As a statutory duty, Prevent has clear implications for those providing legal support within higher education providers. Involvement of such staff will vary based on the particular institution, ranging from membership of particular decision-making boards to being consulted on an ad hoc basis when required.
Higher education providers must ensure they pay “due regard” to the need to prevent people being drawn into terrorism, as specified in the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015. They must also consider other legislation, such as the:
- Education (No.2) Act 1986: this Act includes the commitment of educators to free speech
- Education Reform Act 1988: this Act has legislation on the importance of ensuring academic freedom
- Human Rights Act 1998: this Act involves the responsibility to maintain human rights and equal rights
- Equality Act 2010: this Act commits educators to equal treatment
- Data Protection Act 1998 and Freedom of Information Act 2000: these Acts commit institutions to the appropriate management of information
- Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006 and Terrorism Act 2000: these Acts include the existing measures for combatting extremism and terrorism
The hosting and management of external speakers and events can be particularly complicated in light of such legislation and requires careful judgement. Several of the resources below may help providers navigate the complexity involved in free speech and events.
If you’re interested in watching more videos around implementing the Prevent duty, please visit our talking heads video page.
The Prevent training materials available on this site should help Legal Practitioners fulfil their role. Of particular relevance are the third and fourth training components, ‘Prevent duty in the context of other legislation and legal duties’ and ‘Implementing the Prevent duty and upholding the principles of academic freedom and freedom of speech’.
Other helpful resources may include Universities UK’s 2011 Freedom of Speech on Campus: Rights and Responsibilities in UK Universities and their 2013 External Speakers in Higher Education report. As may the gender segregation guidance published by the Equality and Human Rights Commission.
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