University mailing lists are a valuable tool for effectively communicating with large groups of people. However, the creation, maintenance and use of them needs regular monitoring and review.
The policy and guidance introduces governance around the use of new and existing mailing lists.
Staff must use existing lists where possible
In the first instance you should check to see if there is an existing mailing list in operation that you can use. The key mailing lists summary provides details of the lists that are likely to be most useful to UAS Sections; and it includes details of who to contact to use a list.
You should also check if there are other mailing lists that may include your intended audience by logging into Sympa. Guidance on using Sympa is available on the IT Services website.
You must use existing lists and should not create local lists (e.g. Outlook Groups) that duplicate those on the key UAS mailing lists directory.
Consult the relevant Divisional Communications Lead before creating a new list. They may well have existing lists to which you can send your communication, without the need to create a new one.
Instances when new lists can be created
Where there is no other option of reaching the target audience, either from an existing list or other means of dissemination, it may be necessary to create a new mailing list.
Before creating a new mailing list be aware that the creator of the list will become the list owner and should be willing to accept the responsibilities associated with this, including:
- Adding the mailing list to key mailing lists page if it is a list that may be useful to other UAS sections.
- Keeping the mailing list up-to-date and information on the list-of-lists up to date.
- Managing requests for access to the list if access is to be moderated.
- Deleting the mailing list and removing it from the key mailing lists page if it will no longer be kept up to date. A list owner should discuss with your Communications Lead before deleting a list.
When creating a mailing list:
- You should ensure that the membership of the new list does not overlap significantly with membership of an existing mailing list. If necessary, contact the owner of the existing list to check.
- Avoid using a name for a new mailing list that is similar to an existing one or could lead to confusion about who is on the list. Avoid abbreviations that are not commonly used.
- If you are unsure about whether it is appropriate to create a new mailing list, or any aspect of its creation, discuss with your Communications Lead.
Rules around the frequency and number of lists that information can be sent to
To avoid inundating colleagues with multiple emails, and/or with emails which may not be relevant to them, UAS sections should consider:
Frequency - UAS sections should limit the number of emails that can be sent to the same mailing list each week to avoid overburdening recipients. Consideration of appropriate channels and forward planning of timing of communications may be needed to facilitate this. Things to consider when planning communications is provided in the step-by-step guidance.
This does not apply to urgent emails (particularly of a security-nature) which have their own processes. If you have an urgent communication requirement, and need to send a message immediately to key lists, please contact your communications lead, or UAS Communications.
Number of lists sent to - care should be taken to avoid sending an individual email to too many mailing lists at once as, despite best efforts, membership of the lists may overlap.
NB: Sympa will automatically prevent individuals receiving emails more than once in one send. Therefore, if you are planning on sending to multiple lists, you should do this in one email rather than several different messages.