Affected higher education providers became subject to the new duty on 18 September 2015.
What is the Prevent Duty?
Under the Counter Terrorism and Security Act 2015 (‘the Act’) relevant higher education bodies (RHEBs) must have due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism. This is known as the Prevent Duty
The aim of the Prevent strategy is to reduce the threat to the UK from all forms of terrorism by stopping people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism.
HEFCE monitors implementation of the duty in the higher education sector in England. This is at the Government's request.
The Government has issued two sets of statutory guidance to support the duty. One applies to all specified authorities. The other is specifically targeted at relevant higher education bodies.
What do institutions have to do?
To comply with the Prevent Duty, institutions must:
- assess the risks associated with Prevent in the context of their local situation and draw up a proportionate action plan to mitigate those risks
- have responsive, effective welfare support systems, ensuring concerns about students' wellbeing can be acted on, linking to Prevent structures (such as local authorities or the police) if necessary
- ensure internal mechanisms and external arrangements are in place for sharing information about vulnerable individuals when appropriate
- have systems in place for assessing and mitigating risks around external speakers and events on campus, while maintaining the existing duty to promote freedom of speech
- ensure senior managers are engaged with the Prevent duty, build links with external Prevent partners, and arrange ongoing Prevent training for relevant staff
- implement an IT usage policy which covers the Prevent duty
- ensure that students' unions and societies are aware of, and are consulted with on policies concerning activities on campus.
Does Prevent apply to my institution?
The Act applies to the governing bodies or proprietors of ‘relevant higher education bodies’. HEFCE’s Register of HE providers in England lists most of the providers that fall under the definition of a ‘relevant higher education body’.
For HEFCE monitoring purposes, the Act covers four distinct groups:
- higher education institutions that are funded directly by HEFCE
- alternative providers with specific-course designation by Government for the purposes of English student support funding
- other providers that provide higher education to more than 250 students by headcount.
- the autonomous colleges, schools and halls of the universities of Cambridge, Durham and Oxford.
Further education (FE) colleges
Ofsted is responsible for monitoring the implementation of the Prevent duty by publicly funded FE colleges. To avoid duplication of monitoring activity, Ofsted will monitor all FE college activity, including HEFCE-funded higher education provision offered by the college. Private FE providers will be covered by different monitoring arrangements operated by the Department for Education.