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Murray Edwards College
University of Cambridge

Management of External Events and Speakers

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Management of External Events and External Speakers

Adopted by Council: May 2016
Review Date: Easter Term 2021
Committee Ownership: Domestic & Estates



  1. Colleges are required to have written procedures to demonstrate their compliance with their new legal duties as set out in the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 and the Prevent duty guidance issued by government. In particular, they are required to have written procedures on how they manage the risk assessment and subsequent management of "external events", which in this context relates to scheduled or advertised meetings or activities that include visiting speakers (i.e. speakers who are not members of the University or one of the Colleges) and/or significant numbers of attendees from outside of Collegiate Cambridge.
  1. This applies, for example, to student society events hosting a visiting speaker held in College or elsewhere, and to external bookings made with the College (e.g. graduate seminars, alumni events and conferences).


  1. The College is strongly committed to the principle of freedom of speech and expression and will have a published statement to that effect: this must be referenced in an appropriate place for those seeking to book College rooms for an external event: students who take the lead in managing College student societies (including but not limited to the JCR and MCR) should have it brought to their attention.
  1. This document outlines key elements of written procedures for:
    • the management of external events at which controversial views may be expressed (whether or not they are held at the College); and
    • the management of visiting speakers at meetings held within the College.

Approval and risk management of events

  1. At enquiry, the Events Office will clarify the:
    1. Type of booking e.g. -Student/Departmental/Research/Commercial
    2. Purpose of booking e.g. –lecture/debate/networking/sales/training
    3. Target audience
  1. At provisional booking stage, the Events Office will:
    1. Identify information required before confirmation of the event can be given
      • Title of the event
      • Detailed summary of event Topics
    2. Follow up for additional information if concern is given over the subject matter
      • Identity of the presenters
      • Breakdown of expected target audience demographic with evidence from previous events
    3. Researching details of their event and organisation/s online.
    4. Highlighting the Prevent Statutory Duty within the provisional booking letter.
    5. Point clients to the section of the T&Cs in the provisional letter, with permanent paragraphs that appear on every letter
  1. At confirmation stage
    1. Make reference to the Counter Terrorism and Security Act 2015 and Prevent Statutory Duty within our Terms and Conditions and what due diligence consists of.
    2. Identify our right to cancel and if we believe event details change without sufficient time to carry out our due diligence.
      • Clients will be pointed to this section of the T&Cs in the confirmation letter, with permanent paragraphs that appear on every letter.
  1. Pre-event day
    1. We will monitor all events, as we currently do, for timely payments and consistent and complete information provided on request and at least 10 days before their event start date (as required by our T&Cs).
    2. If this information is not provided within the time-frame, the event will be deemed to be cancelled by the client or student and we will communicate this decision.
  1. On the event day, we will advise clients that a member of staff from the College may, at any time, listen to their event as it takes place and read any associated literature on or off-line.
  1. The nominated members of staff (Events team) are confident to ask more questions about the booking, have conversations with the person making the booking and conduct additional research should the information provided at any stage raise any concern.
  1. Events that are planning to discuss controversial views will be subject to risk assessments to ensure that the risks can be fully mitigated whilst allowing for free speech. If the risks cannot be mitigated, the event will not go ahead.
  1. Activities likely to be considered inappropriate to be conducted on College premises include:
    • internal or external speakers giving talks which directly or indirectly promote violence towards members of the College or the general public, or which may advance the radicalisation of College members (as it is defined in the Colleges’ statement on freedom of speech);
    • internal or external speakers whose presence or activity, in the view of the College, carries a reasonable likelihood of risk to the health or safety of its members or of the general public;
    • physical activities where there has not been due regard for the safety of participants and onlookers;
    • activities where the College has been advised by the police that they represent a high risk at the specified time or location proposed.
  1. Risk: We can have written confirmation from the organiser that nothing to contradict the Counter Terrorism and Security Act 2015 will occur, however we would only know that something controversial has occurred if it is reported by someone in attendance at the event.