Information Services

Policy on email addresses for ex-staff

The following policy on forwarding email for ex-staff was agreed at meetings of the then Communications and Information Technology Committee (C&IT) in March and May 2003 and modified on 21/10/2005.

Purpose of the Policy

Many academics who have used their Edinburgh email address on papers published while at this university, believe that they personally should be able to be communicated with through this address long into the future, whether they work at this institution or not. The argument goes that, if they are not permitted to do so, then they will start publishing papers using a non-Edinburgh email address in order to achieve this effect. It is clearly not in this university's best interest for top flight academics to use non-Edinburgh addresses on the papers they publish while they are working here. There is also a desire to be friendly to all staff by retaining their e-mail address for a while until they re-establish themselves.

The Policy

All staff who have a mail address at the university, can continue to receive mail to that address for a period of up to 5 years (default 1 year) after they have left. This will be implemented as a mail forwarding scheme as follows:

  1. Auto-forwarding scheme. For mail passing through the central mail relay systems (e.g. or addresses and for those schools who use the central mail relay systems for their incoming mail), Information Services will implement an auto-forward scheme following the procedure set out below.
  2. Recipient responsibility. With the university simply providing the association between the Edinburgh mail address and the given forwarding address, it would be entirely the responsibility of the recipient to ensure that the forwarding information is up to date and that the delivery mailbox is functional.
  3. University discretion. This facility can be offered solely at the discretion of a school to a leaving member of staff, and is not necessarily seen as the norm for all staff.
  4. Renewal. The school which requested that this university address be able to be forwarded, will be asked whether they wish to renew that forwarding ability on an annual basis, with 5 years being the limit.

Operational issues:

  • Non-delivery. Any mail which is not able to be delivered to the forwarding mailbox for whatever reason (because of a full destination mailbox address, a change of address or after the person's death etc), would normally automatically bounce back to the sender.
  • Non-delivery failures. If mail to the forwarded address bounces and is unable to be returned to the mail originator, the university would have no choice but to delete this mail.
  • Operational problems. If there are operational issues (like continual non-delivery of mail that has to be handled by the postmaster) that cause an ongoing overhead, then Information Services reserves the right to disable this forwarding for an individual or individuals.

Procedure to be followed to request mail forwarding

Members of staff who wish to have mail to their Edinburgh email address forwarded should contact their school computing officer or user support staff and provide them with their current email alias and the address to forward the email to. If the school accepts that the request should be granted, the information should be forwarded together with the authorisation in a Unidesk call to the IS Enterprise Unix team. We can only accept forwarding requests if they are supported by the school or unit that the person is leaving.

An ex-member of staff, with no ongoing association with the university, should be advised not to sign any outgoing mail with their original University of Edinburgh address once they are no longer working at the university. They should not imply any current association with the university, in either their originating address (e.g. the From: line), by use of their signature or by any other means.

Requesting updates or removal of mail forwarding

If an ex-member of staff wishes to withdraw or change a mail forwarding, they should send a request from their existing forwarded address to If they are unable to do so, they should contact their old school and satisfy them of their identity before the school then forwards the authorised request to in a Unidesk call to IS Enterprise Unix.

Re-allocation of email names

In order to comply with Data Protection legislation, mail aliases once they have been assigned to people, even after they become non-functional, need to be remembered so that they cannot be assigned to anybody else. This is only an issue for central and school email aliases ( rather than the ultimate mail delivery point which will be a Universal User Name and so guaranteed to be unique anyway ( Retention of mail aliases will use up this address space but will minimise the possibility of new staff being sent mail for previous staff of the same name.



Note that with the policy to restrict email forwarding of University Staff/PGR accounts you will need to place an Out Of Office on your University Office365 email account if you wish for internal staff members to know of your new contact address. Internal mail will not be forwarded while your account is expiring. Forwarding on the mail relays will only affect mail that has come in to the University from outside - e.g. other Institutions, companies etc.