HE Safety and Security Audit Toolkit

2.2 Conducting HE Safety and Security Audits

The full audit process for one facility may take two or more working days. In order to get a valid assessment of current safety and security conditions, audits should be conducted during district daily operations and when students, staff, and faculty are present. Audits should be avoided during times where the schedule is severely altered (i.e. summer session, spring break, etc.). During the course of the audit, team members should follow the HE District Facility Safety and Security Audit Checklist to ensure all components of the audit are addressed. Team members may assess additional components, which can be determined locally. Conducting a comprehensive safety and security audit of a facility consists of surveying students, faculty, and support staff, an onsite visit, and a document review.

HE District Facility Safety and Security Audit Checklist

The HE District Facility Safety and Security Audit Checklist is a series of excel spreadsheets that provides guidance through the audit process. It is organized by function and provides a list of questions that should be considered when conducting safety audits at institutions of higher education. This checklist allows for a comprehensive evaluation of the institutions current level of safety, security, and emergency preparedness. In addition, the checklist was developed with a methodology that allows it to be used reflectively in the identification of current preferred practices as well as the establishment of action plans to address those areas in need of improvement. The HE District Facility Safety and Security Audit Checklist allows for the assessment of the following functions:

  1. Environmental Design
  2. Policy and Security
  3. Emergency Management
  4. Information Technology Security
  5. Environmental Health and Safety
  6. Facilities
  7. Business Continuity
  8. Policy
  9. Communications
  10. Residential
HE District Facility Safety and Security Audit Checklist


Surveys (or interviews) should be provided to students, faculty, staff, and visitors of the campus in advance of any onsite visit. If possible, it is recommended that these surveys/interviews be conducted several weeks ahead of time. Results of the surveys/interviews should be summarized before the onsite visit to help determine safety needs of the campus. They should also be included in the audit report.

Data Collection Instruments

The TxSSC has developed a Higher Education Climate Survey that can be used to gather information from various individuals during a safety and security audit. The climate survey can be given in part or in its entirety to students, staff, faculty, and visitors to assess feelings of safety and security and overall preparedness. Junior college districts are encouraged to add, delete, or alter items on the climate survey to fit the districts data collection needs.

HE Climate Survey

Onsite Visit

The audit team should schedule an onsite visit with the president, dean, or facility manager. In most cases, the onsite visit can be completed in one day. If the campus or facility is very large, activities may take longer than one day. If necessary, the audit team may divide into two sub-teams for some of the activities. It is recommended that multiple audit team members evaluate each section of the facility to provide a comprehensive and objective assessment. Team members should make every effort to minimize any disruption to the facility’s normal activities. Onsite visit activities should consist of:

  1. An entrance conference with the president, dean, or facility manager and other members of the campus safety team to allow review of survey results, discuss campus concerns, and ask/answer questions.

Conducting the Entrance Conference

The purpose of the entrance conference is to establish the context in which the campus operates, determine the perceived level of safety among various users, and gather responses for portions of the HE District Facility Safety and Security Audit Checklist.

Suggested Questions for Entrance Conference

a. What are the most pressing safety needs in your campus/facility? b. What safety activities does your campus or facility do best? c. What safety topics are most important for training and staff/faculty development? d. What are the biggest barriers to improved safety measures? e. What other comments do you have regarding safety?

Information obtained from the entrance conference will be analyzed as part of the document review, which will take place later in the audit process. During that time, the audit team will review and ascertain how well prepared the campus is to deal with everyday safety concerns as well as emergency situations.

  1. A walk-through and visual assessment of the buildings and grounds using the HE District Facility Safety and Security Audit Checklist. In addition, schedule a time to visit the facility when night lighting can be evaluated.
  2. An observation of transition between class and general movement throughout the facility or campus.
  3. A brief exit interview with the president, dean, or facility manager to review the onsite visit.

Document Review

Following the onsite portion of the audit, an examination of campus or facility information and documents should be conducted. The document review may be conducted at the campus, facility, or another location. During the document review, the entire audit team will meet to review documents provided by the campus/facility and the results of the onsite visit. Examination of campus or facility information and documents includes:

  1. Campus/facility Emergency Operations Plan (EOP), including campus/facility floor plans and site maps
  2. Crime and Discipline data (e.g. Disciplinary probation)
  3. Information from entrance conference
  4. Data from climate surveys
  5. Other campus/facility policies and procedures
  6. Other pertinent information provided by campus/facility personnel
  7. The most recently completed district facility safety and security audit results, recommendations, and action plans