The Prevent duty applies to organisations whose role involves significant interaction with people who could be vulnerable to radicalisation. These organisations include local authorities, schools, further and higher education providers, the health sector, police forces, prisons and young offender institutions and providers of probation services. The law requires these organisations to get involved to prevent vulnerable people from being drawn into terrorism-related activity.
No organisation is free from the risks of radicalisation. Schools and childcare providers, in particular, have an essential role to play in protecting children from radicalisation and extremist views.
This article explains what the Prevent duty is and who is responsible for complying with the Prevent duty in education and childcare settings. It also identifies the measures that schools and childcare providers are expected to take to fulfil their Prevent duty.
Why does the Prevent duty exist?
The Prevent duty is a duty placed on certain organisations to have “due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism”. It was introduced in the Counter Terrorism and Security Act 2015 (CTSA) Section 26 and applies in England, Wales and Scotland.
The aim of the Prevent duty is to safeguard vulnerable people against the threat of extremism, radicalisation and terrorism, and to promote British values. In other words, the Prevent duty aims to safeguard people from becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism.
What are fundamental British values?
Fundamental British values are democracy, rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs. These values need to be promoted in schools so that young people leave school prepared for life in modern Britain.
What does extremism mean?
In the government’s Prevent strategy, extremism is defined as vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values.
What does radicalisation mean?
Radicalisation is the process by which a person comes to support terrorism and extremist ideologies associated with terrorist groups.
What does terrorism mean?
Terrorism is disruptive, dangerous or violent action that aims to influence the government or to intimidate the public to advance a political, religious or ideological cause. It includes serious violence to people, damage to property and disruption of electronic systems.
Who does the Prevent duty apply to in education and childcare?
Every school and childcare provider must follow the Prevent duty. They must take measures to help children build resilience to extremism so that the risk of children becoming radicalised is reduced.
The Prevent duty is a part of a school’s or childcare provider’s safeguarding duty. Schools and childcare providers play a key role in identifying and addressing any radicalisation concerns at an early stage. All those with a responsibility for the care of children must do their part in regard to the Prevent duty.
The management of each organisation plays a key role in communicating and promoting the importance of the Prevent duty. Managers should ensure that their establishment is a safe place to discuss controversial issues. They should help children to build critical thinking skills and acquire the knowledge they need to challenge extremist ideas. To achieve all this, management must understand the risks of radicalisation and provide training for staff about the Prevent duty. They should regularly carry out Prevent duty risk assessments, take appropriate action based on the risk assessment, and ensure that staff implement the duty effectively. Also, management must establish safeguarding policies and procedures in line with the Prevent duty. and ensure that staff are familiar with them. Finally, management must maintain effective partnership with other organisations in regard to the Prevent duty. and make referrals to the Channel panel, when appropriate.
Protecting children from radicalisation is not just the responsibility of management. All staff have a key role to play in ensuring compliance with the duty. The Prevent duty is a part of a wider safeguarding duty. Staff must ensure that they are familiar with the organisation’s safeguarding procedures and how the Prevent duty has been incorporated. Also, they should undertake and understand all training provided in regard to the Prevent duty. They must understand what radicalisation means and why people may be vulnerable to it. Lastly, staff need to know what measures are available to prevent people from becoming drawn into terrorism and how to challenge the extremist ideology that can be associated with it. This will help them to identify children at risk of radicalisation and know what to do if a concern arises.
Prevent duty guidance
In order for schools and childcare providers to demonstrate compliance with the Prevent duty, it is essential that they take appropriate measures in the following 4 areas.
1. Risk assessment
The Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 (CTSA) places a duty on schools and childcare providers to assess the risks of children being drawn into terrorism or supporting extremist ideas. Also, they must take action based on the risk assessment.
The risk assessment must consider the circumstances of the establishment and the local community. Also, it must incorporate knowledge of the specific risks that affect children in the local area. Finally, the risk assessment should provide information on how to identify those at risk and what can be done to minimise the risks.
2. Working in partnership
Prevent duty work depends on effective partnership. Schools and childcare providers must work in partnership with other organisations to comply with the Prevent duty. They must ensure that their safeguarding policies are in line with the Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB). Also, they must maintain effective relationship with the Local Authority and Police. Finally, they must co-operate with the Channel panel to refer concerns when required.
3. Staff prevent training
Management is responsible for providing prevent duty training for their staff and making them aware of the safeguarding procedures in the workplace. This could be Prevent online training or a face-to-face course. They must ensure that staff have the required knowledge and confidence to identify children at risk of radicalisation and challenge extremist ideas. Also, they should know what to do if a concern arises.
4. Safety online
Schools and childcare providers must ensure that children are safe from terrorist and extremist material when accessing the internet in school. This includes implementing appropriate levels of filtering, thereby restricting access to websites with extremist content.
Looking for prevent online training?
We offer the following CPD-certified Prevent online training course.
Have a question?
Finally, if you have a question or require more information on the prevent online training course or any of our training courses please get in touch. Our friendly support team are on hand to help on 0333 577 5016 or [email protected].