Final version of Prevent guidance published

Under the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015, specified authorities are placed under a duty to have “due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism” and the Secretary of State has the power to issue guidance to which authorities must have regard when carrying out the duty.

A draft version of such guidance was put out to consultation shortly before Christmas and the final version has now been published.

As covered in earlier blogs, the guidance is based on the premise that people who are drawn into terrorism are often first exposed to “extremism”, both violent and non-violent, defined as “vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and the mutual tolerance of different faiths and beliefs. We also include in our definition of extremism calls for the death of members of the armed forces”.

General principles

Both higher and further education institutions are subject to the duty and the guidance.

All authorities caught by the duty are expected to apply a risk-based approach, meaning a bespoke assessment of the risk of radicalisation in their area. They are however all expected to respond in the following broad ways:

  • Those in leadership positions need to establish mechanisms to assess the risk, make sure staff understand the risk and know how to deal with it, actively communicate the importance of the duty and secure its effective implementation.
  • Authorities need to work in effective partnership and demonstrate productive co-operation with the police, local authorities and multi-agency forums such as Community Safety Partnerships.
  • Authorities need to build the capabilities within their organisation to spot potentially vulnerable individuals and to take appropriate action.
  • Authorities need to share relevant information, but must do so lawfully.

These themes are picked up in the sector specific guidance, dealt with below.

Compliance with the duty will be monitored centrally via the Home Office and through appropriate inspection regimes in each sector.

Sector specific duties

Requirement

Further Education

Higher Education

Partnership

Boards and senior managers must actively engage with the police and BIS Prevent co-ordinators.

Institutions must engage and consult students on compliance with their Prevent duty.

All relevant curriculum areas will need to be engaged, with a single contact point for delivery of Prevent-related activity.

Senior management of the institution (including where appropriate the VC) must actively engage with the police and BIS Prevent co-ordinators.

Institutions must engage and consult students on compliance with their Prevent duty

Information on how to comply with the duty must be shared across faculties. A single Prevent point of contact might be considered useful.

There should be regular contact with the relevant BIS Prevent co-ordinator.

Risk assessment

The risk assessment should identify where and how individuals might be at risk of radicalisation, across a range of campus and welfare activities, policies and procedures, including those where external organisations use the institution’s facilities.

There should be clear procedures for managing whistleblowing and complaints.

Subcontractors need to be made aware of the Prevent duty.

The risk assessment should identify where and how individuals might be at risk of radicalisation, across a range of campus and welfare activities, policies and procedures, including those where external organisations use the institution’s facilities

Action plan

The risk assessment and the action plan designed to mitigate the identified risk needs to be notified to the BIS Prevent co-ordinator and others as necessary (including SFA/EFA and the police)

With the support of co-ordinators and others as necessary, institutions which identify a risk should develop an action plan.

Staff training

Staff need to receive appropriate training so that they can develop the curriculum to challenge and educate about extremism and so that leaders and teachers can “exemplify British values”.

Appropriate members of staff need to be trained to identify those at risk of radicalisation, and to know what to do in response, including referral into the Channel programme.

There should be robust procedures to share information internally and externally.

The ETF will develop a tailored training programme for FE.

Appropriate members of staff need to be trained to identify those at risk of radicalisation, and to know what to do in response, including referral into the Channel programme.

There should be robust procedures to share information internally and externally.

 

Welfare and pastoral care/chaplaincy support

Institutions must ensure that sufficient support is available for learners.

There should be policies for the use of prayer rooms and related facilities, a structure to manage these facilities (e.g. an oversight committee) and a mechanism for managing issues arising out of the use of the facilities.

Institutions must ensure that sufficient support is available for students.

There should be policies for the use of prayer rooms and related facilities, a structure to manage these facilities (e.g. an oversight committee) and a mechanism for managing issues arising out of the use of the facilities.

IT policies

IT policies should expressly refer to the Prevent duty and consideration should be given to using filters to restrict access to harmful content.

There should be clear policies for those who need to access restricted materials for their learning.

IT policies should expressly refer to the Prevent duty and consideration should be given to using filters to restrict access to harmful content.

There should be clear policies for those who need to access restricted materials for their research or studies.

Students unions and societies

 

Institutions need to have due regard to the Prevent duty in the context of their dealings with SUs. There should be policies setting out what can and cannot take place on campus and what SUs are expected to do to comply with the duty to challenge extremist ideas. SUs are expected to work with their institutions in this regard.

Monitoring & enforcement

Ofsted (Estyn in Wales) will monitor compliance with the duty as part of its assessment of safeguarding under the Common Inspection Framework.

Inadequate action by colleges could lead to an intervention by the FE commissioner (and ultimately intervention by the Secretary of State).

An appropriate monitoring framework will be published.

 

Specific guidance on dealing with extremist speakers will follow.

Smita Jamdar
Partner and Head of Education
For and on behalf of SGH Martineau LLP
DD: 0800 763 1332
M: 07909 925946
F: 0800 763 1732
International DD: +44 870 763 1332
E: smita.jamdar@sghmartineau.com
W: www.sghmartineau.com

Comments -
  1. Gravatar

    This is where I found the debates in the Lords to be illuminating. Lord Bates got it in the neck about the prescriptive parts of the bill regarding universities. So, he waved the UUK guidance at his peers, saying that it was more prescriptive. They sensibly replied, that the UUK guidance was that - a guide to how universities might behave, if they chose a different approach, that could be ok. The Home Office really doesn't play like that (try it with UKVI and see how you get on). Their 'guidance' would have to be adhered to.

    So, broadly its good news that the bulk of the prescriptions have come out. But, this Guidance has statutory power, it is treated like a statutory instrument (although it must be the loosest SI ever drafted). What will be the status of the external speakers' guidance? Will that also have to come before Parliament?

  2. Gravatar

    As covered in earlier blogs, the guidance is based on the premise that people who are drawn into terrorism are often first exposed to “extremism”, both violent and non-violent, defined as “vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and the mutual tolerance of different faiths and beliefs. We also include in our definition of extremism calls for the death of members of the armed forces”.

    So if a university offers a course in Greek Political Philosophy where students are "exposed" to e.g. Plato's Republic (which contains an attack on democracy) or Aristotle's Politics (which contains a defence of slavery), is it breaking the law?

  3. Gravatar
    Ed

    'Political philosophy now illegal in the UK. Well, almost. The British government has just produced the guidance for its “Prevent” scheme for education, which aims to stop young people from being drawn into “extremism”...'
    by CHRIS BERTRAM for CROOKED TIMBER on MARCH 13, 2015
    crookedtimber.org/...

  4. Gravatar

    What about a link to the final version?

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