"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 OfS (Office for Students) 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 OfS 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.
OfS is the monitoring body for PREVENT at RHEBs and statutory reporting is submitted for review directly to OfS. The framework for the monitoring of the Prevent duty in higher education in England outlines how the regulator will monitor providers’ implementation of the statutory Prevent duty in the higher education sector in England.
The Safe Campus Communities website provides a good simple overview, called Prevent on a Page.
The College initially established a Prevent working group to look into compliance with the Prevent duty. This has since been disbanded, and the oversight of compliance is led by two dedicated Prevent leads (Ivana Vasic, Strategy, Planning and Risk Manager and Matthew Grigson, College Secretary), in collaboration with the Student Union and through the formal governance channels of the Student Development Committee and the Staff Health and Wellbeing Group. The leads continue to work with key stakeholders across the institution to ensure that the requirements of Prevent are implemented proportionately and effectively.
The College maintains and updates a risk assessment and action plan for implementation to review compliance.
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 College Executive Committee, Audit Committee and Council have all been thoroughly briefed and will continue to be so.
On-going monitoring: Please contact the RVC Prevent Leads for copies of the Annual Reports submitted to OfS.
Training resources and guidance
Recommended resources for RVC 'key people' [see further information]
- The Safe Campus Communities training is available on Learn. If you are identified as 'key' with respect to Prevent, you will be asked to revisit this or other training on an annual basis.
- The hyperlink will take you to an internal Learn page, please log in using your RVC credentials.
- Click on the Prevent Box, and select 'Enter' on the next page.
- This will launch the training. If you need to stop, you can easily return at a later stage by following the same steps.
- Please save a copy of your completion certificate and email it to the Prevent leads. Failure to send the certificate will register as no training received.
- Other useful resources from Safe Campus Communities include: Prevent on a Page, Key points of the Counter Terrorism and Security Act 2015 and the role-specific guidance for Heads of HE Providers, Legal Practitioners, Governing Body Chairs, Chief Security Officers, Chaplains and Student Support Services.
A number of other helpful resources are made available for those seeking additional insight and context of Prevent.
- WRAP (Workshop to Raise Awareness of Prevent) - Free, online, facilitated live workshop by HM Government is currently being revised. Please email RVC Prevent Leads for information on accessing the latest training.
- Home Office Prevent awareness e-learning - Free, online training, with interesting case studies (focus on schools and colleges)
- Home Office Channel Process awareness training - Free, online webinar, where those interested in the Channel process can seek further information
- Home Office Prevent Referral e-learning - Free, online training.
A list of all publically available training, as at March 2016, and a description of the content is available in this HM Government PREVENT training catalogue.
- Government Statutory guidance
- The Government's Prevent Strategy
- Universities UK (UUK) guidance on freedom of speech
- National Student Union [NUS] guidance on events and speakers and guidance for student unions on the Prevent Duty
- The Equality and Human Rights Commission published advice on freedom of expression
- Guidance on the Prevent Duty from Universities and Colleges Union
- Counter Terrorism Act 2015 – parliament webpage
- Prevent Leads: Matthew Grigson and Ivana Vasic. You can contact the RVC's Prevent leads via Prevent@rvc.ac.uk
- RVC's list of 'KEY PEOPLE'
- Student Concern Information Flow (PDF) - please contact the Learning and Wellbeing Directorate for up to date information
- Staff Concern Information Flow (PDF) - please contact the HR Department for up to date information
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.
You can contact the RVC Prevent leads Matthew Grigson, College Secretary and Ivana Vasic, Strategy, Planning and Risk Manager on Prevent@rvc.ac.uk
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.
Support for those affected by terrorism incidents
If you have been affected, or know someone who has been affected by incidents of terrorism please seek help, even if you feel you can manage it, as there are a multitude of resources available that will suit your concerns.
- The Home Office Victims of Terrorism Page provides advice on how to access helplines and charitable funds, mental health support, how to support victims and advice on handling requests from the media if you are more directly involved.
- Please approach the Advice Centre if you are a student, or the free, impartial and confidential Counselling Service Care First if you are a staff member (details on HR's intranet pages).
- Resources for parents, children and their educators can be found on the Home Office Guidance pages, including how to deal with the fears and trauma arising after incidents.