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The new Prevent Duty, which came into force for universities in September 2015 as part of the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015, places legal requirements on the University to minimise the risk of individuals being drawn into terrorism and to ensure vulnerable individuals receive timely and appropriate support. These pages are intended to provide our community with an understanding of what the Prevent Duty is, how it relates to Staffordshire University and our approach is meeting our obligations and keeping those within our community safe and protected.

The Prevent Duty has three main objectives:

  1. Respond to the ideological challenge of terrorism and the threat faced from those who promote it
  2. Prevent people from being drawn into terrorism and give them advice and support
  3. Work with sectors and institutions where there are risks of radicalisation

The statutory guidance for higher education institutions highlights key areas of attention. These are:

  • external speakers
  • partnerships with other local organisations engaged with Prevent
  • risk assessment and action plan
  • staff training
  • welfare and pastoral care/chaplaincy support
  • IT policies
  • Students' Union and societies

The Office for Students is the monitoring body for Prevent for HE providers. Additionally, the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted) is the monitoring body for Prevent for Staffordshire University’s  Higher Apprenticeship provision.

Our response

  • The University takes a proactive, safeguarding-focused approach to implementing our Prevent duty.
  • We are committed to encouraging events which stimulate open debate and broaden the learning experience for all members of the University community. To ensure we provide an environment conducive to this commitment, our Code of Practice for Freedom of Speech and Lawful Assembly and Event Booking processes clearly set out the expectations placed upon all speakers at the University. We have systems for assessing and mitigating risks around external speakers and events on campus, while maintaining the existing duty to promote freedom of speech
  • Staffordshire University’s Prevent Steering Group is responsible for overseeing the University’s response to its obligations under the 2015 Counter Terrorism and Security Act. It is  chaired by the Chief Operating Officer and consists of senior staff from all key areas including members of the Students’ Union. 
  • We have a risk assessment and action plan in place which is updated annually
  • We provide in house training sessions to increase staff awareness of Prevent

Our Risk Assessment and Action Plan

In accordance with the statutory guidance for higher education providers we have a risk assessment and action plan which will be reviewed regularly and is subject to monitoring and enforcement. These were last updated in January 2019.

Our Training

All University staff are required to undertake Prevent training as part of their induction programme, and then regular refresher training at set intervals.

In addition, we provide targeted safeguarding training for those staff working closely with students, particularly in areas such as Student Support and Wellbeing, Security and Accommodation, making sure students are supported throughout their studies.

All of the training we provide is aimed at identifying vulnerable individuals and providing the support they need academically, personally and pastorally.

External Speakers

The guidance for booking External Speakers has been developed to assist staff and students when organising talks, seminars and lectures on campus, and to form a checklist that will help with ensuring that the talks are successfully planned and delivered. 

At Staffordshire University we support the open expression of views and the right to hold, challenge and rigorously debate a wide range of beliefs and positions. However, we also take our responsibility to our communities and audiences very seriously, and we prohibit any public expression of views on our premises that are in breach of the law or incite intimidation or violence. This must be taken into account when inviting an external speaker to the University.

Some events are open to the public (and/or publicised externally) and the speaker may not be a  current student or member of staff at the University. In these cases we must ensure our protocols and procedures require more engagement with the Room Bookings team. This is to ensure that appropriate consideration has been given to Freedom of Speech (1986 Education Act) and to statutory duties included in Prevent guidance and any other relevant legislation.

For any member of the Staffs community, staff or students, organising an event as outlined above, the External Speakers booking process must be followed. Ordinarily this is a quick and straightforward process that can be carried out at a local level. In these cases, following the steps outlined in the "Local assessment of proposed external speaker(s)" below will suffice.

There will, however be a few, more complex requests which will require further consideration and approval.There will be fewer of these but will be necessary where either an event or a speaker is deemed to be a higher risk.

Initial  Assessment

Prior to the confirmation of any external speaker, the event organiser will be responsible for assessing the speaker against the following set of questions:

  1. Has the speaker previously been prevented from speaking at Staffordshire University  or any other University or similar establishment or previously been known to express views that may be in breach of the Code of Practice for Freedom of Speech and Lawful Assembly and/or the Prevent Duty?
  2. Does the proposed title or theme of the event present a potential risk that views/opinions expressed by speakers may be in breach of the Code of Practice for Freedom of Speech and Lawful Assembly and/or the Prevent Duty?
  3. Is the proposed speaker/theme likely to attract attendance from individuals/groups that have previously been known to express views that may be in breach of the Code of Practice for Freedom of Speech and Lawful Assembly and/or the Prevent Duty?

If the answer to all three questions is NO:

The event organiser can confirm the external speaker and 'book' them to speak at their event or activity in the normal way. A record of the speaker and event should be recorded and acknowledged by the School Senior Management Team for information.

If the answer to any of the questions is unclear:

The event organiser must seek guidance from their line manager or Head of School/Service, whose responsibility it will be to further review the speaker(s) against the questions above.

If the answer to any of the questions is YES:

It is the responsibility of the event organiser to complete and submit the online external speakers form.  The form will then be reviewed by the Head of Student Support and Wellbeing (or nominee). They will respond within 48 hours to either approve the speaker, request further details/assurances or decline the speaker.

Contact

If you have concerns about a member of our University community, you are advised to speak with one of our designated safeguarding officers . If you are unsure who to approach, you can send your concerns via email to: safeguarding@staffs.ac.uk. If you have immediate concerns and/or believe that someone is at risk of harm then you are advised to ring Campus Control ext.444 or at 01782 294 444 or call Emergency Services on 999.