As part of the UK Government’s strategy to reduce terrorism, the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 introduced new measures aimed at countering the risk of terrorism and radicalisation. The Government has definitions of extremism, radicalisation and terrorism..
Under the Act, the University has to have ‘due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism’. It is sometimes known as the ‘Prevent duty’.
This Duty applies to other organisations, such as schools, child care providers, FE Colleges, local authorities, health and social care providers and the police. The University has partnerships and close working relationships with other organisations subject to the Duty.
The University has to give proportionate consideration to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism when carrying out everyday functions and duties.
Preventing people from becoming terrorists, or supporting terrorism, requires challenge to extremist ideas used to legitimise terrorism. It involves an intervention to stop people from moving into terrorist-related activity.
All members of staff need to be aware of the Prevent duty and the University’s responsibilities.
The University approaches the Prevent duty as part of our Safeguarding responsibilities. We set these out in the Safeguarding Statement of Policy. The University has designated staff who are central to delivering our core Prevent-related activity. It includes the Designated Safeguarding Officers in Support Services and Mental Health Support, the Accommodation Team, the Chaplaincy, the Security Team, Facilities Management, timetabling, conferencing, and events.
The University approaches the Prevent duty as part of our Safeguarding responsibilities. We set these out in the Safeguarding Statement of Policy.
We do so in the spirit and ethos of our mission and values. Our approach is mindful of our commitment to freedom of speech, which is also a statutory duty, academic and freedom. It takes account of our equality and diversity policy. The purpose is to promote informed decision-making and reduce the potential for unconscious bias via training, development and awareness-raising.
This Policy aims to provide a fair environment in which we treat everyone with dignity and respect. It means sustaining a culture that is free from discrimination linked to any personal characteristic.
The University values freedom of thought, conscience and religion and encourages open and reasoned debate. However, the manifestation of freedom of thought, conscience, and religion is not an absolute right. Sometimes intervention may be justified to protect others’ rights as set out in legislation.
We undertake a Prevent Risk Assessment and develop an Action Plan.
The University’s approach addresses any student or apprentice at risk as a Safeguarding issue, handled under the care and concern procedures. All staff members have a responsibility to report internally any Safeguarding concern. Therefore, the Prevent duty forms part of the University’s Safeguarding arrangements.
No member of staff should make a judgement about whether someone is at risk of being drawn into terrorism or not. It is the responsibility of those key staff identified as key to the addressing of the Prevent duty.
Members of staff should not report any concerns externally. A small number of key individuals undertake external reporting after a careful review of a case before making an external reference.
You may become concerned about an individual’s wellbeing.
You may be concerned that the person is a risk to themselves or others. Perhaps you have noticed a behaviour change. You might notice that the person has stopped turning up.
The person might have become withdrawn or are acting differently. Maybe something the student or apprentice has said something that concerned you or something that someone else has said. There can be various things, or it could just be one thing that causes you concern.
Staff in front-line support roles may often be the first to notice if a student or apprentice is experiencing difficulties.
Concerns might include the following, although it is essential not to see the list as exhaustive:
- Expressing views that are discriminatory against protected groups or individuals
- Reports of concerns about behaviour, e.g. plans to undertake extended periods of travel to international locations known to be associated with terrorism
- Excluding certain groups or individuals from activities apparently for discriminatory or extremist reasons
- Disclosing being vulnerable to being drawn into terrorism or extremism
- Expression of concern by friends or family that a person is vulnerable to being drawn into terrorism
- Evidence of discriminatory treatment of others, whether or not in the context of the definition of “extremism”
- Possessing, accessing or requesting extremist materials, unless for academic study and research
- Expressing extremist views and sharing extremist materials, particularly on social media
- Using extremist language
- Making significant threats of violence
- Enabling non-University members to access University grounds or buildings which are a cause for concern in the context of this Policy
- Distributing materials promoting extremism
Do not ignore your concerns, but check what you have noticed. You could speak to the individual directly or talk to colleagues to see if they share your concerns. It should always be your first step to check. You are not to carry out an investigation yourself.
If you continue to have concerns after checking, it would be best to discuss the matter with the relevant Designated Safeguarding Officer. You can also seek advice by emailing email@example.com. However, keep the information to a minimum on the first contact.
There are three means of reporting a concern:
- Should you have a concern about individual members of staff or someone unconnected with the University, raise the matter with the Human Resources and Organisational Development team.
- Should you have a concern about individual students (undergraduate, postgraduate or research) and apprentices, you can raise the matter with Student Support, Health and Wellbeing under the Cause for Care and Concern procedures.
- You can also use our Report + Support reporting system. All staff, students, apprentices and visitors to our campus can report something. They can do this either anonymously or with contact details.
We summarise the steps in a Referral Flow Diagram.
Even if you doubt whether a matter is relevant or not, you should always seek advice. Staff with the appropriate training will be able to assess if the issue requires further investigation or not.
However, where you consider someone is at immediate risk of harm, you should contact Student Support, Health & Wellbeing or Human Resources and Organisational Development.
Out of hours, you should either contact the Security staff or refer to the Emergency Contact Numbers
Any information reported under these arrangements should be regarded as confidential by all involved in the process. Processing follows the data protection principles. The University approaches its responsibilities to emphasise concern for individual wellbeing in handling incidents and reports.
The key team member will carefully and sensitively consider the available evidence to assess whether the concern is genuine. The team member may seek further information from you or others to verify the information provided or determine the person’s vulnerability and welfare. At this stage, the team member will filter out any misinformed concerns.
