In 2011 the UK government published the Prevent strategy as a part of the overall counter terrorism strategy known as CONTEST. The aim of the strategy is to reduce the threat to the UK from terrorism, this has simply been expressed as the need to “prevent people from being drawn into terrorism”.
Within this strategy the government recognises that terrorist groups often draw on extremist ideology, the government defines extremism as ‘vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values which include democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs’. Click here for more information on how Solent University promotes British Values.
In 2015 the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act placed a duty on certain bodies, referred to as ‘specified authorities’ making it a statutory requirement that in the exercise of their functions, they should have “due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism”. This guidance is issued under section 29 of the Act and the duty applies to all Relevant Higher Education Bodies (RHEBs).
As a part of its Prevent duty under the Act, Solent University will ensure that it has the relevant policies and procedures in place to demonstrate the ‘due regard’ requirement of this statute. Unless there is an immediate and identifiable risk or explicit threat of terrorism, the University will adopt a safeguarding and wellbeing approach to students who may be at risk of radicalisation or being drawn into terrorism.
As required by the legislation, the University also has in place a Code of Practice for Events and Speakers which is embedded within the University Prevent Policy. In line with the University stated values, the University positively welcomes the contributions made by visiting speakers and externally organised events in enriching its educational and social mission, as well as deepening engagement with its communities and stakeholders whilst being committed to Freedom of Speech.
At the same time, the University is aware that it has a duty to provide a healthy and safe environment for all staff and students and must consider its legal obligations regarding activities on its premises which might lead to incitement of violence, racial or religious hatred or a breach of the peace, or otherwise transgress the bounds of lawful speech.
The University has in place a designated prevent lead (the head of student success) supported by two prevent officers from the student experience leadership team. The University has in place the relevant governance and scrutiny provided by the Safeguarding Committee, chaired by the Deputy Head of Student Experience (Wellbeing) who is supported by a team of academic and professional services colleagues from across the organisation.
The University works in partnership with the Office for Students, the Department for Education and the Local Prevent Board to ensure that the ‘due regard’ is delivered effectively and in line with legislative requirement.
You can see advice and support on Prevent from the OfS.