Themes from the OfS Prevent monitoring data for 2020-2021

The Office for Students has recently published its annual Prevent monitoring data.

Some themes continuing from previous years are:

  • The number of referrals to Channel remains small but is still increasing.  In 2020-21, there were 47 formal external Prevent referrals, continuing the increase from 37 instances in 2019-20, 24 in 2018-19, and 15 in 2017-18. 
  • The number of events and speakers approved by institutions remains high, with low rates of refusal for any reason, and no refusals in 2020-21 for Prevent related reasons.  The total number of events or speakers approved through an external speakers process was 19,407, while the total number of speakers rejected was 193, with none of those listed as being rejected for reasons related to Prevent risk.  In 2019-20 and 2018-19 combined, the total number of events or speaker requests rejected for Prevent-related reasons was fewer than five.  Overall, the number of events or speaker requests rejected in 2019-20 was 94, with 43,337 events approved. In 2018-19, 141 events were rejected with 59,782 requests approved.

Despite the large number of events and speaker requests being approved (with 1% being refused for health and safety, procedural or ‘other’ reasons), the (now former) Universities Minister stated in April this year her desire to put “an end to the nonsense of cancel culture”, and the Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill has been ‘carried over’  to the current session of Parliament.

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