If the case is sufficiently severe, the University Prevent Point of Contact undertakes a full assessment of risk and decision on any further action. Where there is clear evidence an individual is at risk of being drawn into terrorism, the University Prevent Point of Contact makes the external referral.
In deciding the case for referring a concern outside the University, there is consideration given to the following questions:
- Is it appropriate and proportionate to share the information because there is a severe risk posed by the individual to the broader public or to that individual on the balance of probabilities?
- By making the referral, is the intention to protect the individual from criminal exploitation, grooming (being drawn into terrorism) or self-harm?
- Is the University under a specific legal obligation to make the referral?
Channel is a multi-agency approach led by the local authority (not the police or security service) to help support individuals who identified as at risk for various reasons. It is a programme focussed on providing support at an early stage to people. It includes those identified as being vulnerable to being drawn into terrorism. Channel panels are concerned with preventing people from being drawn into criminal activity. They do not deal with crimes. They must consider referrals in line with the requirements to safeguard vulnerable individuals.
Channel is about ensuring that children and adults at risk of any faith (or none), ethnicity or background receive support. The purpose is to prevent exploiting their vulnerabilities by those who want them to embrace terrorism and become involved in criminal activity. Channel is an inclusive process, in that the individual concerned is part of the process.
The University Prevent Point of Contact is responsible for communication with the individual concerned as appropriate and necessary. The Point of Contact might delegate the responsibility to a specific individual.
An essential requirement is to ensure that members of staff receive appropriate information and training. All staff members need to be aware of the Prevent Duty and know their responsibilities, including how to raise a matter of concern.
An e-learning Prevent training module is available for all members of staff. To access the module:
- Visit the online website. Then select the ‘Access the e-learning portal’. This link will take you to the “E-Learning” page;
- Click on “Access the new e-learning portal”;
- This link will take you to the courses available page. Working with the Prevent Duty and “the Prevent Duty in Higher Education: An Introduction” should be listed;
For Designated Safeguarding Officers and other key staff, there will be face-to-face training to supplement this training. Managers and supervisors contact such groups.
The Home Office provides the following e-learning package, which is also suitable for students and apprentices:
The Government’s Prevent guidance requires the University to have policies and procedures for managing events and use of all University premises. The policies apply to all staff, students, apprentices and visitors and set out what is required for any event to proceed.
The University has a strong commitment to ensuring freedom of speech and academic freedom within the law.
It has to be balanced by its legal duties in protecting students, apprentices and staff and compliance with the law. Encouragement of terrorism and inviting support for a proscribed terrorist organisation are both criminal offences.
When deciding whether to host a particular speaker, we need to consider whether the views being, or likely to be, expressed constitute extremist views that risk drawing people into terrorism. In these circumstances, the event should not proceed unless the organiser can mitigate these risks entirely. It includes ensuring a challenge to speakers with extremist views that could draw people into terrorism with opposing views as part of that same event, rather than in a separate forum.
If you have any questions or comments regarding any aspect of the University’s response to the Prevent duty, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org
What are the local safeguarding concerns?
Prevent is intended to deal with all kinds of extremist ideologies, including, for example, those motivated by politics, nationalism, environmentalism, animal welfare or religion.
Within Kent and Medway, the local safeguarding concerns (as of December 2020) arising from the Prevent Duty Risk Assessment are:
Key threat dimensions
• Vulnerability to right-wing terrorism
• Lone actor terrorism
• Young males
• Fringe social media and internet users
Areas of vulnerability
• Kent borders
This information derives from discussions with local Prevent partners.
What information is available for students and apprentices?
There is a Student and Apprentice Briefing. The briefing provides information on the Prevent duty and outlines what we do as a University.
What monitoring is there of email and web surfing?
We do not monitor your use of websites or your emails.
We undertake limited filtering of websites. We block pages that threaten our IT systems. Also, we stop access to illegal websites relating to terrorism and sexual content. These are sites identified by the Counter-Terrorism Internet Referral Unit (CTIRU) and the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF). We keep our Internet Filtering Policy under review.
We have Core Regulations for the use of IT. Only if there is a breach of the Core Regulations will we investigate. Where appropriate, we will take action and contact the person concerned.
Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015
The Act sets out the requirements on public authorities, including universities.
Prevent duty guidance
In March 2015, Parliament approved guidance issued under section 29 of the act about how specified authorities are to comply with the Prevent duty. Specified authorities must have regard to this guidance when complying with the Prevent duty.
Office for Student’s monitoring of the Prevent duty
OfS operate a monitoring framework. It enables the OfS to satisfy the Government that English universities fulfil their responsibilities under the Prevent duty. The framework requires universities to provide information demonstrating their compliance.
Further information about the ‘Channel’ programme and the role of local panels in providing support to vulnerable people:
Understanding the impact of counter-terrorism measures on Muslim communities
A 2011 report by the Equality and Human Rights Commission
Understanding Islam, Challenging Islamophobia
It is an EU funded project run by the Reading International Solidarity Centre with the Centre for World Education in Nijmegen, Netherlands. Includes resources for anyone wishing to explore global citizenship, and tackle Islamophobia, in an educational setting.
Safe Campus Communities
Resources provided by Universities UK to advise universities, in the context of Prevent. This includes a wide range of information, case studies and links to research on radicalisation.
A series of films made for the BBC by journalist Catrin Nye and director Ben Lister, looking at how the authorities deal with radicals.