HE Academic Freedom of Speech and External Speaker Policy
The British Academy of Jewellery (BAJ) is committed to safeguarding freedom of speech and upholding academic freedom of inquiry in its teaching, research, and associated activities. We will also ensure that the duty is balanced against our fundamental commitment to academic freedom and freedom of speech and other key legislation such as the Counter Terrorism and Security Act 2015 (and associated Prevent Agenda), Equality Act and the Human Rights Act. BAJ endorses and adopts the principles of freedom of speech within the law under Section 43 of the Education Act (1986) and the expression of open discussion in compliance with the policy and procedure outlined in this document. Free and open debate of often controversial subjects is a key element of Academy life, and we will always seek to allow events to go ahead providing that they are within the law.
Section 43 of the Education (No 2) Act 1986 states:
- Every individual and body of persons concerned in the government of any establishment to which this section applies [which includes universities] shall 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 duty imposed by subsection (i) above includes the duty to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that the use of any premises of the establishment is not denied to any individual or body of persons on any ground connected with:
- The beliefs or views of that individual or of any member of that body; or
- The policy or objectives of that body.
The policy outlines:
- The procedures to be followed by staff, students and visiting speakers in connection with teaching and the organisation of any public or private meeting or activity which is to be held or take place on BAJ’s premises.
- The procedures to be followed by members of BAJ and visiting speakers in connection with the organisation of any BAJ-branded event taking place off-site.
- The conduct required in connection with any such meeting or activity; and steps which BAJ must take to ensure compliance with the requirements of this policy including, where appropriate, disciplinary measures.
The rights and obligations of this policy apply to:
- Students currently enrolled on a course or on a period of intermission.
- Employees of BAJ or affiliated with.
- The members of the HE Council and members of its sub-committees.
- Any visiting or guest lecturers invited by BAJ.
- Any person or organisation wishing to hire premises controlled by BAJ.
- External speakers and attendees at events to be held on BAJ’s premises.
- Students, Student Council members or staff attending events contributing to discussions at events held off-site or online on behalf of BAJ.
External speakers are defined as persons who are not members of BAJ, who are invited to speak on BAJ’s premises (or on-premises hosted by BAJ) as part of teaching, research and its administration or at other events, such as public lectures, student society events, meetings, debates and conferences.
Events are defined as any organised meeting, gathering or similar activities, which take place on BAJ premises or off-site but are organised under the control of BAJ. This also includes online meetings, conferences or interaction on social media using BAJ digital technologies or made as part of BAJ academic business.
A public meeting or a public activity means a meeting or activity open to all members of the public.
A private meeting or private activity means a meeting or activity where admission is restricted to a specified group or groups of persons.
The Education Act 1986: (section 43-1): Requires BAJ to take reasonable and practicable steps to ensure that freedom of speech within the law is secured for its employees, students and visiting speakers. In addition, BAJ has a duty to ensure, as is reasonably practicable, that the use of any of BAJ’s premises is not denied to any individual or body of persons on the grounds of their beliefs, views, policies, or objectives. Section 43-3 also required BAJ to issue, and keep up to date, a policy on freedom of speech, setting out the procedures to be followed by students and staff.
The Public Order Act: Creates criminal offences relating to public order; to control public processions and assemblies; to control the inciting of racial hatred or on the grounds of religion or sexual orientation.
The 1988 Education Reform Act: Referenced the right of academics in the UK to question and test received wisdom and to put forward new ideas and controversial or unpopular opinions without placing themselves in jeopardy of losing their jobs or the privileges they may have at their institution.
The Protection from Harassment Act 1997: identifies both civil and criminal offences for harassment and makes provision for protecting people from harassment. The Act creates a separate offence of ‘putting people in fear of violence1’. This offence is committed by a person whose conduct causes another to fear, on at least two occasions, that violence will be used against them. A person is guilty of an offence if they know that their conduct will cause the other so to fear on each of those occasions or if a reasonable person in possession of the same information would think the course of conduct would cause the other so to fear on each occasion.
