The duty, introduced in the Counter Terrorism and Security Act 2015, means that higher education providers must have robust policies and procedures in place to mitigate the risks of people being drawn into terrorism [Note 1]. This includes making sure that they are assessing and managing risks around external speakers and events.
Earlier this year HEFCE consulted on a proposed framework for assessing whether providers are meeting their responsibilities, and received more than 100 responses from across the sector. Taking account of these views, HEFCE has published a final version of the framework [Note 2] which sets out a timetable for higher education providers to submit evidence of what they are doing to comply with the duty. All affected providers will need to submit a self-assessment by 22 January 2016, with more detailed evidence to be submitted between April and August 2016 [Note 3]. An analysis of the consultation responses has also been published [Note 4].
HEFCE is also announcing the following ways it will provide further information and support for higher education providers affected by the Prevent duty:
- We have issued an ‘advice note’ designed to help providers to understand areas and questions they may want to consider when developing Prevent policies and procedures [Note 5].
- We are working with the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education, Universities UK and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to develop a modular package of training materials and resources for the higher education sector. This will complement already available training such as Workshops for Raising Awareness of Prevent (WRAP), and will be rolled out from January 2016 [Note 6].
- We are providing funding to the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education to deliver a series of ‘Policy into Practice’ events to help providers from across the sector to implement their new responsibilities under the duty [Note 7].
Yvonne Hawkins, HEFCE Director, Universities and Colleges, said:
‘Universities and colleges have a vital role to play alongside other sectors in safeguarding students and others who might be vulnerable to being drawn into terrorism. We will build on a range of good practice across the sector, and work closely with providers over the coming months to ensure they have the support they need to meet these new requirements and to put appropriate policies and procedures in place.’
- The duty applies to ‘relevant higher education bodies’, including providers who receive funding directly from HEFCE, alternative providers with specific course designation, and other providers with more than 250 HE students. Further detail can be found in the final framework.
- See the final framework.
- We will issue a circular letter to affected providers shortly with further detail on how to complete their self-assessment returns.
- See the analysis of consultation responses.
- See the advice note.
- This training package will include generic modules suitable for use with all categories of staff, along with specialist modules targeted at specific roles (such as board members, senior management or academic staff). All providers will be able to draw on these materials for use in internal staff development and training activities.
- See details of these events.