Prevent is a UK wide strategy and is one of four work strands which make up the government‘s counter-terrorism strategy – CONTEST. The aim of CONTEST is to reduce the risk to the UK and its interests overseas from terrorism

The Prevent strategy has three objectives: 

  • Tackle the causes of radicalisation and respond to the ideological challenge of terrorism.
  • Safeguard and support those most at risk of radicalisation through early intervention, identifying them and offering support. Enable those who have already engaged in terrorism to disengage and rehabilitate.

Higher education providers have a duty of care to students, staff and visitors. The Counter Terrorism and Security Act 2015 introduced a new statutory duty for higher education provider to have "due regard to the need to prevent individuals from being drawn into terrorism". This means that providers have a statutory duty to comply with the Prevent duty.

The government has published guidance setting out what steps higher education providers are expected to take to meet this duty. The guidance is available in two forms; one for England and Wales and the other which is applicable in Scotland. Please note the Court of Appeal judgement on GOV.UK.

Awareness of Prevent also involves an understanding of the wider legal context within which HE providers must operate, including the Education Act (No.2) 1986, the Education Reform Act 1988 and the Equality Act 2010. Please find links to the relevant legislation in the side bar to this page.

Monitoring Prevent Compliance

In England, Office for Students (Ofs) is responsible for the monitoring of Prevent compliance in relevant higher education bodies (RHEBs). The OfS website outlines which providers Prevent applies to and how OfS monitors Prevent compliance.

The Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW) has been delegated the task of monitoring Prevent compliance for Welsh higher education providers.

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.


Channel is part of the Prevent strategy. It is a voluntary programme to provide safeguarding support for individuals who are at risk of being drawn into any form of terrorism. Find out more.

Available Support

Regional Coordinators

The refocused Prevent strategy recommended the appointment of regional coordinators to facilitate engagement between different organisations at a local level. Contact details for each of the regional coordinators can be found here.


Explore other areas:

Role Specific Guidance

Harassment and Hate Crime

Freedom of Speech