Andrea Gilbert, IWW BAME officer
Prevent duty training was published by the Government in March 2015 under section 26 of the counter terrorism and security act 2015. The training is under taken online and is an introductory course which provides a ‘ foundation on which to develop further knowledge around the risks of radicalisation and the roles involved in supporting those at risk’
The Governments 2015 guidance on Prevent Duty states “The Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 contains a duty on specified authorities to have due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism. This is also known as the Prevent duty.”
In March 2015, Parliament approved guidance issued under section 29 of the act about how specified authorities are to comply with the Prevent duty. Specified authorities must have regard to this guidance when complying with the Prevent duty.
Two versions of the guidance were approved: one for specified authorities in England and Wales, and one for specified authorities in Scotland. These 2 documents were revised in July 2015, removing the chapters on further and higher education institutions. This is because 4 new pieces of stand-alone, sector-specific guidance for these institutions were issued.
In March 2019 the court of appeal ruled that one paragraph within the prevent duty for Higher education institutions in England and Wales was unlawful and in Scotland too. Please see the ruling here https://www.judiciary.uk/judgments/court-of-appeal-civil-r-v-butt-v-secretary-of-state-for-the-home-department. The judgement only affects this one paragraph and the rest of the documents for the Prevent duty should be adhered to.
Members of the Education and Health sector in the IWW have been asked to take part in this training in their workplaces. The feedback we have received has been negative with members stating they believe this training discriminates against Muslim people and targets them out of every other group. There were also concerns that the training only deals with Islamic extremism and doesn’t touch upon far right extremism which has been on the rise in recent years.
At the IWW we support the Muslim community and our Muslim workers. We condemn the targeting of Muslim people through this training. Following Islamphobia awareness month we have decided to survey our members across the union to hear their thoughts and experiences about the Prevent duty training and to find out what action should be taken from our members. We will not sit by while Muslims are being disproportionately targeted by this training.
If you have a few minutes, we’ve created this survey so that you can tell us about your experiences and your views on Prevent Duty (closing date 10th January 2021):