Prevent Duty

The Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 sets out that specified authorities must have ‘due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism. This means that Universities now have a statutory duty to engage with the government's Prevent agenda. Section 26(1) of the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 (“the Act”) imposes a duty on “specified authorities”, when exercising their functions, to have due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism. This has become known as the ‘Prevent duty’.


The Government has issued two sets of statutory guidance to support the duty, which identifies what steps higher education institutions are expected to take to meet this duty. One applies to all specified authorities. The other specifically targets relevant higher education bodies.

Awareness of Prevent involves an understanding of the strategy itself and the wider legal context within which universities must operate. Universities are open institutions with a legal obligation to promote and facilitate academic freedom and freedom of speech, and must balance a wide-ranging set of responsibilities. However, section 31 of the Counter Terrorism and Security Act states that, in meeting the statutory duty, higher education institutions must have particular regard to the duty to ensure freedom of speech  and the importance of academic freedom.  

Policies and Procedures

The University's Code of Practice on Freedom of Speech sets out the University's application of the Prevent Duty guidance, alongside other relevant legislation such as Section 43 of the Education (No. 2) Act 1986, and associated Statutes. The University's current Code of Practice on Freedom of Speech is available here:

External Speakers

As part of the Prevent Duty Guidance, all Higher Education Institutions are required to have policies and procedures in place for the management of events either on its campuses, or events that are organised on their behalf. As such, the University must be notified of all events organised by staff and students involving external speakers which have been determined to be notifiable according to the definitions given by the University's Code of Practice on Freedom of Speech. This should be done by the event organiser. This application form should be completed as soon as the external speaker has been confirmed, and at least 30 days in advance of the event date. The Notifiable Meeting / Event Notification Form and accompanying guidance notes are available below:


Safeguarding Group

The University has established a Safeguarding Group to lead on the University's work towards ensuring compliance with the Prevent duty. 

For any guidance or further assistance, members of the Safeguarding Group can be contacted at

Vulnerability Factors

The Prevent Duty is concerned with safeguarding children and adults who are vulnerable to being drawn into terrorism. This will involve an awareness of the factors that may contribute to vulnerability, which include:

  • Being rejected by peer, faith or social group/family
  • Pressure from persons linked to extremism
  • Victim or witness to race or religious hate crime
  • Conflict with family over religious beliefs/lifestyle/politics
  • Identity confusion
  • Recent religious conversion
  • Change in behaviour or appearance due to new influences
  • Under-achievement
  • May possess literature related to extreme views
  • Experience of poverty, disadvantage or social exclusion
  • Extremist influences
  • A series of traumatic events – global, national or personal

Raising Concerns

All staff are asked to remain vigilant and raise any concerns where it's considered that individuals or groups of students may be at risk of being drawn into terrorism.

Any concerns, including any changes in behaviour influenced by the factors that may contribute to vulnerability, should be raised with Student Support Services. They can be contacted on or on extension 1761 and 2087.

Student Support Services, alongside other members of the Safeguarding Group will determine what intervening measures are required, which will vary between each case.


Colleagues considering or undertaking research on sensitive topics, which may include areas associated with the Prevent Duty, should ensure that the appropriate ethics requirements have been considered and satisfied. Such colleagues should consult the University's Sensitive Research Policy and Procedure:

For further information and guidance, please contact the Research Ethics Team at before commencing any data collection.

Training and Further Information

All members of staff are expected to complete the University's Prevent Duty Awareness E-Learning Module, which provides an introduction to the Prevent duty and explains how it aims to safeguard vulnerable people from being radicalised to supporting terrorism or becoming terrorists themselves. The package will take around 45 minutes to complete, includes an end of course test. Further information on accessing the module is available at:

Other resources available include: