As a statutory duty, the Prevent duty has clear implications for those providing legal support within universities. Involvement of such staff will vary based on the particular institution, ranging from membership of particular decision-making boards to being consulted on an ad hoc basis when required. There are various resources available to support staff with a legal function including the Safe Campus Community eLearning modules: of most relevance is Module 3: The Prevent Duty in the context of other legislation and legal duties and Module 4: Implementing the Prevent Duty and upholding the principles of academic freedom and freedom of speech.
As set out in the Legal Responsibilities section, higher education institutions must ensure that in paying “due regard” to the need to prevent people being drawn into terrorism as specified in the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act (2015). They also ensure consider other legislation as outlined below:
- Their commitment to free speech outlined in the Education (No.2) Act 1986.
- Their commitment to academic freedom outlined in the Education Reform Act 1988.
- Their commitment to maintaining human rights and equal rights as outlined in the Human Rights Act 1998.
- Their commitment to equal treatment outlined in the Equality Act 2010.
- Their commitment to appropriate management of information as outlined in the Data Protection Act 1998 and the Freedom of Information Act 2000.
- Existing measures for combatting extremism and terrorism such as the Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006 and the Terrorism Act 2000.
Hosting and management of external speakers and events may require careful judgement be particularly complicated in light of such legislation. University UK’s 2011 Freedom of Speech on Campus: Rights and Responsibilities in UK Universities and their 2013 External Speakers in Higher Education may be useful to refer to, as may the gender segregation guidance published by the Equality and Human Rights Commission. Safe Campus Communities also hosts a wide range of case studies which may be useful to consider.