Significant progress by higher education sector in working to prevent people being drawn into terrorism
1 Aug 2017 11:11 AM
Higher education (HE) providers in England are making good progress in fulfilling their statutory duty under the Government’s Prevent policy to have due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism.
A new report by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) shows that providers are assessing risks and implementing a range of measures to support Prevent. The analysis shows that at the time of publication:
- 95 per cent (298 providers) satisfied HEFCE that they were demonstrating due regard to the Prevent duty and actively implementing the approaches they had set out in the initial phase of monitoring
- 5 per cent (15 providers) were judged as ‘further evidence needed’
- no provider was judged as ‘does not demonstrate due regard to the duty’.
HEFCE’s ‘Analysis of Prevent annual reports from higher education providers for activity in 2015-16’ (HEFCE 2017/11) highlights significant progress across all areas of the Prevent duty. It identifies positive practice across the HE sector in approaches to student and staff welfare, training, web filtering, events and speakers, engagement with local partners, and working with students.
Comparing the outcomes from the latest set of reports with the initial assessment phase in 2016 shows that there has been a positive increase in compliance.
The Universities Minister, Jo Johnson, said:
'There has never been a more important time for us to come together to tackle the dangers of radicalisation and ensure extremist ideologies are robustly challenged. Universities play an important role in safeguarding students from radicalisation, but at the same time, protecting freedom of speech. It is good to see that higher education providers have continued to make significant progress by actively implementing a range of measures to support the Prevent duty. It is vital that senior managers and governors are engaging with students, staff and local partners to ensure this remains embedded in their organisations.'
Madeleine Atkins, HEFCE Chief Executive, said:
‘Our assessment demonstrates that higher education providers are fully committed to meeting their responsibilities in this area. The report and case studies demonstrate the wide range of activities being undertaken to implement the duty in different contexts, and the strength of relationships that are being developed within the learning community and with local partners.’
- The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) promotes and funds high-quality teaching and research to meet the diverse needs of students, the economy and society. Our responsibilities are to distribute funds, safeguard quality and assure the stewardship of public money. We work with universities, colleges and other partners to develop policies, achieve excellence and impact in education and research, and to provide opportunities for all those who have the ability to benefit from higher education.
- Under the Counter Terrorism and Security Act 2015, all ‘relevant higher education bodies’ are subject to a statutory duty to have ‘due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism’ (referred to as the Prevent duty). HEFCE is responsible for monitoring this duty in the higher education sector in England. See more information about HEFCE's responsibilities.
- The HEFCE report ‘Analysis of Prevent annual reports from higher education providers for activity in 2015-16’ will be published on the HEFCE website on 1 August together with updated guidance and further information on HEFCE’s role as monitor.
- In assessing HE providers’ compliance with the Prevent duty, a ‘further evidence needed’ judgement is made where, following assessment of relevant documentation, further information is required to demonstrate that appropriate policies and processes are in place and that these are being actively and effectively implemented to satisfy the duty’s requirements.