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External speakers in higher education institutions

Report cover This guidance (published in 2013) provides a framework for institutions to review their approach to managing external speakers.

It covers visiting lecturers and religious and political representatives, as well as campus-based events such as debates, speeches and conferences that have been organised by staff, students, and external bodies.

The guidance builds on Universities UK's 2011 publication Freedom of speech on campus: rights and responsibilities, and complements resources published by the National Union of Students, the Equality Challenge Unit and the Charity Commission.

It provides practical assistance for universities navigating the various considerations that arise when inviting external speakers onto campus and drawing up policies and protocols to manage this process. 

The guidance focuses on practical considerations such as how speaker requests are made, and more complicated issues such as decision making on individual speakers and the mitigating actions required to enable events to proceed within the law.

Managing external speakers is a core component of the Prevent statutory duty which applies to universities. Further resources for universities on complying with the duty can be found on the Safe Campus Communities website


The team

Stephanie Harris

Policy Manager
Universities UK


Number 10 Downing Street

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