What is the Prevent duty?
From 1 July 2015 the Prevent duty became law in England and Wales and PACEY published various news stories and articles about this. This is a duty on all schools and registered early years providers to have due regard to preventing people being drawn into terrorism. In order to protect children in your care, you must be alert to any reason for concern in the child’s life at home or elsewhere. This includes awareness of the expression of extremist views.
The government has defined extremism in the Prevent strategy as: "vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs."
Childcare and early years providers subject to the Prevent duty will be expected to demonstrate activity in the following areas:
- assessing the risk of children being drawn into terrorism.
- demonstrate that they are protecting children and young people from being drawn into terrorism by having robust safeguarding policies.
- ensure that their safeguarding arrangements take into account the policies and procedures of the Local Safeguarding Children Board.
- make sure that staff (if applicable) have training that gives them the knowledge and confidence to identify children at risk of being drawn into terrorism, and to challenge extremist ideas which can be used to legitimise terrorism
- expected to ensure children are safe from terrorist and extremist material when accessing the internet
The Prevent duty is not a devolved issue for Welsh Government and so the general UK Government guidance would need to be followed in Wales.
What are British values?
British values are a set of four values introduced to help keep children safe and promote their welfare – as is the duty of all providers registered with CSSIW; specifically to counter extremism. Below are the values with some practice based suggestions for how this could be embedded into your practice;
- Democracy: making decisions together, for example giving opportunities to develop enquiring minds in an atmosphere where questions are valued.
- Rule of law: understanding rules matter in line with children’s Personal Social and Emotional development and Well-Being. For example collaborating with children to create rules and codes of behaviour.
- Individual liberty: freedom for all, for example reflecting on their differences and understanding we are free to have different opinions.
- Mutual respect and tolerance: treat others as you want to be treated, for example sharing and respecting other’s opinions.
What does this mean in practice?
As a childcare and early years provider you have a critical part to play. Early years providers serve arguably the most vulnerable and impressionable members of society.
In Wales the National Minimum Standards for Regulated Childcare places clear duties on providers to keep children safe and promote their welfare.
Standard 20.5 states ‘Any persons working and looking after children are aware of safeguarding and child protection issues’
This fits with the Wellbeing theme within the new CSSIW inspection framework to be implemented from April 2016, which measures the extent to which children feel safe.
PACEY Cymru will be producing a more detailed factsheet in coming weeks that links to this duty and will share the link to this in the enewsletter received by members. You may also find the recently updated Welsh Government guidance, Respect and Resilience - Developing Community Cohesion a useful document to help in your approach to the Prevent duty.