Last updated: 21 July 2022
The University of Gloucestershire is committed both to protecting freedom of speech and academic freedom and to protecting and safeguarding its students from the risk of being drawn into terrorism.
This policy outlines the University’s commitment to preventing students from being radicalised and potentially being drawn into involvement with extremism and ultimately acts of terrorism. In doing so we recognise that terrorism can be associated with a range of ideologies. Key definitions are provided in Section 3 below.
This policy is written with reference to the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015, and to the Formal Guidance issued from the UK Home Office related to the Prevent Duty (referred to as the ‘Formal Guidance’ throughout this policy). The Act places a duty on Universities to have ‘due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism.’ The Act also notes that Universities must seek to balance this duty with their commitment to freedom of speech and the importance of academic freedom.
For the purposes of this policy, definitions of related key terms are taken from the ‘Formal Guidance’:
The University of Gloucestershire is committed to:
As such, the University will seek to identify, protect and support individuals who it believes may be at risk of being drawn into extremism and terrorism.
The University discharges this responsibility in partnership with other agencies, including the Police, appropriate Local Authorities and its named regional advisory Prevent Co-ordinator. This policy describes the University’s contribution to the multi-agency approach to delivering against the Prevent Duty. It also defines the University’s process for referral into the local Channel processes. The Channel programme has been developed as part of the Prevent Strategy to provide support to people at risk of being drawn into terrorism.
5.1 Risk assessment
The University will undertake a risk assessment to identify the potential risks associated with students being drawn into extremism and terrorism. On the basis of this risk assessment and any identified concerns, an appropriate action plan will be developed to mitigate the risks.
5.2 Staff Training
The University will ensure that relevant staff members are provided with appropriate training.
5.3 Raising Awareness
Staff and students will be made aware of the process for referring concerns regarding students (see Section 6 below).
5.4 Chaplaincy & Faith Support
In line with the ‘formal guidance’, the University will provide appropriately resourced Chaplaincy support for students. This will include multi-faith chaplaincy provision and designated Faith Space on each campus.
5.5 Students’ Union
The University will work closely with its Students’ Union to ensure that the policies developed by the University in this area are supported, where appropriate, by the Students’ Union, and to support the Students’ Union in its development of its own policy related to the Prevent Duty.
5.6 ICT Policy
The University will ensure that its ICT Policies have due regard to the duties specified in the ‘Formal Guidance’.
5.7 External Speakers
The University will ensure it has an appropriate Code of Practice and monitoring process for External Speakers which is regularly reviewed. This should be viewed alongside the University’s ‘Freedom of Speech’ Code of Practice.
5.8 Appoint a Prevent Lead
The University will nominate a senior manager to act as the institutional ‘Prevent Lead’ whose duties will include:
The University’s Prevent Lead will ordinarily be the Student Registrar. Ultimate responsibility for oversight of the University’s Prevent duties rests with the Vice Chancellor.
Just as when there are serious concerns over the wellbeing or welfare of a student, any member of the University (student or staff member) may identify concerns about a student potentially being drawn into violent extremism or terrorism based on information received or behaviour observed.
It is important that such concerns can be shared in a safe and supportive fashion to enable concerns to be investigated and an appropriate intervention to be developed, if required.
It is equally important that assumptions are not made on the basis of information received and that concerns/referrals are considered thoroughly and fairly. The University will seek to approach such concerns from the perspective of safeguarding the individual about whom concerns have been expressed.
Only where there is clear and compelling evidence of a requirement to do so will information be shared with other agencies. See Section 7 below for further detail.
A flowchart for the process of reporting concerns is included in Appendix A and is detailed below.
Where a student or staff member has concerns that a student is expressing violent extremist views or is at risk of being drawn into violent extremism or terrorism, these concerns should be passed to the Student Registrar.
The Student Registrar or nominee will look into the matter, seeking to gather together the substantive information and any evidence which would allow a full consideration of the case.
A decision will be made as to the seriousness of the case. Three potential outcomes are likely at this stage:
In reaching a decision to share any information with third parties the University will adhere to its Data Protection Policy and the Data Protection principles contained therein.
In following the referral process outlined in Appendix A there may be instances where the University is sufficiently concerned by a student’s behaviour and the risk they potentially pose that it will need to share these concerns with external agencies.
In sharing such information with external parties the University will share only sufficient and relevant information in order to allow the concern to be appropriately followed up.