Legislation that will significantly impact the way in which speech is protected in higher education institutions has become law.
The primary purpose of the Act is to ensure higher education providers comply with enhanced free speech duties or face sanctions from the higher education regulator the Office for Students (the "OfS") and/or legal claims from individuals.
Under the Bill, a new OfS director role for Freedom of Speech and Academic Freedom will be introduced. This new OfS director will sit on the board of the OfS and will be responsible for ensuring that providers are complying with their duties under the Bill, on an active and ongoing basis.
In light of the new law, providers will need to review - and very likely update - their governing documents, policies and procedures to ensure proper compliance with the Act. Given the broad impact of the new legislation - touching as it does upon a provider's relationship with staff, students, visiting speakers and even funders - it will also be important for provider's staff to have a broad awareness of its requirements.
We have prepared a practical compliance guide and checklist which details what the new law requires to help providers prepare. Please find this here: