Safeguarding

Prevent Duty

The information and the links on this page provide all staff, students and visitors with a transparent guide to how the University of Sussex is carrying out its statutory responsibilities under the Prevent Duty. This duty forms a key part of the Government’s Counter Terrorism and Security Act (CTSA) 2015. Universities are designated ‘specified authorities’ under the Act and must "in the exercise of their functions, have due regard to the need to prevent terrorism".

Our approach to the Prevent Duty is proportionate to our locality and context, and is underpinned by the values of equality and diversity which continue to inform our inclusive approach to the core activities of research, teaching and learning.

Introduction

The purpose of this section of the website is to keep you up-to-date and informed on the responsibilities that we all have under the University’s, so-called, Prevent Duty.

The Counter Terrorism and Security Act (2015) states that universities must ‘in the exercise of their functions, have due regard to the need to prevent terrorism’. Many other types of institution have also to comply with this law and the Government recognises that universities are special places where freedom of speech and academic freedom are integral.

Following consultation within the University about our approach, we received confirmation from the Office for Students (OfS) that we demonstrate due regard to the Prevent duty and that we are not at risk of non-compliance with the Prevent duty in the future. The University has adequate policies and procedures in place, in proportion to the risk. These procedures include our external speaker procedure and Freedom of Speech - code of Practice which you should familiarise yourself with.

Our policies place a considerable degree of responsibility on you to assess the risks of any event that you organise. In the overwhelming majority of cases, the risk will be negligible and so no further action will need to be taken. However, it is essential that you take this seriously and a failure to comply with your duties will be treated as such. If you aren’t sure, you should consult with your Line Manager.

It also means that we will continue to ensure we have members of staff in academic, support and professional services roles complete the Prevent Duty training, which is online training provided by the Organisational Development Team. This training is about recognising staff or students who may be displaying signs of being at risk of radicalisation.

In addition, all trained staff will need to also complete our Unconscious Bias training so as to ensure that we are not led by stereotypes.

Over the proceeding pages you’ll find out more background information on what the Prevent Duty is and the approach we have taken at Sussex.  If you have any questions at all then you shouldn’t hesitate to contact Prevent Co-ordinator l.spenceley@sussex.ac.uk

Thank you for taking the time to find out more.

Professor Sasha Roseneil, Vice-Chancellor

Background

The Government regularly reviews its level of risk to the population from acts of terror and the current threat to the UK from international terrorism can be found on the GOV.UK website.

Universities have been encouraged to address risks of radicalisation since 2011, when the Government introduced and published its Prevent strategy, as part of its broad counter-terrorism strategy.

Since September 2015 the Counter Terrorism and Security Act has made certain elements of the legislation mandatory. As such, our Prevent Duty is a matter of compliance and a legal requirement not a matter of choice.

There is specific Higher Education sector guidance issued by the Government, which sets out how the University must exercise its Prevent Duty. At the heart of this duty is the requirement to undertake and publish an analysis of the risks that exist with regard to individuals being vulnerable to being drawn into terrorism. We must also consider events that are hosted by the University, both on and off campus.

The Government recognises the sector’s key duties, under existing Education Acts, to uphold freedom of speech and academic freedom, both of which must prevail and not be overridden by the Prevent Duty. The Prevent Duty guidance emphasises the need to implement the Prevent Duty in a ‘proportionate and risk-based way’. Whilst recognising the sector’s diversity of location and demographic, the Government considers that no university can consider itself to have a zero risk to mitigate.

All universities are monitored for compliance with the Prevent Duty.

University of Sussex approach

The Prevent Duty is one which relates to pre-criminal matters and focuses on those deemed to be ‘vulnerable’ to being drawn into terrorism. The University has excellent support services and welfare procedures which come into play when students or staff are struggling to cope. These procedures will always be used, in the first instance, for handling cases of perceived vulnerability, whether this be related to personal issues or matters relating to the Prevent Duty. As with any cause for concern, early intervention and careful assessment of the best strategies for support is our method for ensuring we fulfil duties of care and our duties under equalities legislation.

In the event that there is a case requiring intervention the matter will be directed to the attention of the University’s Prevent Lead. Currently, the General Counsel and Director of Governance and Compliance holds this post.

PREVENT STEERING GROUP

Terms of Reference

Membership of the Group

  • General Counsel (Chair, also the University Lead for Prevent Duty)
  • Assistant Director, Strategy and Architecture (ITS)
  • Senior Academic Representative
  • Head of Security
  • Associate Director of Communications and External Relations
  • Head of Organisational Development
  • Director for Student Experience (or nominee)
  • Head of Residential Commercial Services
  • Deputy Head of Governance Services

In attendance

  • Senior Legal Counsel
  • Representative(s) from the Students’ Union
  • Senior Manager, Governance and Compliance (Secretary)

Purpose

  • To advise the Vice Chancellor and Council on matters relating to the Prevent Duty.
  • To review the Risk Assessment/Action Plan annually, or in response to a specific case, and to update as necessary.
  • To monitor the implementation of the Prevent Duty and ensure that appropriate policies and practises are in place.
  • To assess Office for Students (OfS) requirements and put in place appropriate mechanisms and measures.
  • To submit regular reports, as required, to the OfS, as the monitoring authority, following approval by the Vice Chancellor and Council.
  • To review compliance issues at least termly, and discuss, as deemed necessary, any cases that have been raised as a cause for concern under the Prevent Duty.
  • To monitor other related issues e.g. increased reported cases of racial or religious harassment of bullying; reports or complaints from individuals or groups which directly or indirectly relate to the implementation of the Prevent Duty and to recommend action via due process.
  • To ensure that an equality impact analysis is carried out, based on reported cases and/or general equality issues related to the Prevent Duty that require evaluation and monitoring.

Frequency

Termly, ahead of Council (two meetings in the Autumn Term)

Training

Find out more about safeguarding and Prevent Duty training here.