The University is committed to safeguarding the welfare of its students and staff, and to meeting its duties under the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act (CTSA) 2015 and the UK Government's associated Prevent strategy. Section 26(i) of the Act places responsibility on the majority of UK Higher Education Institutions, including Durham University, to "have due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism".
The Prevent Duty aims to stop people from becoming involved in terrorist activities, or from being drawn into supporting terrorism and violent extremism. Durham University considers the Prevent Duty as requiring a whole community approach and as a key part of its wider responsibility to the welfare of all members of its community; students, staff, temporary workers, visiting academics, and volunteers. We also strive that we get the balance right between being an open, diverse community in which we protect freedom of speech and academic freedom, and ensuring that this is not exploited.
All members of the University Community have an important part to play in safeguarding. Concerns that may fall within the scope of the Prevent Duty may first be noticed and raised as a welfare and/or mental health issue, and the University’s emphasis is first on providing vulnerable individuals with necessary support to help them before any crime is committed. The University and its constituent divisions have well-established procedures and support services in place to mitigate some of the factors which may drive involvement in criminal and extremist activity, as well as a diverse range of more informal student and staff faith and cultural networks at a University level, through the maintained and independent Colleges, and the Students’ Union.
Prevent and Freedom of Expression
The CTSA makes clear that HEIs must balance their obligations under Prevent with their legal requirements to ensure freedom of expression and academic freedoms.
Durham University has a separate Code of Practice on Freedom of Expression. This is the core document that the University uses to facilitate its approach to managing the risks around external speakers. The code of practice sets out the University’s commitment to academic freedom and the promotion and encouragement of free expression amongst its staff, students and visitors.
If you have a concern, it is important to follow the Notice – Check – Share procedure for sharing these concerns.
Are you concerned about someone? Perhaps you’ve noticed a change in behaviour; are they becoming withdrawn, or acting differently? Maybe it’s something the person has said that’s worrying you. Staff in front-line College and Department support roles will often be the first to notice if a student is experiencing difficulties, or colleagues if the person is a member of staff.
Don’t ignore your concerns – check with others who may also have noticed something. You could speak to the person directly about their wellbeing; talk to a colleague or your line manager, or raise with your academic tutors or Head of Department, to check if they share your concerns.
If you are still worried about the person, please see the Safeguarding Against Radicalisation: What to do in the event of a concern flowchart. The University will be able to offer support and guidance to the individual.
The Prevent Lead Contact is Mr Sam Dale - Director of Student Support and Wellbeing.
All members of Durham University staff are encouraged to take the online e-learning course ‘Safeguarding from Radicalisation’, which is available on Oracle Learning and which you can access by logging into the Oracle Portal. Depending on your role, this training may be required learning; check with your line manager if you are unsure.
This training is designed to raise awareness and to give participants key understanding of the University’s statutory obligations under the Prevent Duty; to identify the primary factors which may lead to radicalisation; and the Notice-Check-Share framework. You are not expected to have any prior knowledge or experience in this area before taking this training.