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LAST MODIFIED ON: 13/08/2020 - 12:42
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The stated aims of the National Citizen Service (NCS) (see the chapter on 'Voluntary Activities') are very much about supporting young people’s development of intercultural awareness, understanding and acceptance of other cultures. This is summarised in the National Citizen Service Act, 2017 which places a duty on the NCS:
enabling participants from different backgrounds to work together in local communities to participate in projects to benefit society.
Additionally, the British Council facilitates intercultural awareness for young people in education, the arts, and society. As an international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities, they work with more than 100 other countries. They enable people in the UK and other countries to share knowledge, create and develop connections and build links and trust between one another, by providing English language materials, exchange programs to work or study abroad, and research.
Intercultural awareness is also an integral part of the school curriculum. All schools must provide a curriculum which is balanced, broadly-based and promotes the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils at the school and of society.
Integrated Communities Strategy
The Integrated Communities Strategy, published in March 2018, sets out a plan to ‘tackle the root causes of poor integration’ in order to create a more integrated and united Britain. The Integrated Communities Strategy green paper announced £50 million will be utilised to:
- support the new Cohesion and Integration Network,
- support new migrants and resident communities to integrate into the community,
- ensure all children and young people are prepared for life in modern Britain,
- increase opportunities for all young people, whatever their background,
- support teachers to promote British values and integration
- mitigate residential segregation,
- increase economic opportunities, in particular, for ethnic minorities and women,
- increase the number of apprenticeships,
- and challenge practices that hinder integration and equal rights.
In July 2018, the new Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government announced a new £7 million ‘Integrated Communities Innovation Fund’, to contribute towards the Integrated Communities Strategy and address the causes of poor integration and support projects that will encourage integration. An additional £3 million was subsequently announced in May 2019 to support additional projects.
The Integrated Communities Action Plan, published in February 2019, builds upon the Integrated Communities Strategy green paper and sets out the government’s next steps for building strong integrated communities.
Relevant legislation setting out rights which cover both young people and adults includes:
The Human Rights Act 1998 gives a clear legal statement of citizens' basic rights and fundamental freedoms.
The Equality Act 2010 extends previous equality legislation in order to protect the rights of individuals and advance equality of opportunity for all. Under the Act, the following are ‘protected characteristics’ (the categories to which the law applies): age; disability; gender reassignment; marriage and civil partnership; pregnancy and maternity; race; religion or belief; sex; and sexual orientation. Protection from discrimination is valid in schools, colleges, work places, clubs, youth service, hospitals, and council services.
The Data Protection Act 2018 controls how an individual’s personal information is used by organisations, businesses or the government. It updates the UK’s previous data protection laws to be more appropriate for the UK’s digital economy and society, hence it repeals the Data Protection Act 1998. It applies the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) into UK legislation in preparation for when the UK leaves the European Union. The Act broadens the scope of individual’s data and information it protects to all general data, law enforcement data, and national security data, in order to protect the privacy and rights of individuals. Individuals are given more power and control of their data: to know what data is held about them, how it is being used, and when it should be deleted. The Act provides further protection to children’s data; the Information Commissioner’s Office provides a summary:
- to process children’s data online, children, aged 13 and over, can provide consent without parental consent (unless it is for a preventative or counselling service);
- when processing data of children under the age of 13, reasonable efforts must be made to verify the person providing parental consent holds parental responsibility for the child;
- privacy notices and processes must be designed to allow children to easily understand and access, to exercise their data protection rights, and erase their personal data;
- if the original processing was based on consent when the individual was a child, erasure of that data when requested must be complied; and
- children’s personal data for marketing purposes, user profiles or creating personality, have specific protection..
The Freedom of Information Act 2000 gives individuals the right to access recorded information held by public sector organisations. The Information Commissioner's Office provides advice for education providers on how to comply with the Data Protection and Freedom of Information Acts.
The Prevent Duty is the duty placed on specified authorities (including local authorities, early years providers, schools and higher and further education establishments) to have due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism. It has three specific strategic objectives:
- responding to the ideological challenge of terrorism and the threat posed by those who promote it
- preventing people from being drawn into terrorism and ensuring they are given appropriate advice and support
- working with sectors and institutions where there is a risk of radicalisation.
