Westminster Higher Education Forum

We are continuing to organise full-scale virtual conferences which retain all the features of physical seminars, including full programmes, presentations with slides, panel discussions and live delegate questions and comments sessions, person-to-person and group networking, and a permanent record provided to all delegates afterwards. New events are coming on to our conference programme all the time, so there are plenty of opportunities to join us if you haven’t already, from wherever you are.
For booking-related queries or information on speaking please email us at info@forumsupport.co.uk, or call +44 (0)1344 864796.

If you’re already booked on, joining instructions can be accessed from five working days before your conference via the booking dashboard. Need help? You can contact our Delegate Relations team at delegate.relations@forumsupport.co.uk or by calling the above number.

Freedom of speech policy and higher education

Morning, Monday, 17th January 2022

***Full-scale policy conference taking place online***

This conference comes in the context of the Government’s plans to legislate for freedom of speech in higher education, with the Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill currently progressing through Parliament.

We are pleased to be able to include a keynote contribution from Rt Hon Michelle Donelan MP, Minister of State for Higher and Further Education, Department for Education.

This conference will be an opportunity for key stakeholders and policymakers to examine the likely impact of the proposed new regulations and statutory duties on HE providers and student unions, and will look at the priorities for managing risk and liability, avoiding undue bureaucracy, and the ramifications for expression of ideas on campuses.

Delegates will also consider the wider implications on the employability of graduates, protections for vulnerable groups, the rigour of academic research, and the autonomy of the sector and individual providers.


Our forums are known for attracting strong interest from policymakers and stakeholders.

Overall, we expect speakers and attendees to be a senior and informed group including Members of both Houses of Parliament; senior governmental and regulatory officials in this area of public policy; higher education authorities, institutions and associations together with their partners; academics, staff and student representatives; advocacy, interest group and third sector bodies; legal specialists; NGOs, think tanks and commentators; social media providers; publishers and HE suppliers; and reporters from the national and specialist media.

This is a full-scale conference taking place online***

  • full, four-hour programme including comfort breaks - you’ll also get a full recording and transcript to refer back to
  • information-rich discussion involving key policymakers and stakeholders
  • conference materials provided in advance, including speaker biographies
  • speakers presenting via webcam, accompanied by slides if they wish, using the Cisco WebEx professional online conference platform (easy for delegates - we’ll provide full details)
  • opportunities for live delegate questions and comments with all speakers
  • a recording of the addresses, all slides cleared by speakers, and further materials are made available to all delegates afterwards as a permanent record of the proceedings
  • delegates are able to add their own written comments and articles following the conference, to be distributed to all attendees and more widely
  • networking too - there will be opportunities for delegates to e-meet and interact - we’ll tell you how!

Full information and guidance on how to take part will be sent to delegates before the conference

Keynote Speakers

Rt Hon Michelle Donelan MP

Minister of State for Higher and Further Education, Department for Education

Joe Lewis

Researcher, House of Commons Library


Matt Western MP

Shadow Minister, Further Education and Universities


Professor Paul Layzell

Principal, Royal Holloway, University of London; and Chair, London Higher

Professor Alison Scott-Baumann

Professor of Society and Belief, SOAS University of London

Professor Arkadiusz Mężyk

President, Conference of Rectors of Academic Schools in Poland (KRASP); and Rector, Silesian University of Technology

James Murray

Senior Associate, Taylor Vinters

Peter Tatchell

Director, Peter Tatchell Foundation

Professor Bobby Duffy

Director, Policy Institute, King’s College London

Jack Ballingham

Opportunities Officer, Durham Students’ Union

Nina Freedman

President, Union of Jewish Students

Professor Kathleen Stock

Professor of Philosophy, School of Media, Arts and Humanities, University of Sussex