Brian Sims

Overhaul of Prevent underway with new guidance published

THE GOVERNMENT is on track to fulfil the majority of the recommendations from the Independent Review of Prevent by February 2024, with significant changes already implemented to bolster governance and embed oversight. Ten out of the 34 recommendations have been delivered in full, while progress has been made against every single recommendation, with 68 of the 120 required tasks completed.

Refreshed draft Prevent duty guidance has been published and a Statutory Instrument laid in the House of Commons to bring it into force under the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act, in turn aiding front line professionals in stopping individuals from becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism.

Strengthened due diligence checks on civil society organisations will ensure that under no circumstances will Prevent work with or fund those who legitimise or otherwise support extremists. Prevent funding has ceased for those groups which have fallen foul of these standards.

The updated Prevent duty guidance delivers on several key recommendations of the Independent Review, making it clear that Prevent’s objective is to tackle the ideological causes of terrorism. It includes practical advice for those with responsibility to stop people from becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism.

This guidance will help front line professionals in healthcare, education, local authorities, prisons, the probation arena and the police service in complying with the Prevent duty.

Enduring and evolving threat

Home Secretary Suella Braverman said: “Terrorists seek to destroy the freedoms and values we cherish. It is the duty of Government to disrupt this enduring and evolving threat. Ongoing improvements to Prevent are paving the way for a stronger, more transparent and proportionate approach to tackling radicalisation in this country. This includes ensuring that we are no longer working with or funding groups who legitimise extremists.”

Braverman added: “The updated Prevent duty guidance provides front line professionals in education, healthcare and local Government with a renewed focus as well as new tools and information to stop people from becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism.”

Education Secretary Gillian Keegan commented: “Our schools are committed to protecting pupils from radicalisation and extremist influences. This guidance, along with the support of front line workers, will be pivotal to achieving that. These changes will provide greater clarity, practical advice and access to Best Practice for all teachers and education settings.”

A new security threat check will ensure that Prevent activity is always in line with the national threat picture. New training on the ideological foundations of extremism and terrorism is being rolled out throughout the country.

Terminology has been updated in the guidance in order to reflect an individual’s susceptibility to terrorism and vulnerability will only be used where appropriate.

A refreshed ministerial oversight Board will meet in the coming months to oversee continued implementation of the Independent Review and ensure delivery remains in line with William Shawcross’ recommendations.

National to regional

Delivery of Prevent has moved from a national to a regional model, which provides support for all local authorities in England and Wales. The areas with the highest radicalisation risk will also receive multi-year funding to combat the local threat.

In order to address William Shawcross’ concerns about the prevalence of anti-semitism in Channel cases, specialist intervention providers have been recruited. There is also new training being provided to civil society organisations to tackle anti-semitism.

The Government has completed 68 of the 120 sub-sets of the 34 recommendations of the Independent Review and the majority of these recommendations are expected to be fulfilled by February next year.

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