Specific guidance for early years providers and schools and further and higher education institutions is available. Prevent is one of four strands of CONTEST (the UK Government’s 2011 counter terrorism strategy). It was made a statutory duty by the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015.
To assist implementation of the duty in Section 26 of the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015, the Home Office has produced a Prevent e-learning training package. It contains introductory training and is aimed at the education sector. Models for other sectors are under development. It provides a foundation from which to develop further knowledge around the risks of radicalisation and the roles involved in supporting those at risk.
In addition, the Home Office maintains a catalogue of PREVENT training courses.
The Counter-Extremism Strategy, published by the Home Office in October 2015, sets out the government’s strategies to counter all forms of extremism. The Strategy covers how the government will work across departments and ministries, individuals and groups across Britain to defeat extremism. The Strategy acknowledges to achieve this, it involves preventing radicalisation of young people, they plan to do this by:
- Providing young vulnerable people opportunities and experiences to feel social inclusion and a sense of belonging;
- Addressing the lack of ‘belonging’ and integration felt particularly by young people and women by creating more cohesive communities;
- Running a national programme which provides information and support for young people about the risks of online radicalisation,
- Ensuring schools promote British values and safeguard pupils from extremism and radicalisation;
- Broadening the work of the National Citizen Service (See section on ‘Intercultural awareness’ above).
Building a Stronger Britain Together Programme
To deliver the goals set out in the Counter-Extremism Strategy, the Home Office launched the Building a Stronger Britain Together (BSBT) programme in September 2016. BSBT is a partnership between the government and civil society and community organisations that help counter extremism and radicalisation. Organisations bid for in-kind support and grant funding for programmes they provide that align and contribute to the Counter-Extremism Strategy goals. An additional £770,000 of funding was awarded to groups in 2019, with a cumulative spend of £9 million awarded to groups since the programme’s inception.
A Progress Report was published in October 2019, outlining what BSBT has delivered to date as well as presenting interim findings from an independent evaluation of its effectiveness. The report shows that evidence to date provides indicators of the positive impact of BSBT across each target outcome. A full assessment of the four years years of delivery of the BSBT programme is due to follow this report in 2020.
Channel – a multi-agency approach to preventing radicalisation
Channel is a police-led multi-agency approach, within the PREVENT strategy, to protect people at risk of radicalisation. Channel uses existing collaboration between local authorities and statutory partners, as reflected on the Safeguarding Board: schools; health, police, youth offending services, youth services, children’s social care and education. All partners are required to:
- identify individuals at risk of being drawn into terrorism
- assess the nature and extent of that risk
- develop the most appropriate support plan for the individuals concerned.
The aim of Channel is to safeguard children, young people and adults, and to prevent them from being drawn into committing terrorist related activity. It aims to ensure that vulnerable children, young people and adults of any faith, ethnicity and background receive support before their vulnerabilities are exploited by those who want them to embrace terrorism and before they become involved in criminal terrorist activity.
The Channel guidance makes it clear that there is no single way of identifying who may be vulnerable to being drawn into terrorism. Contributory factors can include: peer pressure (including online influence), bullying, crime against them or their involvement in crime, anti-social behaviour, family tensions, race/hate crime, lack of self-esteem or identity and personal or political grievances.
The Government believes that an education that promotes fundamental British values will give young people the ability to challenge and resist the influence of extremist views. In November 2014, it published guidance on promoting British values for local authority maintained schools and independent schools (including academies and free schools).
From September 2015, Ofsted, the Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills, the body responsible for school inspection in England, has had to assess the arrangements schools have in place to promote pupils' welfare and prevent radicalisation and extremism. In July 2015, the Department for Education (DfE) published a guide to help schools understand the techniques terrorist groups use on social media.
Higher education resources
The Office for Students (OfS) provides information for higher education institutions as they comply with their Prevent duties. This includes links to resources and support material and details of how OfS monitors compliance.