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Affected higher education providers became subject to the new duty on 18 September 2015.

What is the Prevent Duty?

Under the Counter Terrorism and Security Act 2015 (‘the Act’) relevant higher education bodies (RHEBs) must have due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism. This is known as the Prevent Duty

The aim of the Prevent strategy is to reduce the threat to the UK from all forms of terrorism by stopping people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism.

HEFCE monitors implementation of the duty in the higher education sector in England. This is at the Government's request.

The Government has issued two sets of statutory guidance to support the duty. One applies to all specified authorities. The other is specifically targeted at relevant higher education bodies.

What do institutions have to do?

To comply with the Prevent Duty, institutions must:

  • assess the risks associated with Prevent in the context of their local situation and draw up a proportionate action plan to mitigate those risks
  • have responsive, effective welfare support systems, ensuring concerns about students' wellbeing can be acted on, linking to Prevent structures (such as local authorities or the police) if necessary 
  • ensure internal mechanisms and external arrangements are in place for sharing information about vulnerable individuals when appropriate
  • have systems in place for assessing and mitigating risks around external speakers and events on campus, while maintaining the existing duty to promote freedom of speech
  • ensure senior managers are engaged with the Prevent duty, build links with external Prevent partners, and arrange ongoing Prevent training for relevant staff
  • implement an IT usage policy which covers the Prevent duty
  • ensure that students' unions and societies are aware of, and are consulted with on policies concerning activities on campus.

Does Prevent apply to my institution?

The Act applies to the governing bodies or proprietors of ‘relevant higher education bodies’. HEFCE’s Register of HE providers in England lists most of the providers that fall under the definition of a ‘relevant higher education body’.

For HEFCE monitoring purposes, the Act covers four distinct groups:

  • higher education institutions that are funded directly by HEFCE
  • alternative providers with specific-course designation by Government for the purposes of English student support funding
  • other providers that provide higher education to more than 250 students by headcount.
  • the autonomous colleges, schools and halls of the universities of Cambridge, Durham and Oxford.

Further education (FE) colleges

Ofsted is responsible for monitoring the implementation of the Prevent duty by publicly funded FE colleges. To avoid duplication of monitoring activity, Ofsted will monitor all FE college activity, including HEFCE-funded higher education provision offered by the college. Private FE providers will be covered by different monitoring arrangements operated by the Department for Education.

HEFCE's monitoring role

HEFCE’s monitoring role

The Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills has delegated to HEFCE responsibility for monitoring compliance of the Prevent duty for relevant English higher education providers.

The delegation came into effect on 21 August 2015.

We will monitor whether relevant higher education bodies are carrying out the duty effectively. We will report findings back to providers and the Government on a regular basis.  

To carry out this role effectively, we will ask relevant higher education bodies to provide evidence and supporting information to show they are compliant. Bodies are legally required to provide information we require for our monitoring work.

In January 2017, HEFCE published a report, ‘Implementation of the Prevent duty in the higher education sector in England: 2015-16’ (HEFCE 2017/01), setting out the findings from our first year of monitoring work. 

Prevent External Advisory Group

HEFCE has established an External Advisory Group to provide specialist, strategic and practical advice to HEFCE. This will help shape its role as monitoring authority of the Prevent duty for English higher education providers.

The primary focus of the Group will be to act in an advisory capacity. This will not be a decision-making Group. The Group will raise issues, identify best practice and make recommendations for HEFCE to consider, particularly during the ‘start up’ phase of HEFCE's new monitoring role.

The Group will meet three times per year, with the first meeting scheduled for February 2016. Anil Ruia, Chair of Governors at the University of Manchester will Chair this Group. Full membership is listed below:




Anil Ruia

Chair of Governors

University of Manchester

Dr John Hogan


Newcastle University

Nigel Carrington


University of the Arts London

Hema Tank

Vice-Principal, Degree Programmes

Ifs University College  

Paul Greaves

Chair of Board of Governance

Nelson College London

Dr Barbara Wilding

Chair of Governors

Cardiff Metropolitan University

Stephen Marston


University of Gloucestershire

Matthew Collins

Deputy Director, Office for Security and Counter-Terrorism

Home Office

Tricia O'Neill

Chief Executive Liverpool Guild of Students

University of Liverpool

Christine Abbott

University Secretary and Director of Operations

Birmingham City University

Matt Lody

Senior Institutional Risk and Assurance Manager


Paul Joyce

Deputy Director for Further Education and Skills


Ben Bailey

Director of Student Services

University of Birmingham

Professor Paul O’Prey

Vice Chancellor

University of Roehampton (UUK representative)

Stephen Jones

Deputy Director, Strategy & Policy


We will be publishing regular updates on our monitoring work. The publication schedule below sets out further details. 

Publication of ‘Implementation of the Prevent duty in the HE sector: HEFCE assessment outcomes’.




1 December 2016

Annual Report due: HEFCE-funded higher education institutions.


18 January 2017

Publication of ‘Implementation of the Prevent duty in the HE sector in England: 2015-16’.

1 February 2017

Annual Report due: Alternative providers with specific-course designation.

3 April 2017

Annual Report due: The Universities of Cambridge, Durham and Oxford, the autonomous colleges, schools and halls of those universities and other providers that offer higher education to more than 250 students.

Autumn 2017

Publication of ‘Implementation of the Prevent duty in the HE sector in England: 2016-17’.

1 December 2017 and annually thereafter

Annual Report due: HEFCE-funded higher education institutions including the Universities of Cambridge, Durham and Oxford, the autonomous colleges, schools and halls of those universities.


1 February 2018 and annually thereafter

Annual Report due: Alternative providers with specific-course designation and ‘Other providers’.

Autumn 2018

Publication of ‘Implementation of the Prevent duty in the HE sector in England: 2017-18’.

Page last updated 19 January 2017