Proctorial decisions under the Code of Practice on Meetings and Events

Freedom of speech and academic freedom are central tenets of University life and underlie the University’s Code of Practice on Meetings and Events. The code seeks to help ensure both that freedom of speech within the law is secured for the University’s members, students and employees and for visiting speakers and that the use of any of its premises is not denied to individuals or bodies on any ground connected with their beliefs, views, policies or objectives. The University will always aim to allow an event to go ahead, provided that it is within the law and does not pose unacceptable risks to individuals, and will work with th organisers towards this goal.

If you are a member, student and/or employee of the University and are organising meetings or events or are responsible for administering external bookings of University or Oxford SU premises, you have a responsibility under the University’s Code of Practice on Meetings and Events to assess whether there are certain types of major risk or issue and, if there are, to notify the Proctors formally. You must notify the Proctors where there are concerns that the meeting or event:

  • may give rise to an environment in which people will experience, or could reasonably fear, discrimination, harassment, intimidation, verbal abuse or violence, particularly (but not exclusively) on account of their age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage or civil partnership, pregnancy, maternity, race, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation; and/or
  • is likely to pose a risk to the safety of those lawfully on University premises; or that it may prompt a risk to public safety.

The full code is available at

Deciding whether to notify the Proctors

If you are organising an event or are responsible for administering bookings of a University or Oxford SU event, you have a responsibility to decide whether to notify the Proctors. This applies to all meetings and events not part of the academic curriculum or co-curriculum that are:

(a)  to be held on University or Oxford SU premises (whether outdoors or indoors), including those organised by third parties; and/or

(b)  University funded, affiliated or branded regardless of location.

You should:

  • consult the Code of Practice on Meetings and Events, in particular paragraphs 7–8 and 10;
  • in the first instance, discuss the situation with colleagues locally;
  • seek advice from the Proctors’ Officers:, tel: (2)87394 or (2)77223

Notifying the Proctors

To notify the Proctors of an event or meeting under the Code of Practice on Meetings and Events, fill in the Event Referral Form and submit it to the Proctors’ Officers at least 7 working days in advance of the meeting or event.

The Proctors shall act in a risk-based and proportionate manner and with the object, wherever possible, of enabling events or meetings to proceed.

The Proctors may impose conditions on holding the event or meeting, including potentially postponing or relocating it, and will promptly communicate their decision, with reasons. The organisers are responsible for fulfilling any such conditions. It is strongly recommended that you get in touch with the Proctors’ Officers at the earliest possible stage in planning your event and make any notification to the Proctors under the code as soon as possible, to allow time for any conditions to be fulfilled.

Proctors have the right to cancel a meeting or event if they consider that the risks cannot be mitigated, or if the organisers refuse to comply with any conditions imposed, even if an Event Referral Form has not been provided.

For help with the form or for advice about any event scheduled within the next 7 working days, contact the Proctors’ Officers.

Event Referral Form (81kb)

Will I need to cover the costs of security arrangements which might be required for the meeting I am organising?

The University's Code of Practice on Meetings and Events requires an event organiser to notify the Proctors if they have any concerns regarding the safety and security of those attending the event. In making any judgement regarding the control measures that might need to be applied, the Proctors may consult Oxford University Security Services (OUSS) for further assessment and advice. OUSS has a budget for this work and no charge would normally be applied to the event organiser.

By their very nature, some events do come to the attention of the Police. If, after their own assessment, the Police consider that they need to deploy officers, they can, and occasionally do, levy a charge. For further advice on security arrangements, please contact in the first instance.  

Does the code apply if I’m organising an event for a student club?

If the event is being held on University or Oxford SU premises: yes.

If the club has permission to use the University name or logo and is doing so, or is using University funding to hold the event: yes, no matter where the event is held.

Does the code apply if I’m organising an event on college premises?

If University branding or funding is used for the event: yes.

If no University branding or funding is used for the event: no, though you should consider the college’s protocols.

I’m organising a University branded or funded event on college premises, which code applies?

Both. If conditions are imposed both under the University’s code and under the college’s protocols, you will be responsible for complying with both sets of conditions.