The Prevent Duty
Are you caught by the new duty to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism?
From 1 July 2015, local authorities, academy trusts, independent schools, nursery schools, universities, NHS trusts, NHS foundation trusts, prisons, young offender institutions, the National Probation Service and the police (amongst others) will be under what is being called the "prevent duty". The "prevent duty" is a duty when exercising relevant functions to have due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism.
These organisations will also be under a duty to "have regard to" guidance produced by the Secretary of State.
The questions below give a flavour of just some of the steps the Secretary of State expects relevant institutions to take:
- Can you demonstrate an awareness and understanding of the risk of radicalisation in your area or institution?
- Do your staff understand the risk and have the capabilities to deal with it?
- Do you communicate and promote the importance of the prevent duty?
- Have you taken steps to ensure that your staff implement the duty effectively (including appropriate training)?
- Can you provide evidence of productive co-operation with others, including the police and local authorities and co-ordination through existing multi-agency forums such as Community Safety Partnerships?
You will need to keep appropriate records to show that you are complying with your duties.
Relevant organisations will find themselves having to work out how they comply with their duty under the new Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 whilst not breaching Data Protection legislation or alienating certain groups or communities. Universities will also be anxious to preserve freedom of speech and academic expression – there is express reference to this in the Act.
All relevant organisations should undertake a risk assessment – partly to ensure that they comply, and partly so that they can demonstrate that they comply, with the new statutory duty.
It would be well worth reading the "Prevent duty guidance" – available here
If you would like to discuss any aspect of this article further, please contact Natalie Johnson or any member of the Wrigleys' Education team on 0113 244 6100.
You can also keep up to date by following Wrigleys Education team on Twitter here
The information in this article is necessarily of a general nature. Specific advice should be sought for specific situations. If you have any queries or need any legal advice please feel free to contact Wrigleys Solicitors