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'Prevent' is under review

6 November 2019 | last updated: 5 March 2020

The government recently announced that it would be carrying out a formal review of Prevent, part of which includes the duty on universities and colleges to have 'due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism' which was imposed as part of 2015 terrorism legislation.

A review of Prevent is something that UCU and others have repeatedly called for since the statutory duty was introduced and we want your views and experiences of how Prevent impacts on both staff and students across England, Wales and Scotland.

UCU has a number of objections to the Prevent duty, including its threat to academic freedom and freedom of speech, the risk that the broad definition of terrorism could stifle campus activism, damage staff/student relations and discrimination against BME and Muslim staff and students.

The specific questions being asked by the review can be found in the formal online Home Office survey but it will look broadly at the following areas:

  • is Prevent achieving its objectives?

  • how effectively is Prevent being delivered at local and national levels?

  • how effectively does Prevent interact with other safeguarding and vulnerability strategies?

  • how effective is the statutory Prevent duty; and how effectively is it being implemented?

  • how could Prevent be improved to respond to criticisms and complaints?

  • what should the government consider in the development of Prevent over the next five years, as the threat evolves, in order to best engage with and support people vulnerable to being drawn into terrorism?

If you have experience of Prevent in the workplace and would like to inform the UCU response, please send your views and examples to Will Pickering by Monday 18 November. We are also interested in hearing from members who are studying the impact of Prevent.

The review is also welcoming individual responses from those with direct experience of, or views on, Prevent. A summary of the review and questions can be found here and the full survey is here if you want to respond to it in person as well as through UCU.

Jo Grady
UCU general secretary

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