Setting free speech protection standards

Free speech, academic freedom and diversity of viewpoint need defending. The BFSP project will work to clarify and promote what the legal requirements and wider best practice are in various areas for doing this, starting with universities.

There is, however, little clarity about what best practice for the promotion and securing of free speech looks like in a number of areas of activity in the UK. BFSP will over the years develop statements of what the relevant standards are (or should be): setting out the relevant legal requirements and the actions, policies and practices that are required of relevant institutions to give the law – and its spirit – proper effect.

What constitutes best free speech practice will evolve over the years. There is plenty of agreement as to the general principles for securing free speech, less so about what that requires to be done in practice. BFSP will keep alert to evolving standards and practices.

Areas of Focus

Our first project relates to English universities and other higher education providers. We intend to produce similar statements for Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish institutions in due course.

Future projects may include:

  • schools including issues for parents and governors;
  • companies and businesses and investment institutions’ ESG functions;
  • governmental organisations; and
  • NGOs and charities.