Visiting speakers

March 2019

Stockport Continuing Education Service – External Speaker/Guest Policy

Introduction

Stockport Continuing Education Service, is committed to providing a safe, supportive, healthy and secure environment for learners and staff.

To achieve this, all learners, staff and visiting speakers and or guests are expected to conduct themselves to ensure freedom of speech and expression is confined within the law. There are exceptions to these fundamental rights for example making comments or publishing material specifically designed to incite racial hatred is deemed to be a hate crime and is a chargeable offence in criminal court.

The Service believes that a culture of free, open and robust discussion can be achieved only if all concerned avoid needlessly offensive or provocative action and language.

Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to ensure that open debate remains central to the culture of academic freedom and the development of learners’ ideas and understanding without causing offence or harm to others.
The Service has an expectation that any visiting/guest speakers and those taking part in meetings or protest activities respect Service values, and are sensitive to the diversity of its community and show respect to all sections of that community.

Similarly, any event which is likely to give rise to an environment in which people will experience, or could reasonably fear, harassment, intimidation, verbal abuse or violence, particularly because of their ethnicity, race, nationality, religion or belief, sexual orientation, gender, disability or age, is also likely to be unlawful.

As such, freedom to express views needs to be considered alongside existing safeguarding policies and procedures and the level of risk assessed and where possible reduced.

Legislative/Quality Framework

  • Equality Act 2010
  • Terrorism Act 2000
  • Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill 2015 (including the Prevent Duty)

Scope
This policy applies to all staff across the college, including those on subcontracted programmes who work from the Services main site or external, community venues. All staff are expected to have read, understood and adhere to this policy and related documents when they are either planning their own, or supporting learners to plan for an external guest speaker.

Definitions

For the purposes of this policy, the following definitions will be used:

An external speaker or guest is used to describe any individual or organisation not a learner or service staff member or one of its contracted partners who has been invited to speak to learners and/or staff. This includes any individual who is a learner or staff member from another institution.

An event is any event, presentation, visit, activity or initiative organised by a learner group, individual or staff member that is being held on Service premises or where the Service is being represented at other venues e.g. at an exhibition, school event or fair. It also includes events where external speakers are streamed live into an event or a pre-recorded film is shown.

Talks by organisations generally considered to be unsuitable may include a speaker who is known to have spoken previously at another institution on a topic that has caused fear or intimidation of learners or staff; a speaker accepted in mainstream as being highly controversial; a link or links to any person or group that has been connected with any controversy of a negative or positive nature; a speaker who has significant profile and attracts a following that could create crowd control and health and safety issues; a speaker from a political party during an election purdah.

Main Site is the Hardman Centre.

External/Community Venues are any venues used by the Service and where learning is delivered by service staff.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • All Staff to be aware of and follow the procedure and good practice guidance for organising an external speaker. This includes conducting brief research into the proposed speaker. If in doubt as to the suitability of a speaker, they should refer the decision to the Service Manager, who will discuss with the Designated Safeguarding/Prevent Lead if further advice is needed.
    (*doubt could be (but are not restricted to) the following: – any person or group on/or linked to the UK Government list of proscribed terror organisations
    https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/proscribed-terror-groups-or-organisations)
  • The member of staff overseeing the activity must ensure that the speaker/guest does not use the session to:
    − Incite hatred, violence or call for leaners to break the law
    − Encourage, glorify or promote any acts of terrorism including individuals, groups or organisations that support such acts
    − Spread hatred and intolerance in the community and thus aid in disrupting social and community harmony
    − Within a framework of positive debate not insult other faiths or beliefs
    − Raise or gather funds for any external organisation or cause without expressed permission of the Service

Not all external speakers or facilitators utilised by the Service will be DBS checked. Where an external speaker or facilitator is present with a group of learners then a member of staff must stay in the room/area of the activity to oversee it and ensure appropriate safeguarding of the learners concerned. Failure to follow this requirement will be dealt with under the Council disciplinary procedure.

Admin team to centrally collate external and guest speaker record sheets.

  • Service Manager and Designated Safeguarding/Prevent Leadr to offer staff support relating to the policy, procedure and forms. To raise any concerns if required over the suitability of the proposed external/guest speaker with The Councils safeguarding Unit.
  • Designated Safeguarding/Prevent Lead (DS/PL) should investigate all concerns in relation to actual or potential harm, including the radicalisation of learners or staff, on Service premises as part of the councils safeguarding procedures and report to relevant authorities.
  • Service Manager and DS/PL to retain the right to cancel or prohibit any event on its premises.

Dissemination

Service website

Monitoring and Review

The policy will be reviewed annually by the Service Manager

Related Policies/Procedures

  • Safeguarding Policy, Procedures and Guidance
    • Learner handbook
    • Health and Safety Policy
    • Learner Disciplinary Policy
  1. Management Responsibility

The Service Manager has overall management responsibility for this policy. Day to day management responsibility for this policy has been devolved to the Designated Safeguarding/Prevent Lead (DS/PL)