UK higher education governing bodies (or equivalent) are responsible for protecting their institution’s reputation by ensuring that clear regulations, policies and procedures that adhere to legislative and regulatory requirements are in place, ethical in nature, and followed.
Governing bodies must seek assurance that their institution meets all legal and regulatory requirements placed upon it, such as the Prevent duty. They must balance this duty with other obligations, such as freedom of speech, academic freedom and equalities legislation. A list of relevant legal information is available on our legal practitioners page.
The Office for Students is the regulatory body appointed to monitor the performance of relevant Higher Education bodies in England, which includes their performance in relation to Prevent. Their monitoring framework specifies that the Governing Bodies’ annual reports must include the following three declarations:
“Throughout the year and up to the date of approval, [provider name]:
- has had due regard to the need to prevent people being drawn into terrorism (the Prevent duty);
- has provided to the OfS all required information about its implementation of the Prevent duty;
- has reported to the OfS in a timely way all serious issues related to the Prevent duty, or now attaches any reports that should have been made, with an explanation of why they were not submitted;
- has reviewed, and where necessary, updated its Prevent risk assessment and action plan.
In Wales, the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW) has been delegated the task of monitoring Prevent compliance. Scottish providers of higher education shall be monitored by both local multi-agency CONTEST groups and the national Prevent and CONTEST governance structures, as outlined in the relevant Prevent guidance for Scotland.
The Prevent training materials available on this site should help Chairs of governing bodies (or equivalent) fulfil their role. Of particular relevance is the second training component, ‘The leadership challenge – implications for governing bodies and senior leaders'.
The Committee of University Chairs (CUC) represents Chairs of UK University governing bodies, providing an opportunity to share advice, experience and expertise. The CUC have published an Illustrative Practice Note specifically on Prevent which may be of particular interest.
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