"The RVC, as all other higher education institutions, has a responsibility to ensure freedom of speech and academic freedom are balanced absolutely with our commitment to tolerance, understanding and equality and diversity. Whether one is debating politics, religion, society’s attitude to animals or the ethics of the research environment, we believe that education, knowledge and free and effective debate are central to the enlightenment and respect that we demand of a civilised world."
Professor Stuart Reid, Principal
Prevent is one of four strands of the government’s counter-terrorism strategy (CONTEST). The Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 places a statutory duty for specified public authorities to 'have due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism'.
Universities became subject to the new Prevent duty on 18 September 2015, with HEFCE (the Higher Education Funding Council for England) being given responsibility for assessing how they meet the requirements under the new duty.
The College will seek to meet its obligations under the Prevent duty by ensuring that proportionate, appropriate and effective measures are put in place to safeguard and support vulnerable individuals within our community.
RVC is committed to ensuring that it remains a safe, nurturing and inclusive environment for teaching, learning and research. In line with HEFCE's requirements the College has taken a risk-based approach to implementing the requirements of Prevent, and you can read more about these activities on this page.
What is Prevent?
Prevent is one of the strands of the government’s CONTEST counter-terrorism strategy. The purpose of Prevent is to prevent terrorism. The other strands of CONTEST are Prepare, Protect and Pursue.
Part 5 of the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act addresses the risks of being drawn into terrorism and Section 26(1) establishes a duty on a specified authority to “have due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism” in the exercise of its functions. This is known as the Prevent duty. Parliament approved statutory guidance covering the implementation of the duty on the 18th September 2015.
The authorities to which this applies include local councils, prisons, Relevant Higher Education Bodies (RHEBs) and Further Education (FE) colleges, schools, nursery schools, NHS Trusts and chief constables.
HEFCE has been appointed by the Secretary of State for BIS as the monitoring body for PREVENT at RHEBs and statutory reporting is submitted for review directly to HEFCE. The framework for the monitoring of the Prevent duty in higher education in England outlines how HEFCE will monitor providers’ implementation of the statutory Prevent duty in the higher education sector in England.
The College established a working group to look into compliance with the Prevent duty, and has two dedicated Prevent leads (Ivana Vasic, Strategic Planning and Risk Analyst and Matthew Grigson, Head of Governance, Planning and Compliance) who have coordinated several task-and-finish groups on compliance activities and future reporting requirements. The leads continue to work with key stakeholders across the institution to ensure that the requirements of Prevent are implemented proportionately and effectively.
After completing a self-assessment, the College has produced a risk assessment and action plan for implementation (found in the submissions section). The key areas of policy and practice affected are:
- Policy and Code of Practice on Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Expression
- Events bookings and space management, on and off campus
- External speakers and visitors Communications and information sharing, internal and external
- Acceptable use of College facilities, including IT
- Staff and student wellbeing support infrastructure and faith facilities
- Engagement with Student Union and societies
Furthermore, the College has made a commitment to develop our capability and knowledge in dealing with vulnerable individuals in our community to ensure they identified and properly supported. All senior staff and key staff in pastoral roles will be briefed on Prevent and how to engage any related enquiries.
The Prevent duty requests senior management oversight of all activities, and the Senior Management Group, Audit Committee and Council have all been thoroughly briefed and will continue to be so.
- WRAP (Workshop to Raise Awareness of Prevent) - Free, online, facilitated live workshop by HM Government
- Safe Campus Communities webinar- Free, online webinar (register to access)
- Channel Process awareness training - Free, online webinar
- HEFCE's Prevent Blog - Free, online forum for case studies, discussions and key issues related to Prevent such as E&D, welfare, IT and others, as well as a hub providing case studies on effective Prevent practice.
Information on what to do if you are concerned a member of the College community is being radicalised (i.e. moved toward an extremist position at odds with the values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect for and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs and for those without faith) and/or is at risk of being drawn into terrorist activity.
If you have concerns that a member of the College community is being radicalised or is at risk of being drawn into terrorism, you should discuss these concerns as soon as possible with any senior member of staff or one of the Prevent leads. While the College cannot respond to anonymous concerns, it will protect the identity of individuals raising concerns as much as possible.
Senior staff across all areas of the College have been briefed about the Prevent duty. Any of these staff will be able to discuss concerns that are raised with them. Following that discussion, they may conclude that concerns should be referred to the Prevent leads. Alternatively they may be able to identify other forms of support or intervention that are more appropriate.
Where cases are referred to the Prevent leads and only if deemed necessary, they will be considered by a committee composed of relevant senior staff to ensure the approach taken is appropriate and sensitive to the individual’s and College community wellbeing and safety.
Note: under the Terrorism Act (2000), if you believe or suspect that another person is already engaged in illegal terrorist-related activity, you must report this to the Police.