UK University Governing Bodies are responsible for protecting their institution’s reputation by ensuring that clear regulations, policies and procedures that adhere to legislative and regulatory requirements are in place, ethical in nature, and followed.
Governing Bodies must seek assurance that their institution meets all legal and regulatory requirements placed upon it. Governing Bodies must therefore ensure their institution is compliant with the Prevent Duty which was made a legal requirement for relevant higher education bodies in the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015. However, they must ensure compliance with other obligations such as freedom of speech and academic freedom and equalities legislation. It is therefore important to see Prevent within the context of these other legal responsibilities. Information on the primary legislation, and Universities UK’s guidance on the legal responsibilities for universities can be found in the Legal Responsibilities section.
The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) has been appointed to monitor the performance of relevant Higher Education bodies in England against Prevent. The full compliance monitoring framework can be found here. Among other requirements the monitoring framework specifies that the Governing Bodies’ annual reports must include the following three declarations:
‘Throughout the academic year and up to the date of approval, [organisation name]:
- has had due regard to the need to prevent people being drawn into terrorism (The Prevent Duty)
- has provided to HEFCE all required information about its implementation of the Prevent Duty
- has report to HEFCE all serious issues related to the Prevent Duty, or now attaches any reports that should have been made, with an explanation of why they were not submitted on a timely basis.’
The Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW) has been delegated the task of monitoring Prevent compliance for Welsh higher education providers, and will be consulting on the monitoring framework. Scottish providers of higher education shall be monitored by both local multi-agency CONTEST groups and the national Prevent and CONTEST governance structures, as outlined in the relevant Prevent guidance for Scotland.
University chairs may also wish to access the training modules developed by the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education, particularly Module 2: The Leadership Challenge – Implications for Governing Bodies and for Senior Leaders. There are also other relevant training materials covering academic freedom and freedom of speech. Users must register to access the training materials here.
The Committee of University Chairs (CUC) represents Chairs of UK University governing bodies, providing an opportunity to share advice, experience and expertise. Details are available here. The CUC have published an Illustrative Practice Note specifically on Prevent which may be of particular interest.
Safe Campus Communities also hosts a number of relevant case studies. All case studies can be accessed here. There is also a range of academic studies into the subject of radicalisation and the Prevent Duty that can be accessed here.