The Prevent duty

Under the Counter Terrorism and Security Act 2015 the Prevent duty places an obligation on higher education institutions to have "due regard to the need to prevent individuals from being drawn into terrorism". Compliance with the duty in England is monitored by the Office for Students (OfS).

Government Guidance requires that universities have in place policies for external speakers and events, the training of staff, welfare and pastoral care, and IT usage. It is also makes clear that the approach to Prevent should be reasonable and proportionate in the context of the assessment of risk within the local environment. 

The University’s approach to Prevent is primarily one of safeguarding the welfare our students and staff. We will also ensure that the duty is balanced against our fundamental commitment to academic freedom and freedom of speech and other key legislation such as the Equality Act and the Human Rights Act. Free and open debate of often controversial subjects is a key element of University life, and we will always seek to allow events to go ahead providing that they are within the law.

A continuous training plan is in place to ensure that relevant staff are able to understand Prevent and how it impacts on their roles. The University holds annual "Prevent Events" on campus, providing students and staff with the opportunity to learn more about and discuss the duty. Full notes from these sessions can be found below:

Notes of Prevent Event 6 October 2017

Safeguarding, Prevent Duty and External Partnerships, 31 October 2018

Joint statement from the Provost and Registrar and Secretary:

Academic freedom and freedom of speech are fundamental to our nature as a global University. In the pursuit of new knowledge, free and open debate is crucial. The Prevent Duty introduced in 2015 requires us to have “due regard to the need to prevent individuals from being drawn into terrorism”. We must comply with the Prevent Duty. However, in doing so our challenge is to not infringe upon academic freedoms but to ensure the welfare of our staff and students. The Exeter ethos towards this dual challenge is to implement the Prevent Duty with the due consideration, consultation and care to allow both academic freedom and the protection of staff and students to sit together side by side.

Teaching, study and research - access to relevant materials

If due to your teaching, study or research you have a genuine academic need to access material that could potentially raise the interest of the security services, please refer to the policies below. Before undertaking teaching, study or research that involves accessing terrorist materials, staff and students must agree to the requirements of the code, and complete the request for access to restricted materials form.

This process ensures that should accessing such materials be flagged, our IT department knows that the access is approved, and will not move to close it down. It also goes some way to protect you from undue scrutiny from security services when there is a genuine academic need to access such materials.

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Code of Conduct for access to restricted materials

Request for access to restricted materials form

Regulations for Using Computing Facilities

FXPlus Access to Sensitive Material

FXPlus Computer Users Agreement

Speakers and events

The University is committed to the protection of freedom of speech and academic freedom, alongside a duty of care to its staff, students and visitors. Our policies for the booking of speakers and events reflect this and confirm our commitment to allow events to go ahead providing that they are within the law. These policies are available to staff and students below. Please also note the Leaflets and Posters policy, which applies to any materials displayed or distributed, whether they are in relation to an event or not.

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UoE Leaflets and Posters Policy

Event Referral Panel Approval Process

Teaching and Research Speakers Risk Assessment

Event Exeter Speaker Risk Assessment

Speakers and Events Process

Raising a concern

If you are concerned that a student or a member of staff is at risk of being drawn into extremism or terrorism, please refer to the processes below. The aim is to support the individual and provide them with information and guidance, enabling them to make informed choices.

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Prevent Support Referrals Contact:

Contact us

We are keen to engage with students and staff. The Frequently Asked Questions section of this website aims to answer common queries, and students and staff may also send questions to the Prevent team via An open event was hosted on campus with key stakeholders from the University and relevant external partners in May 2016. This gave students and staff the opportunity to hear more about the University's approach to the Duty, and to ask questions face to face. We aim to hold more of these events in the future. 

Other University policies and processes that support the duty:

Useful external links