The public sector needs to respond to Cameron’s strategy to tackle extremism
23rd July 2015
Michael Howard,’?Managing Partner and Principal Consultant at ARGUO, looks at how public sector organisations can meet their obligations as part of the Prevent Duty.
On 20 July, David Cameron’?unveiled the government’s strategy to tackle Islamist extremism, stressing it was not an attack on Islam, the religion. One of the key themes in his speech was that integration was failing.
He said that schools would be incentivised to become more integrated and urged universities to do more on challenging the views of extremist speakers. He mentioned a lack of confidence in living what the government has identified as British values.
All of these points have been placed in a statutory setting for specified authorities, including schools and universities, with the introduction of the Prevent Duty.
Any work on counteracting extremist views needs to be undertaken in the context of what is happening in society. Inclusion in and engagement with the society you live in is something that impacts on how you see your place in that society.
Therefore working towards being inclusive whilst engaging people will be fundamental to identification of people who are already or potentially are at risk of becoming radicalised.
The Prevent Duty places education, health, local authorities, and prisons on the frontline of supporting and safeguarding individuals from the influences of extremism.
Specified authorities need to ensure that they are in a position to recognise and deal with extremism and radicalisation.?Organisations must also include and engage their employees with the Prevent Duty not only for compliance reasons but also because it can improve the approach to protection of vulnerable people.
As one of the commentators on the Prime Minister’s speech said, the new strategy may be 10 years too late for the current generation who are already or very susceptible to extremist rhetoric.’?This may be true but surely this should not be used as an excuse for in action.
There is now a statutory reason for organisations to take extremism and radicalisation in to consideration when looking at their safeguarding provisions.