The Human Rights Act 1998:
- Article 9 (freedom of thought, conscience and religion)
- Article 10 (freedom of expression); and
- Article 11 (freedom of assembly association)
The Equality Act 2010: requires BAJ to have due regard to the need to eliminate discrimination, harassment, and victimisation; advance equality of opportunity; and foster good relations between different groups. Equality and discrimination legislation is a significant civil law constraint on the freedoms of speech and expression and on academic freedom. If speech or conduct amounts to unlawful discrimination, it falls outside the scope of those freedoms on the grounds that it is no longer within the law, the rationale being that the fundamental rights of others are infringed.
The Terrorism Act 2006 identifies offences relating to the encouragement of terrorism and dissemination of terrorist publications. This includes the commission, preparation, or instigation of acts of terrorism with the intent that members of the public will be directly or indirectly encouraged to commit, prepare or instigate acts of terrorism.
It is also an offence to arrange, manage, or assist in arranging or managing, a meeting of three or more persons in the knowledge that the meeting is:
- To support a proscribed organisation.
- To further the activities of a proscribed organisation.
- To be addressed by a person who belongs or professes to belong to a proscribed organisation.
In the case of a private meeting (to which the public are not admitted), it is a defence to prove that you had no reasonable cause to believe that the address would support a proscribed organisation or further its activities.
The Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 (Section 31): institutions must have:
- “particular regard to the duty to ensure freedom of speech2”
- “particular regard to the importance of academic freedom3”
- Section 31 also requires that in issuing guidance the secretary of state should pay the same “particular regard” to freedom of speech and academic freedom.
BAJ Policies – (baj.ac.uk/policies-procedures/)
- Data Protection Policy
- Safeguarding Policy
- Health and Safety Policy
The following are available on request:
- Staff Disciplinary Policy
- Harassment and Bullying Policy
- Commercial Lettings Policy
All members of staff, students, and visitors of BAJ are expected to promote compliance with this policy. Those who fail to comply with the principles or spirit of this policy may be liable to disciplinary action in accordance with the Disciplinary Policy and Procedure, and in addition to any possible prosecution for breach of the law.
The Accountable Officer oversees the External Speaker Approval Procedure, conducting an initial risk assessment, referral to the Approvals Panel as necessary and is responsible for recording and communicating speaker approval decisions. The Accountable Officer is the Principal and CEO. They can devolve responsibility to others when required.
BAJ reserves the right to monitor, regulate, impose conditions or restrictions upon any event on its premises and if necessary, close an event and request all persons to leave BAJ premises.
BAJ will not permit any form of event on its premises, online, or to be hosted by BAJ on other premises, that is likely to:
- Result in a breach of criminal law or incite attendees to commit a criminal offence;
- Result in a civil disorder or breach of peace;
- Result in an increased risk to health and safety;
- Result in a security risk;
- Result in a detrimental effect on BAJ’s reputation.
Failure to ensure freedom of speech is detrimental to academic experience and legislation. By giving opportunities for students and others to engage with sometimes controversial issues and concepts we are abiding by the fundamental right for students and staff. All academic activities and events, however, must comply with legal requirements in terms of Prevent/Protect and those cited in related documents.
Staff and students will be provided with regular training and opportunities for discussion at committee to ensure an understanding of this policy and related legislation.
BAJ complies with the provisions of the General Data Protection Regulation Data Protection Act, 2018. As such, applicants’ and student data are treated as confidential by all staff involved in this process and is not divulged unnecessarily or inappropriately. However, the aforementioned Act requires BAJ to release certain information to UK authorities upon request in order to assist those authorities with the prevention and detection of fraud or other crimes. We will release the requested information on receipt of an appropriate request from UK authorities such as (but not limited to) the police, the Home Office (for immigration and related matters), local authorities, and the Department for Work and Pensions. We may use anonymised data collected as part of an event for the purpose of fulfilling statistical and reporting requirements.
Policy and procedure
Freedom of speech
BAJ upholds the fundamental rights of freedom of speech and expression and academic freedom so far as that is reasonably practicable within the law. All those defined in section 3 are required to observe the principles of freedom of speech and expression while on BAJ premises, on online forums or off-site at BAJ events, and shall show respect and tolerance towards the expression of views, opinions and beliefs of others, even though those views, opinions or beliefs may run contrary to their own personal views, opinions or beliefs.
