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The University of Sussex Students’ Union has procedures regarding external speakers in order to enshrine our commitment to freedom of speech while ensuring we act in the best interests of our students and in a socially responsible manner. We are committed to facilitating debate and discussion to further the extra-curricular development of our students and thereby we will support student groups in inviting external speakers to their events to contribute to the dialogue at Sussex. 

A risk assessment, including external speaker details, needs to be submitted for every event your club, society, or campaign holds which involves having a guest speaker. If the form is submitted incomplete or we feel that you have not been through enough, we will send the form back to you to be updated. You need to leave us a minimum of 10 working days to carry out our approval process from the date of submission of a complete and appropriately detailed form, so submitting an inappropriately completed form risks having your event postponed. 

External speakers procedure 2017 » 

Guidance for student groups inviting external speakers » 

Guidance for external speakers attending a University of Sussex Students' Union event or activity »

Download risk assessment template » 


There is lots of information online to help you find out about resources and funding for student groups plus how to organise events and publicise your group.

Download risk assessment template » 

View example risk assessments » 

View generic society risk assessment »

View manual handling guide »


As an official arm of the Students’ Union, each group (represented by the committee) has a serious duty to take care of the welfare of its members and anyone that may be attending your events.

This means there is a legal obligation to fill in a risk assessment for any events or trips you plan. If your group organises regular events or trips you can keep the same template risk assessment and adapt it each time. Your group's general meetings & socials may be covered by our generic society risk assessment, or you may use this to add to your own risk assessment for meetings & events that aren't covered.

Your risk assessment should be submitted well in advance of the event or trip (at least 10 working days) so that we have adequate time to check it over. A member of the Activities Centre team can help you fill in a risk assessment.

If your group regularly engages in risky behaviour you might want to get one of your members to complete a first aid qualification. Contact a member of the Activities Centre team if so.

The Students’ Union has public liability insurance with a limit of £5,000,000 which all societies are covered by. If you’re doing anything out of the ordinary you might need to purchase extra insurance. Come and check with us if you’re not sure.


A risk assessment is nothing more than a careful examination of what, in your club or society, could cause harm to people, so that you can weigh up whether you have taken enough precautions or should do more to prevent harm. The overall aim of the exercise is to ensure that no one gets hurt or becomes ill.

When carrying out your risk assessment the important things you need to decide are whether a hazard is significant and whether you have it covered by satisfactory precautions so that the risk is small. You will need to check this when you assess the risks.

  • HAZARD – means anything that can cause harm
  • RISK – is the chance that somebody will be harmed by the hazard

It is important not to over complicate the process. With most activities the hazards are few and simple, and checking them is common sense, but necessary.

You canfind examples online and from National Governing bodies related to your sport that might help with your activities. If you have any further questions please speak to the Activities team.

What happens next?

The relevant staff member will check over your form to make sure everything is completed. If your event is low risk we will keep the risk assessment on file and you may carry out the activity/event. If the activity/event is medium or high risk, a member of staff will be in touch to discuss how to make sure the event/activity can be carried out safely and may suggest some additional control measures.