External speakers play an important role in University life, giving members of our community an opportunity to have access to a broad range of views and beliefs and supporting our students to develop their own informed opinions. The University has a duty to, and is committed to, promoting academic freedom, freedom of speech, and equality and diversity, and must ensure that external speakers invited to a University event or activity, including those of the Students’ Union and Faith Centre, promote these values and remain within the law.
For all University-led activities where a speaker risk assessment is deemed necessary, as an activity owner, you are required to:
Complete the essential training prior to commencing actions as an activity owner. Before notifying the University about an external speaker that you would like to invite to an event, you are required to complete the Speaker Code of Practice Moodle module. Information about the Speaker Code of Practice is also included in your Essential Training, How We Work at Essex (Alexis Lesson 3).
Complete and submit the online notification and risk assessment. The External Speaker Notification Form, which includes the Speaker Risk Assessment can be found in your Speaker Code of Practice Moodle module dashboard.
Speaker risk assessment outcome
where the risk is deemed low in light of the Speaker Risk Assessment outcome, you are required to take full responsibility for the organisation, management and running of the activity in accordance with the University’s values, policies and legal obligations
where the risk is deemed high and approved to proceed, you are required to take full responsibility for the organisation, management and running of the activity in accordance with the University’s values, policies and legal obligations, taking into account any conditions attached to the approval decision
where the outcome of the Speaker Risk Assessment is unclear or borderline, you must refer the activity for a risk review
15 day notice period
In order to allow sufficient time for your external speaker notification to be reviewed, it’s important that you submit the External Speaker Notification Form no less than 15 working days prior to your event. When submitting the external speaker notification form, you’ll be asked to complete the Speaker Risk Assessment and depending on the risk rating outcome, the notification may be referred to the University for a risk review. You must await the outcome of the review before finalising arrangements with your external speaker.