BAJ will ensure the use of its premises is not denied on grounds connected with the beliefs, views, policies or objectives of an individual or body of individuals, as long as such use is at all times within the law.
BAJ also has a duty to ensure that the expression of beliefs, points of view and opinions do not lead to an offence or lead to incitement to riot or incitement to racial or religious hatred or other forms of discrimination as outlined with the Single Equality Act 2010. BAJ supports an environment in which all staff and students are treated with respect in which a zero-tolerance approach is taken to bullying, harassment or discrimination.
In upholding the right of freedom of speech and academic freedom guest speakers will be asked to take questions from those attending an event, so that the opinions and theories expressed can be tested and challenged openly and within the boundaries of the law. BAJ reserves the right to remove any person attending an event whose behaviour becomes disruptive, abusive or otherwise unlawful and may, if appropriate, report that person’s behaviour to the police.
Formal approval by the Accountable Officer must be obtained by the event organiser, in advance, for any event to be held on BAJ’s premises, whether or not an external speaker is involved, where it is expected, or reasonably foreseeable, that the event will raise controversial issues which may risk infringement of or non-compliance with this Policy.
BAJ must ensure that public order and safety is maintained and compliance with statutory duties is upheld.
To seek formal approval for an external speaker the Event Organiser must complete an External Speaker/Event Application Form. The completed form should be submitted to the Accountable Officer no fewer than 15 working days prior to the scheduled date of the event. Failure to submit the completed application on time or in full with sufficient information about the event may result in permission being withheld.
External speaker is the term used to describe any individual who is not a student or staff member of BAJ or invited as part of a BAJ organised conference or event on or off campus. The organiser of the event must be a member of staff, or a student of BAJ who will be responsible for ensuring compliance with the obligations placed upon the policy. The organiser must ensure that the appropriate information is provided on the application form regarding the nature and topic of the meeting.
The Organiser will also ensure that there is a named person allocated to attending the event to ensure that the event passes without incident. This person must be a member of staff or a current student and the Organiser should be confident that this individual understands how to deal with any issues that may arise during the event (e.g. if the event is attended by significantly more people than planned, or there is disruption caused by the audience etc.).
The event must not be advertised, promoted or publicised through any means unless approval is granted by the Accountable Officer or Panel. The event organiser will be informed of the decision within 5 working days of receipt of the completed application or after the date additional information or clarification is received.
When deciding to permit an event or approving a guest speaker the Accountable Officer carries out an initial risk assessment determining whether the proposed event or person would be either low risk, medium or high risk. The initial risk assessment may include consultation with external parties, for example: the Police, the Regional Prevent Lead, and staff at other institutions.
The primary consideration is whether the event/invitation to a guest speaker can be safely managed and whether any additional measures should be put in place to enable the event to go ahead. Questions outlined on the External Speaker/Event Application Form should be considered to mitigate any risk an event or activity brings. It is not reasonable grounds to refuse permission or facilities for an event if the views likely to be expressed could be controversial or contrary provided that the expression of such views are lawful and do not incite breaches of the peace or cause un-negotiated health and safety issues.
Events proposals involving an external speaker determined as low risk should be approved and the decision communicated by the Accountable Officer to the event organiser and the decision and information used to inform the decision, recorded on the Checklist for Accepting a Booking form. The Accountable Officer convenes the External Speakers/Events Panel if a medium or high risk is determined.
The External Speakers Panel will consider what mitigation could be arranged in order to make it possible for the event to take place. The aim will be to allow events to go ahead in line with BAJ’s commitment to freedom of speech and within the law.
The Panel membership is;
- Accountable Officer
- BAJ Academic Director or Deputy Director
- BAJ Student Officer
- BAJ HE Manager
- It may also be necessary to consult and/or inform other parties of the plans. These may include the Police, Security Service, and the Prevent Regional Lead.
There are three possible outcomes of an application after careful review and assessment of risk:
- Approved with no conditions;
- Approved with conditions: These can include, but are not restricted to, added security provisions or room facilities (such as microphones, PA systems and projector screens). Event Organisers can choose to agree to these conditions for their event to proceed. Compliance with any imposed conditions will be monitored during events. If event organisers choose not to agree with any imposed conditions, the event request will be refused and the event will not be allowed to proceed. This decision may be subject to appeal.
- Request is refused: reasons for permission being withheld are provided to the Event Organiser. They have the right to appeal the decision within 5 working days.
Where permission has been granted for an Event or a guest speaker, the Organiser must inform BAJ immediately if there is any change to the event or to any of the information contained in the Application Form. Such a change may trigger a re-assessment of the decision to grant permission and the Organiser may be required to submit another application form with appropriate amendments.
BAJ reserves the right to cancel any approved events in the light of new information that leads the Centre reasonably to believe that holding the event might contravene the policy. The Organiser must immediately stop advertising, publicising and promoting the Event and (at its cost) must remove all advertisement and promotional materials from all channels, including taking down materials displayed on BAJ Premises and off-site.
The Accountable Officer records the details of all those external speakers that have been either approved or rejected under the procedure. All relevant documents are retained for six years.
Right to object to an Event/Guest Speaker
Any person may raise an objection to BAJ in respect of the holding of an event or the invitation of a guest speaker. The Accountable Officer may take such steps as considered necessary in response to the objection, which may result in the Event Organiser being required to postpone, relocate or cancel the event.
Investigation of breaches to policy
Any breach of this policy may result in disciplinary action in accordance with the applicable discipline policy and/or the withdrawal of permission for the Event. Where the acts of individuals involve alleged breaches of criminal law, BAJ will assist the prosecuting authorities in implementing the process of law and internal disciplinary proceedings may be deferred or suspended pending the outcome of criminal proceedings.
Complaints against decisions of the Accountable Officer or Panel, including an appeal against any restrictions or conditions imposed, may be submitted in accordance with the Higher Education Complaints Process available from the BAJ website. If there is insufficient time to hear the complaint before the scheduled date for the Event, the Event may have to be postponed pending the outcome of the appeal. There is no right to complaint in situations where the organiser has breached this policy.
Review and amendment of this policy
The Accountable Officer is responsible for ensuring that this policy remains fit for purpose by reviewing it at least annually. The HE Council have final responsibility for approval of any changes to the policy.
Event external speaker briefing & code of conduct
To be signed and returned to the Accountable Officer before the event takes place.
Welcome, and thank you for agreeing to speak to our students at a British Academy of Jewellery event. This code of conduct exists to ensure that all speakers taking part in a BAJ branded, hosted or run event or activity, on or off campus, act in accordance with the BAJ Academic Freedom Statement – Higher Education, Academic Freedom and Freedom of Speech Policy. In allowing speakers to attend events at BAJ we approve them based on the understanding that they act within the law and the regulations set by the Academy. BAJ expects visiting speakers to act in accordance with the law and not to breach the lawful rights of others.
BAJ has an obligation to protect Freedom of speech whilst also ensuring that any visiting speaker does not break the law or breach the lawful rights of others. BAJ has a duty to protect staff, students, members and visitors from hate crimes, harassment, defamation, breach of human rights, unfair treatment, breach of the peace and terrorism whilst they are at a BAJ-branded event.
BAJ is committed to safeguarding freedom of speech and upholding academic freedom of enquiry in its teaching, research, and associated activities. BAJ endorses and adopts the principles of freedom of speech within the law under Section 43 of the Education Act (1986) and expression of open discussion in compliance with the policy.
External speaker is the term used to describe any individual who is not a student or staff member of BAJ or invited as part of a BAJ organised conference or event on or off campus. The organiser of the event must be a member of staff, or a student of BAJ who will be responsible for ensuring compliance with the obligations placed upon the policy. The organiser must ensure that the appropriate information is provided on the application form regarding the nature and topic of the meeting (see Appendix 2 of the policy).
The Organiser will also ensure that there is a named person allocated to attending the event to ensure that the event passes without incident. This person must be a member of staff, or a current student and the Organiser should be confident that this individual understands how to deal with any issues that may arise during the event (e.g., if the event is attended by significantly more people than planned, or there is disruption caused by the audience etc.).
Set out below are some examples of BAJ’s expectations. It should be noted that this list is not exhaustive and BAJ reserves the right to refuse or halt an event at any time if the speaker’s conduct or motives are called into question.
