In light of the current review of the Prevent legislation which members can take an active part in (see below, deadline 18 November), we wanted to give members some background with respect to the introduction of the Prevent strategy at the University. We all have fundamental concerns with the Prevent legislation and the implications for our freedoms. UCU provided a clear position at the end of 2015. EUCU Committee members involved at the time have confirmed that “the University engaged extensively with EUCU as they prepared their policies on this and shared all the materials they were going to use. Although constrained by the legal/HEFCE requirements they were under, it was clear that the people leading the implementation in the University, led by Chris Lindsay in the Governance section, were trying their best to apply the rules in a sensible fashion, giving as much stress to academic freedom as they could. When we discovered examples of Colleges trying to implement the rules over organising events in a bureaucratic/unhelpful fashion, we raised these with Chris and his team and they ensured that the Colleges pulled back from such approaches.”
The University has had to follow the law as it stands now. The EUCU branch view at this time is that the recent mandatory training from the University on Prevent Duty – Inclusive, Cohesive and Safe Universities cannot be avoided and should be taken; critical comments on the course can be given via SID (e.g. CPD resources from UCU were not properly credited, and this has not been corrected yet). Ways to change the current Prevent agenda are via the UCU survey below and the ballot box!
Prevent Review: Following repeated calls from UCU and others, the government is now carrying out a formal review of the controversial Prevent agenda and gathering responses and evidence until 9 December. UCU will be responding to the review and is keen to hear from members to inform our submission. If you have experience of Prevent in the workplace and would like to inform our response, please send your experiences and examples to Will Pickering by 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.