University of dundee referencing

University of dundee referencing

Guidance on Writing References


     1.1. These guidelines apply to all references written in an official capacity regardless of the subject of that reference (e.g. a student, member of staff including honorary, casual, voluntary staff, etc).

1.2. The writing of references requires particular care as there are personal, professional and legal responsibilities that must be considered. There are two distinct aspects in the production of a reference. The first is the content of the reference itself. The second is the circumstances under which the subject of the reference may have a right of access to it.

  1. Content

    2.1 References given formally on behalf of the University (i.e. in a persons official capacity as an employee of the University) should be given on headed paper, provide the authors name and position, and be signed by the author. It should be made clear that the recipient relies on the reference at their own risk. (This does not provide any protection where a reference was negligently written).

    University of dundee referencing

    2.2 Any reference written in an official capacity, regardless of the subject, should only contain information that is factual or is an honest opinion or judgement. Where opinions or judgements are offered they should be presented as such, and be capable of being demonstrated as reasonable from evidenced actions, events or circumstances. Opinions and judgements which can not be substantiated should not be offered.

    2.3 An individual has the right to sue for damages if he or she suffers a loss or detriment as a consequence of information given in a reference if that information is given in error, negligently or with malicious intent.

    2.4 Where a member of staff has failed to follow the guidance in this document they may be individually liable for any loss or detriment caused to the subject of their reference in these circumstances.

University of dundee referencing

  1. Access

    3.1 Where the subject of a reference written by a member of University staff in an official capacity requests it from the University, the University is not obliged to release that information due to a specific exemption in the Data Protection Act 1998. This exemption does not apply to references received by the University, nor does it apply to references written by University staff and provided to another organisation, where the reference is requested from that organisation.