- Speakers must not incite or spread hatred, intolerance, violence or call for the breaking of the law.
- Speakers must be careful not to discriminate against, harass or insult any person or group on the basis of their faith, race, nationality, sex, age, religious beliefs or sexual orientation.
- No speaker should encourage, glorify or promote any acts of terrorism, including any individual, groups or organisation that supports such actions.
- Speakers must not spread hatred and intolerance in the community and thus aid in disrupting social and community harmony.
- All speakers, as well as event attendees, must be respectful of the beliefs and opinions of others.
- Speakers must not defame any person or organisation
When visiting BAJ speakers must also:
- Comply with the BAJ Academic Freedom and Freedom of Speech Policy.
- Allow and encourage challenge and debate on opinions and ideas put forward.
- Abide by BAJ’s Health and Safety policy.
- Visitors are not permitted to raise or collect funds for any external organisation or cause without express permission of BAJ.
BAJ reserves the right to not permit an external speaker to speak at or attend an event, to refuse to permit an event and/or to halt an event at any time if it reasonably considers there may be a breach of the BAJ Academic Freedom and Freedom of Speech Policy or of any legal obligation. BAJ also reserves the right to impose conditions on how the event is run. These conditions may include:
- Insist that the event is chaired with the Chair being put forward by BAJ.
- Agree that there is an alternative voice available e.g. making the event a chaired debate rather than a talk by one party.
- Make the event ticketed only or specify that attendees must show valid ID.
- Open the event up to the general public.
- Request a copy of the guest list for review before the event takes place.
- Place a restriction on the numbers attending or restrict the event to staff and students only.
- The event is stewarded or subject to security (or extra security) on the door (at the expense of the group, club or society hosting the event).
- Impose conditions on how the event is advertised.
- A copy of any speech to be delivered by the speaker is submitted in advance to BAJ.
More information on the law and BAJ’s policies relevant to freedom of speech and freedom from harm can be found within the following:
- Education Reform Act 1988 – (section 43-1) Academic Freedom
- Prevent Duty Guidance for England and Wales updated 18 September 2015
- Terrorism Act 2006
- The Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 (Section 31)
- The Education (No. 2) Act 1986 S43
- The Human Rights Act 1998
- Equality Act 2010 (s.10 relates to religion & belief as a protected characteristic)
- The Protection from Harassment Act 1997
- Public Order Act 1986 – Violent, Threatening or Abusive Conduct and Speech
Please confirm receipt of this guidance and your agreement to comply with any conditions attached to your invitation to speak by either email confirmation or directly to the member of BAJ staff who is the Event Organiser, or by returning a signed copy of this document to the BAJ Reception, for attention of the Accountable Officer.
I, …………………………………….., confirm that I have read this guideline document and agree with the statements within, including my compliance with any conditions set on the event I am attending.
Signed: ……………………………………………….. Date: ………………………..
If you are attending on behalf of an organisation, please confirm the name of the organisation:
External speaker/event application form
Please complete this form for all events covered in Academic Freedom and Freedom of Speech Policy which can be found at baj.ac.uk/policies-procedures/.
Completed forms should be emailed to the Accountable Officer.
Event organiser’s contact details: This must be a member of staff or a student
Speaker information: If more than one speaker, please complete a separate form
Speaker contact details:
Title of talk:
Does the talk have any controversial subject? Select from the dropdown menu
If yes, please provide details:
Speaker arrival time:
Speaker departure time:
Has the speaker spoken at BAJ previously? Select from the dropdown menu
If yes, please provide date and details:
Has the speaker previously been refused permission to speak? Select from the dropdown menu
If yes, please provide date, educational establishment and details:
Have previous speeches by the speaker generated media interest? Select from the dropdown menu
Who is the event open to? Tick all that apply
Expected number of attendees:
How will the event be advertised: Tick all that apply
Are there any other details that should be noted?
Organiser to read and sign:
I have read the Academic Freedom and Freedom of Speech Policy and can confirm that this event and its speakers will adhere to the principles of the code. I am aware that opening hours may affect approval and costs covering materials and catering may be charged.
Originator: Quality Manager: Higher Education
Issue: HE/AFS_V2 2023
Approved: SMT September 2023
Review Date:August 2024