Agenda item



Fiona Gibbs, Stronger Communities Manager, provided an update on current activity in relation to delivering the Council’s responsibilities under the Prevent Duty, as set out in the Counter Terrorism and Security Act 2015. Members heard that the Council had a responsibility to work towards the aims of its Prevent Duty and the report set out the ways in which it was meeting its objectives and safeguarding those being drawn to extremism.


The Committee was informed that there were 4 or 5 key areas the Council had to respond to working alongside other agencies. A key area of responsibility related to safeguarding – identifying and supporting those who might be vulnerable to radicalisation. Channel was the multi-agency process for the management of cases relating to vulnerability to radicalisation and support of terrorism. The local authority acted as Chair of the Channel panel and multi-agency meetings were held on a regular basis to identify and offer positive support to those at risk.


Members heard that training for staff and partner agencies was key to enable stakeholders to identify those at risk and make referrals thereby ensuring that expectations were being met in relation to safeguarding. It was confirmed that the Council had delivered training to more than 5000 staff across the Borough from within the Council, education, health, voluntary and other settings.


In terms of risk assessment, the Council worked with local partners to understand the picture in relation to radicalisation – what the issues were and how best to respond to them effectively and proportionately. The picture was constantly changing and there had recently been an increase in extreme right-wing extremism. An understanding of the online space and how it was being used to spread extremist material and messaging was of vital importance. The Council worked with local partners to raise awareness and educate people to recognise the signs of grooming / radicalisation.


With regards to building resilience, the Council continued to deliver its MOPAC funded programme in collaboration with the police, schools, the college, the university and community groups. The aim was to enable individuals to build their own resilience and develop critical thinking skills. Workshops had been delivered in schools with pupils discussing topics relating to promoting equality and diversity, challenging discrimination and tackling hate.


Members requested further clarification regarding the Prevent training available to staff. It was confirmed that e-learning modules had been developed by the Home Office which provided a basic introduction to Prevent, how to make a referral etc. These modules took approximately 1-1.5 hours to complete. Key staff could also access further Home Office training and learning. Face to face workshops were organised both for Council staff and for local partners and specialist training was also offered. It was confirmed that all the training provided was Home Office approved and was regularly updated to reflect the changing picture. The Home Office was currently revising its face to face training package. During lockdown, training had mainly been delivered virtually. Some Covid-secure face to face training sessions had been held in schools but this had proved to be challenging.


In response to further questions from the Committee, it was confirmed that the local authority worked with health services, mental health services, probation, the police, schools and further and higher education providers. All these local agencies formed part of the local Prevent Partnership group.


Members enquired whether psychometric testing was provided in schools to identify those most at risk. It was confirmed that this was not currently happening in Hillingdon; however, staff in schools were trained to recognise the signs of radicalisation.


In reply to their requests for clarification, Members were informed that there had been a significant increase in the number of referrals since 2010 and approximately 50% of those referred required an intervention or additional support. However, it was noted that the Prevent categories had been broadened and awareness had increased which would partially account for this increase in referrals.  It was agreed that the Stronger Communities Manager would provide the Committee with precise numbers in due course via Democratic Services.


At the request of the Committee, it was agreed that the Stronger Communities Manager would compile a training package and arrange a Prevent training day for Elected Members.


RESOLVED That the Committee:


1)    Noted the report;

2)    Endorsed the work that was being undertaken with regards to managing local risk relating to violent extremism and the threat from terrorism, and in safeguarding those vulnerable to radicalisation;

3)    The Stronger Communities Manager provide the Committee (via Democratic Services) with precise figures in relation to the increase in numbers of referrals; and

4)    The Stronger Communities Manager organise a Prevent training day for Elected Members.


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