News and Comment

Saving what works from Prevent

Friday 3 September 2010

Aligning successful Prevent projects to the Big Society and integration agenda

There is no certainty over the future of the Prevent agenda. There is a fair amount of agreement that the Prevent strategy will be radically revised and that for some areas, funding will be reduced.

It is critical that local authorities, who have received grant funding for Prevent, use successful elements of their work. While not all projects were successful, and some were even counterproductive, there were projects that improved community cohesion and engagement and skill development. Projects may now need to be looked at with fresh eyes.

Integrating communities

Do some Prevent funded projects – such as positive activities, community action projects and leadership training – have the potential to contribute to community integration and the Big Society? Both these agendas appear to focus much more strongly than past policies on how communities can come together, rather then funding initiatives that focus on a single faith group or part of the community.

So how can existing projects be used in new initiatives to build integrated communities and the Big Society? What learning can be extracted from Prevent-funded work that can inform future strategies of the Big Society?

A good example

The London Borough of Waltham Forest, for instance, is already gearing up for these changes. It is re-commissioning its Muslim Youth Leadership Programme – a Prevent funded project – but this time ensuring that the programme is open to people of all faiths. This seems a clever step, as it will help safeguard a successful project, and ensure that it empowers whole communities, rather than just Muslim communities, and can have a role in supporting improved community relations. This move seems to chime with the likely direction of travel, and may well be repeated across a number of local authorities.