Strategy & Legislation
Before thinking about your professional or institutional environment, it is useful to consider the wider political and policy contexts.
Listen to the following clip:
CONTEST, the British government’s counter-terrorism policy, is divided into 4 strategic elements: Prepare, Protect, Prevent and Pursue. Safeguarding against violent extremism is part of the Prevent strategy, designed to prevent people from becoming engaged in violent extremism of ALL forms, including Far Right, Islamist related, animal rights, and nationalist such as Irish republican related. The idea is for different sectors, from local authorities, police and schools, to third sector organisations and communities, to work together within a non-criminal space to build people’s resilience to violent radicalisation:
With such diverse organisations involved in preventative approaches, there are many different tools suited to varying environments. Your workplace may have varying levels of contact with young people or members of the public, but still require you to understand institutional policy with regards to violent extremism and safeguarding. Alternatively, practitioner environments may create opportunities to embed knowledge and practice: for example, in addition to safeguarding policies and staff training, you may use regular contact times to listen to people’s concerns, or think about ways in which you can support resilience. Whatever your role, it is useful to know about the official processes and mechanisms that connect safeguarding with the multiagency response, when institutions or communities become concerned that an individual has been identified as actually vulnerable to violent extremism:
Professionals are encouraged to:
- Recognise: by understanding the processes of violent radicalisation, notice if an individual is vulnerable
- Check: share concerns with colleagues, including your institution’s trained designated safeguarding lead
- Refer: if concerns are assessed as genuine and cannot be dealt with using internal processes, referrals can be made to the official external multiagency referral process called Channel.
For all institutions, safeguarding goes hand in hand with human rights, and ensuring that equality and inclusivity in professional and public environments are not sacrificed at the expense of security concerns. Media reporting of Prevent encouraging professionals to spy on colleagues or clients are a response to these kinds of concern.
In this context, it thus becomes crucial to gain enough understanding to act proportionately when undertaking the necessary risk assessments and professional judgement to safeguard children and adults. Channel is therefore relevant to cases where you have serious concerns.
An introduction to Channel:
Professionals should know when to make a referral, and, as partners, all public sector institutions are required to cooperate with local Channel panels:
To ensure safe, equality driven environments, it is therefore crucial to consider the tensions, in particular:
- Preventative, supportive, safeguarding
- Escalating, counter-productive, damaging
Awareness of the Prevent strategy is important for many roles in the public sector but should be viewed as part of the wider range of protection and safeguarding policies, all of which are approached with care and proportionality.
Have a look some useful pointers relevant to applying Government requirements in your workplace.