Duty of Care to Staff Travelling Overseas on University Business
Universities and those organisations involved in sending staff or students to study abroad have legal responsibilities to ensure that such persons are safe and accounted for, wherever they may be. In addition to this, there is also an ethical responsibility in terms of University duty of care and such safety.
The process of overseas travel and study abroad programs involves the University taking responsibility in most cases for elements such as travel arrangements, taking of fees, accommodation, trip planners and liaising with external agencies that may be involved in the whole project. Does this confirm the legal and ethical responsibilities of the education provider? Yes, we believe it does and this also causes a strong expectation of trust for both staff and students studying overseas that come under the administrative umbrella of that particular education provider.
A common question in any area of duty of care is ‘Is there a claim for negligence?’, and although this is not straightforward as a yes or a no, it is evident that any organisation responsible for persons should be seen to do as much as they reasonably can to reduce or even mitigate any risk. Travelling overseas in the main, does not allow for complete mitigation of risk and this could be put down to the wide variety of risks for any traveler and also the dynamic changes in each country. What Universities and education providers can do however, is to explore each aspect of the trip regardless of how short or long. In addition to this they must be seen to put certain measures in place to assist overseas staff and students, such measures are not limited although the main areas would be:
Duty of Care Options
– Travel insurance
– Monitoring platform
– Country intelligence
– Briefings to staff and students
– Travel safety specific training
As stated, the above are just some of the main points to consider when sending persons overseas to study or work and the main emphasis should be on monitoring, communicating and tracking where required. These three areas can all be simply and effectively conducted via the CiNPLAT monitoring platform, providing Universities a low cost but professional University duty of care system.