Meetings and events

The government’s Prevent duty guidance requires universities to consider and review their policies and procedures in a number of areas, including the management of events that take place on University premises, or are University affiliated, funded, or branded. In carrying out this duty, section 31 of the Counter Terrorism and Security Act 2015 requires the University to have particular regard to its pre-existing duty (under section 43 of the Education (No 2) Act 1986) 'to take such steps as are reasonably practicable to ensure that freedom of speech within the law is secured for members, students and employees of the establishment and for visiting speakers'. The University has replaced its former Code of Practice on Freedom of Speech with a new Code of Practice on Meetings and Events.

The new Code retains the established decision-making structure (entrusting the decision-making to the Proctors with a right of appeal to the Vice-Chancellor) but places greater emphasis on the importance of freedom of speech and academic freedom, stressing the need to assess risks relating to events in the context of the University’s existing legal responsibilities under the Human Rights Act 1998, the Education Reform Act 1988, and consistently with the Public Sector Equality Duty.   

Those who are organising meetings or events or are responsible for administering external bookings of University or OUSU premises are responsible for assessing whether there are any major issues in the context of the University Code, and referring to the Proctors as necessary. It is not anticipated that events and meetings which have been organised as part of the academic curriculum, co-curriculum or other usual academic events would cause concern such as to require formal referral to the Proctors under the provisions of the Code.

To find out more about the referral process, or to make a referral, visit the Meetings and Events page on the Proctors’ Office website.