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Prevent Duty

The Counter Terrorism and Security Act 2015 places a duty on all universities, including Northumbria, as a relevant higher education body (RHEB) to have due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism.  ‘People’ in this sense is principally staff and students and those who represent the University. The Prevent duty guidance for higher education institutions in England and Wales was published by the government in late summer 2015. This document requires universities to review their arrangements to ensure the Prevent Duty is implemented, to be overseen on behalf of government by HEFCE as ‘principal regulator’ of the University. HEFCE has produced a Monitoring Framework which all registered HEI providers in England are required to satisfy.

 

The headline requirements for the University to ensure its arrangements support around the Prevent duty are:

  • how the board of governors and senior management works in partnership with colleagues across the University, and with external bodies and organisations
  • how the Prevent duty is led and governed within the University
  • working with the Students’ Union which is not directly subject to the Prevent duty
  • how external and visiting speakers and events are managed where there might be concern about controversial content or speaker from the perspective of Prevent
  • arrangements for welfare and pastoral care and chaplaincy for students across all faiths, and of no faith
  • training of staff about what Prevent means in the HE setting and
  • information technology and measures to safeguard access within the University to extremist related material. Access to online material on topics which are extremist-related, for bona fide teaching and learning and research purposes should be preserved.

The Board of Governors and University Executive emphasise the following considerations in implementing the Prevent duty: 

  • that Prevent duty should not be detrimental in any way to either the legislative requirements and spirit of academic freedom and freedom of speech which are fundamental parts of university life. Testing received wisdom and being offended by the views of others is part of healthy learning and debate and the advancement of knowledge, providing that these are within the law
  • equality and diversity as foundations of University life, whilst ensuring these values are not threatened
  • that the requirements are implemented in a proportionate and risk-based manner, relevant to the local context in which the University is based
  • a commitment to the safety and wellbeing of our staff and students and all who interact with the University, including not being victims of, or complicit with any activities linked to radicalisation
  • support for campus cohesion and harmonious relations across all parts of the University community

 

As required by HEFCE, the University has produced new, and reviewed existing, policies and arrangements linked to the headline requirements. The following key policies can be linked to directly below:

 

Dr Adam Dawkins, Head of Governance and Secretary to the Board is the policy lead on the Prevent duty at Northumbria on behalf of the University Executive and can be contacted for any question or queries in relation to the Prevent duty.


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