Prevent Agenda

Message from Jamie Bennett - Vice President Academic Quality

This year I will be working on my anti islamophobia campaign. Part of this has largely been working on a response to the government’s prevent agenda the details of which are contained within this page. As an officer team we came together at the beginning of the year and decided that we would closely monitor the situation regarding prevent to ensure that our students are being protected from extremism whilst at the same time working to make sure that this does not exclude, marginalise or isolate any student groups. I have been working closely with our Islamic society in order to ensure that this legislation is not infringing on their activities and their experiences on campus. I feel that our role in responding to this legislation given the recent attacks across the world is more important than ever and that we and the university ensure that all of our students have the ability to feel safe on campus and do not have their rights infringed upon and do not feel they are being discriminated against.

If you would like to get involved in the discussions surrounding this issue please do not hesitate to get in touch at LSUVPAQ@ljmu.ac.uk  

 

Prevent

What is it?

The ‘Prevent Agenda’ is one of four strands from the government Counter terrorism strategy CONTEST. The main aim of CONTEST is to reduce the risk to the UK and interests overseas from terrorism.

“Pursue – focuses on detecting, investigating and disrupting terrorist threats to the UK and our interests overseas.

Protect – aims to reduce the vulnerability of the UK and UK interests overseas to terrorist attack. This includes aviation security for both cargo and passengers.

Prepare – aims to minimise the impact of any attack, manage any incidence of an ongoing attack and recover quickly and effectively

Prevent – aims to stop people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism
 

What does it say…?

As the preventative strand of CONTEST, Prevent will:-

  • Respond to the ideological challenge of terrorism and the threat faced by the UK from those who promote it
  • Prevent people from being drawn into terrorism and ensure they are given appropriate advice and support
  • Work with a wide range of sectors (including education*, criminal justice, faith, charities*, the internet and health) where there are risks of radicalisation which need to  be addressed”  (Information from Safe Campus Communities)

*Liverpool John Moores – Education

*Liverpool Students’ Union - Charity

 

What do Universities have to do as a result?

The government guidance for relevant higher education institutions sets out that universities must ensure that they

  • risk assess and create a Prevent action plan
  • adapt/ update appropriate information technology policies
  • staff training on Prevent Agenda
  • Introduce student welfare programmes in place to recognise and respond to the signs of radicalisation.
  • ensure balance of legal requirements with Freedom of Speech and Academic Freedom – protecting students and staff welfare
  • tackle gender segregation at events and have proper assessment processes for invited speakers and ensure those with extremist views do not go unchallenged.

For more information please refer to the Prevent duty guidance for higher education institutions in England and Wales.

 

What do SU’s have to do as a result?

Students’ Unions (SU) are not defined as a ‘public authority’ within the Counter Terrorism Act 2015 but are subject to Charity law and regulation which includes those relating to preventing terrorism.

As Universities and Students’ Unions are closely linked, the Prevent guidance states there is an expectation on Students’ Unions cooperate with policies introduced by the University.

Point 29 makes it clear that Higher education institutions have a duty to have clear policies outlining what activities are and are not allowed to take place on University campus and also what online activity relating to the University is acceptable. This directly links to Students’ Unions and Student societies as these policies are required to set out expectations to challenge extremist ideas which risk drawing people into terrorism.

Institutions have a responsibility to tackle gender segregation at events and must have proper assessment processes for invited speakers and ensure those with extremist views do not go unchallenged. Therefore the Students’ Union and Student groups needs to ensure they are complying with the University policy and procedures.

This includes how the Students’ Union uses the ‘External speaker request form’ including the room booking process.

Within Charity law the SU needs to avoid involvement in promoting, supporting or giving platform to inappropriate radical or extremist views (extremism defined by reference to the Prevent duty).

Ensure that literature and publicity the Students’ Union produces (including all student groups) does not contain or support terrorist material or material likely to encourage terrorism.

 

What we are doing…

LiverpoolSU Sabbatical officers and staff are meeting with Liverpool John Moores University in December to find out exactly what the institution will be doing to comply with the Counter Terrorism and Security Act 2015.

 

Once LiverpoolSU have met with the University and are aware of policies and procedures to be introduced there will be further updates on progress on this page.

The main points of contention for the Counter terrorism act from Liverpool Students’ Union is freedom of speech and academic freedom.

Information gathered from the below

Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 

Prevent Duty Guidance: for higher education institutions in England and Wales

Gender Segregation at Events and Meetings Guidance for Universities and Students’ Unions

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