The EHRC published a guide for higher education providers in England on how to use equality and human rights law in the context of Prevent in February 2017.
Since 2015, higher education providers have had to comply with the Prevent duty. Under this duty they are required to put systems in place to identify, challenge and address extremism. Concerns have been raised that the Prevent duty is sometimes being implemented in ways which could:
- undermine the fundamental rights and freedoms of staff and students;
- stifle free speech and academic freedom;
- lead to discrimination and other conduct prohibited by the Equality Act 2010; and,
- stigmatise or alienate segments of staff and student populations.
The UK Government’s intention is for the Prevent duty to be discharged in a sensitive and proportionate way that takes account of the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) and the need to maintain open and free speech.