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Prevent Duty

Prevent guidance

Section 26 of the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 places a duty on specified authorities – including most higher education institutions – to have “due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism”. This is commonly referred to as the ‘Prevent duty’.

The Act makes clear that Universities must balance their duties under Prevent with their legal requirements in relation to freedom of speech and academic freedom, as enshrined in other legislation. Freedom of expression is itself an important means to challenge and prevent people from being drawn into terrorism.

The University and individual Cambridge Colleges (as autonomous, self-governing bodies) are required by law to comply with the Prevent duty. The governance and operational structures that need to be in place across the collegiate University to achieve this are currently being considered, although members of the University should be mindful that there are already measures in place to mitigate many of the risks described.

Prevent and safeguarding at Cambridge

It is important to note that specified authorities have considerable freedom in terms of how they implement their responsibilities under the Prevent duty, and it is the University’s intention to take a proportionate and risk-based approach to these matters.

Both the University and the Colleges have well established arrangements in place to mitigate a number of the drivers of criminal extremism and promote positive, respectful relations among its students and staff. Our well established diversity networks, the role of the University Chaplain and the investment in faith-related facilities play an important role in this regard. So too does the close level of pastoral care provided by College tutors, nurses, counsellors and other support staff. Students at Cambridge also benefit from many student-run networks, including those provided by the two student unions and others in individual Colleges.

The University is committed to staff and student wellbeing, has many support services available and is renowned for the richness and diversity of cultural activities provided to its members and the public.

How is the University responding?

The University has established a Prevent Committee to oversee its response to Prevent.

The University has also launched a Prevent Training Moodle site to support its staff in understanding their role in safeguarding students and colleagues in the context of the Prevent Duty.

Among other things, staff need to be aware of the process of radicalisation and definitions of extremism, and know how to respond if they have any concerns about an individual. All staff are expected to complete the online Module 1 – an introduction to the Prevent duty and be aware of the supplementary resources and guidance on this website. Other training modules are available for those staff with specific areas of responsibilities such as pastoral and student support.

If you have any queries or concerns about any Prevent-related matter please email prevent@admin.cam.ac.uk.

If you have any concerns about an individual or an event, please email in confidence to preventconfidential@admin.cam.ac.uk.

More information available here: http://www.prevent.admin.cam.ac.uk/