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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 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
  • the autonomous colleges, schools and halls of the universities of Cambridge, Durham and Oxford
  • other providers that provide higher education to more than 250 students by headcount. These are:
    • Ashridge (Bonar Law Memorial) Trust
    • BPP Professional Education Limited
    • CEG UFP Ltd
    • ESCP Europe Business School
    • Hult International Business School Limited
    • Kaplan Financial Limited
    • St. Piran’s School (GB) Limited.

Further education colleges

Ofsted is responsible for monitoring the implementation of the Prevent duty by publicly funded further education 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 further education 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 August 2017, HEFCE published a report, 'Analysis of Prevent annual reports from higher education providers for activity in 2015-16' (HEFCE 2017/11), which focuses on our findings from the first set of annual reports from providers on activty for the 2015-16 academic year. 


This document sets out the findings and recommendations from an evaluation of HEFCE’s role as monitor of the Prevent duty in higher education in England, and of the framework in which HEFCE monitors the relevant higher education bodies who are subject to its monitoring.

The evaluation was comprised of four main elements: a survey of relevant higher education bodies, structured interviews with key higher education stakeholder bodies, structured interviews with relevant government departments and internal reflections from within HEFCE (including an internal audit).

Read the Evaluation

Prevent External Advisory Group

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

The group's primary role is advisory. It will not make decisions. 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.

Full membership is listed below:




Yvonne Hawkins Director - Universities/Colleges HEFCE
Dr John Hogan Registrar Newcastle University
Nigel Carrington Vice-Chancellor University of the Arts London
Sandra Edwards Head of Full-time Undergraduate Programme The London Institute of Banking and Finance
Paul Greaves Chair of Board of Governance Nelson College London
Dr Barbara Wilding Chair of Governors Cardiff Metropolitan University
Stephen Marston Vice-Chancellor University of Gloucestershire
Selma Elgaziari Head of Sectors Home Office
Tove Oliver Senior European and International Manager HEFCW
Paul Joyce Deputy Director for Further Education and Skills Ofsted
Ben Bailey Director of Student Services University of Birmingham
Professor Paul O’Prey Vice-Chancellor University of Roehampton (UUK representative)
Hannah Wiskin Deputy Director for Further Education & Higher Education Prevent Unit and Student Migration Department for Education
David Walker Head of Investigations, Development and Outreach Charity Commission
Jo Attwooll (observer) Programme Manager Universities UK
Alex Proudfoot (observer) Chief Executive Independent Higher Education

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



August 2017

Publication of Circular Letter: Update on HEFCE’s Prevent monitoring activity and guidance for annual reports on 2016-17 Prevent activity

End summer 2017

Launch of repository of case studies on HEFCE website and short ‘What Works’ guides on IT and on safeguarding and welfare

Early autumn 2017

Workshops for providers on annual report requirements for 2016-17

Late autumn 2017

DfE/HEFCE event for ‘small and specialist’ providers to share good practice and relaunch of refreshed HE-specific Prevent training materials on Safe Campus Communities website

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 March 2018 and annually thereafter

Annual Report due: Alternative providers with specific-course designation and ‘Other providers’ that offer HE to more than 250 students

Spring 2018

‘What works’ workshops – themes to be determined

Autumn 2018

Publication of 'Implementation of the Prevent duty in the HE sector in England: 2017-18'

Page last updated 4 September 2017