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University College London (UCL) is the latest member of the accreditation scheme ProtectED. A ceremony was at the UCL campus in Bloomsbury, central London, on Wednesday night. It was moved there at short notice from the House of Lords due to new coronavirus restrictions announced for the Upper House.
UCL deputy security manager Ollie Curran accepted the ProtectED certificate from the Labour working peer Baroness Henig, a patron of ProtectED. Pictured later (beside Jeremy Bentham’s box) are UCL staffers and Ruth Henig. From left, Mark West, security manager; Fiona Ryland, Chief Operating Officer; Ruth Henig; Ollie Curran; Ian Dancy, Executive Director (Estates Operations); David Everett, Director, Campus Services; and Denise Long, Director of Student Support and Wellbeing.
In a short speech, Ollie Curran spoke of the accreditation as a commitment to current and prospective students, and parents and guardians. The event heard repeatedly how – even before covid – attending university at 18 might be the first time that the student has been away from home – for a student from outside the UK, away from their home country. Difficulties may be financial, or emotional; or a student may be a victim of crime. Hence ProtectED, that as Ollie Curran said offers reassurance that a university can give to the students, their families, and staff, that their safety and well-being are priorities.
ProtectED guests and well-wishers heard first from Baroness Tessa Blackstone, who congratulated organisers and spoke of her relevant experiences, as an academic, a university administrator, and a Labour junior minister. ProtectED director Andrew Wootton gave an update on the scheme. Also speaking were Dr Erin Shannon of The 1752 Group, a lobbying body against sexual misconduct in higher education; Doug Little of the International Student Mental Health Project, which began in 2019; Helen Clews, adviser external relations for the British Council, whose work involves safety for the hundreds of thousands of ‘international’ (that is, from overseas) students of the 2.3m students in UK universities; and Trevor Jones, head of security at the University of Salford and a past chair of the university security managers’ association Aucso.
In fact Aucso was there in some force, as Ollie Curran is deputy chair of the association; also there was Aucso’s new COO, Julie Barker, and retired Aucso stalwart Malcolm Dawson, a member of the ProtectED advisory board. Also there was Jan Capper, chief exec of Cubo, the association of college and university business officers; and another advisory board member, from outside the higher education sector, Steve McCormick of the Security Industry Authority (SIA).
This gathering was ProtectED’s first since autumn 2019 and the covid pandemic. Briefly, it’s a benchmarking scheme set up by the University of Salford, whereby members meet set standards for student and staff well-being, covering the whole ‘student experience’, including physical security, and personal safety (including if students are on a night out, even off campus). Its next event is a Zoom webinar, on policies and services for students experiencing domestic abuse. Visit https://www.protect-ed.org/.
For members so far visit https://www.protect-ed.org/our-founder-member-universities.
More in the December 2021 print edition of Professional Security magazine.