such as degree ceremonies) requiring the co-ordination of a large number of staff via a pool of mobile device

  • a pool device(s) issued to a particular School/Department/Team which has individuals who may need to travel to visit students on placement

  • the School/Department/Team has a need to send Short Message Service (SMS) text messages via a pool device(s) to students/applicants

 A specific member of staff from the School/Department/Team must be nominated to take responsibility for the allocation of the pool device(s) and for overseeing appropriate use.

 1.3    Application for and Issue of Mobile Devices

In order to take advantage of volume pricing discounts, Aston University has standardised mobile devices, mobile service packages, and mobile device accessories. The equipment provided will be from the approved range only. The handset and all peripheral equipment remain the property of the University and must be returned to the University if the device is upgraded, withdrawn, or on termination of employment.

The member of staff requesting a mobile device shall complete and return to ISA a Mobile Authorisation Form stating the business case for the type of device (eg standard phone, smartphone or tablet) and the service package that they require to meet their particular business needs.  A business case should be made for any non-standard accessories (such as a hands free kit) or smartphones, tablet or premium packages.

ISA will complete the Mobile Authorisation Form with guidance on the equipment and package appropriate for the stated business needs, and provide a list of the authorised options available to meet these needs. The form will be returned to the applicant who will then select the equipment/package from the available options identified by ISA and then submit the fully completed form to the relevant PVC/Executive Dean/Executive Director for authorisation.

The relevant PVC/Executive Dean/Executive Director is responsible for authorising the mobile device request (including the type of device and package) and for confirming that a staff member or School/Department/Team meets the eligibility criteria (ie before a purchase order is raised). When authorisation is received a purchase order may be raised. The new service will be charged to the relevant cost centre for the School/Department.

Eligible employees may transfer their existing mobile number to a University plan on request.  Payment of any costs associated with the transfer, such as a cancellation of contract fee, is at the discretion of the PVC/Executive Dean/Executive Director.  Any such costs will be borne by the approving School or Department. 

Where there is an existing mobile device contract with another service provider, there may be a need to continue the contract in the short term (eg to avoid transfer costs) until notice can be given. In such cases ISA must be notified of the current arrangements so that they may facilitate the transition to the main contract at the earliest opportunity. 

 1.4    Replacing an Existing Device

The University will replace mobile devices where there is a justifiable reason that is approved by the relevant PVC/Executive Dean/Executive Director.  In circumstances where it has been shown that the employee’s carelessness contributed to the loss of or damage to the device then the employee may be required to contribute to the replacement cost.

The University may choose to replace handsets as required by business or technological changes.

 1.5     Withdrawal of Approval for a Mobile Device

University management and members of the Executive Committee regularly review mobile device usage.  The University reserves the right to withdraw approval for a university mobile device at any time.

 1.6    University Mobile Service Provider(s)

All Mobile Services will be provided by the incumbent approved telecommunications service provider(s) for the University.  Use of an alternate service provider can only be authorised by the Chief of Operations and Estates Officer or nominee.

 1.7    Termination of Employment at Aston

At the conclusion of employment staff must return all University-owned SIM cards, mobile devices and accessories to ISA. Premium handsets and equipment under contract will not normally be made available for purchase by a departing member of staff.  Handsets and accessories that are technologically obsolete and due for disposal, as determined by the Chief of Operations and Estates (or nominee), may be made available to the departing staff member at no cost.

If requested, the University will agree to transfer mobile device numbers registered in its name to departing staff members where the staff member has had exclusive use of the number, providing the transfer takes effect prior to the termination date.   Payment of any costs associated with the transfer, such as a cancellation of contract fee, is at the discretion of the relevant PVC/Executive Dean/Executive Director.  Any such costs approved will be borne by the approving School or Department.  The University will reallocate the number or cancel the service if the transfer is not effected prior to the termination date.  This does not apply where the mobile device number was allocated to a School/Department/Team or published in a University publication.

 1.8    Authorised Usage

Mobile devices owned by the University are to be used appropriately, responsibly, and ethically.  The following must be observed:

  • in the event of loss or theft, the employee is also responsible for immediately contacting the service provider to have the number disabled.

  • University mobile devices are for University business purposes. It may be necessary for staff to use their University mobile device for personal use where there is no alternative. Staff are expected to strictly limit such calls/texts, for example, calls/texts made when travelling on business or when delayed due to business meetings. The University reserves the right to charge for all personal calls/texts where this privilege is abused.

  • University mobile devices must not be used to call premium rate call services such as 0900 numbers or premium SMS services.

  • In view of the higher charges for international use, University mobile devices should only be used for essential international calls/texts/internet browsing

  • University mobile devices must not be used for the purpose of illegal transactions, harassment, obscene behaviour, or any other activity that would breach another University policy.

  • Employees must not use a University mobile device while operating a motor vehicle unless it is fitted with an appropriate hands-free kit.  The employee will be responsible for any fines incurred as result of traffic regulation breaches.

  • University mobile devices must not be used to take photographs of an individual(s) without that individual’s consent.

  • University mobile devices must not be lent to anyone else, including University colleagues, without prior permission from the appropriate line manager.

  • Use of data services from mobile devices are subject to the University’s ICT Conditions of Use Policy.

1.9    Monitoring

Summary usage reports are regularly reviewed by the line manager(s), the relevant member of the Executive Team and the Chief of Operations and Estates (or nominee) for the purposes of monitoring usage against this policy.

Itemised bills for an individual mobile device will be made available to the line manager(s) and/or the relevant member of the Executive Team where there is reasonable suspicion of misuse.

Technical support personnel may not review the content of an individual member of staff’s communications out of personal curiosity or at the request of individuals who have not gone through proper approval channels. Advance written approval by the Chief of Operations and Estates (or nominee) is required for any such monitoring (refer to University Communications System Monitoring Policy).

 2.       USE OF OTHER TELECOMMUNICATIONS SERVICES FOR UNIVERSITY BUSINESS

 2.1   Use of Personal Mobile Devices for University Business

Aston University may allow a member of staff to use their personal mobile device for University business where a legitimate business need is identified and it is authorised in advance by the relevant PVC/Executive Dean/Executive Director.  The eligibility of a member of staff to use their personal mobile device for University business will be evaluated in relation to the criteria set out in 1.2.1 above. The relevant PVC/Executive Dean/Executive Director is responsible for approving the use of a personal mobile device for University business and for confirming that a staff member meets the eligibility criteria. 

Staff who are authorised to use their personal mobile device will be reimbursed for University business call charges, which must be claimed via the normal expenses form. No monthly rental charges or other costs will be reimbursed.

The approved expenses will be met by the relevant cost centre for the School/Department.

 2.2    Use of Home Telephones/Landlines for University Business

Aston University may allow a member of staff to use their home telephone/landline for University business where a legitimate business need is identified and it is authorised in advance by the relevant PVC/Executive Dean/Executive Director.  The eligibility of a member of staff to use their home telephone/landline for University business will be evaluated in relation to the criteria set out in 1.2.1 above. The relevant PVC/Executive Dean/Executive Director is responsible for approving the use of a home telephone/landline for University business and for confirming that a staff member meets the eligibility criteria. 

Staff who are authorised to use their home telephone/landline for University business will be reimbursed for University business call charges, which must be claimed via the normal expenses form. No monthly rental charges or other costs will be reimbursed.

The approved expenses will be met by the relevant cost centre for the School/Department

 3.      Other Relevant Documents