SOAS University of London

The Prevent Duty

The Counter Terrorism and Security Act 2015 places an obligation on SOAS University of London as a Higher Education Institution to have "due regard to the need to prevent individuals from being drawn into terrorism". This is known as the Prevent Duty and SOAS’ compliance with the duty is monitored by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE).

SOAS’ approach to Prevent is primarily one of safeguarding the welfare our students and staff. We also ensure that the duty is balanced against our fundamental commitment to academic freedom and freedom of speech and debate.  We also consider our commitment to other key legislation such as the Equality Act and the Human Rights Act when examining how we implement our responsibilities under Prevent to ensure our response is balanced and appropriate.

Government Guidance requires that universities have in place policies for:

  • External speakers and events,
  • Staff Training,
  • Welfare and pastoral care, IT usage.

The government guidance 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. 

Free and open debate of often controversial subjects is a key element of SOAS life, and we will always seek to allow events to go ahead providing that they are within the law. You can explore some of our academics’ opinions and perspectives on freedom of debate on the Freedom of Speech at SOAS blog post.

SOAS statement on the 2016-17 Henry Jackson Society report

To ensure that we comply with our obligations in an appropriate manner SOAS offers a continuous training plan to ensure that relevant staff are able to understand Prevent and how it impacts on their roles.

Teaching, study and research - access to relevant materials

Where teaching, study or research has a genuine academic need to access material that may otherwise cause concern with regard to the Prevent duty access can be granted as per 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. This process protects you from undue scrutiny when there is a genuine academic need to access such materials.

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.

Code of Practice for the Booking and Conduct of Events Held on School Premises (pdf; 426kb)  

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 contact us according to the details below. The aim is to support the individual and provide them with information and guidance, enabling them to make informed choices.

Contact us

We are keen to engage with students and staff.

Student related enquiries can be directed to our Advice and Wellbeing service.

Contact: Telephone:+44(0)207 074 5015 E-mail: studentadviceandwellbeing@soas.ac.uk

And general staff enquiries through HR hr-operations@soas.ac.uk

Useful external links