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This blog post was published under the 2015-2024 Conservative Administration

Scottish Prevent duty guidance factsheet

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What is the Prevent duty? 

The Prevent duty was established by the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 and places a duty on specified authorities such as education, health, local authorities, police and criminal justice agencies (prisons and probation) to have ‘due regard to the need to prevent people from becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism.

What is the Prevent duty guidance? 

The Prevent duty guidance assists specified authorities in Scotland such as local government, health and social care providers, education and childcare providers, prisons and the Scottish Police Authority to understand how to comply with the Prevent duty. 

When will the new Prevent duty guidance come into force? 

The updated guidance will come into force on 19 August 2024 following parliamentary approval. 

What are the key changes in the new guidance?  

Key changes to the statutory guidance include: 

  • Amending the first Prevent objective to “tackle the ideological causes of terrorism”; 
  • Updating terminology to reflect current best practice and official terminology; 
  • Outlining the new Security Threat Check (STC), which consists of three questions, will ensure that high level decision-making within Prevent is always informed by proper consideration of the terrorism threat picture and responds proportionately; 
  • Communicating the need for genuine concern about an individual’s path to radicalisation and that ideology should be a critical consideration (to improve the quality of referrals); 
  • Clearer advice on how to understand and manage risk, including by having training and risk assessments; and 
  • Including ‘Reducing Permissive Environments’ as a key theme to tackle the ideological causes of terrorism and broader radicalising influences. 

What other support is available to Prevent duty sectors? 

The Home Office offers free GOV.UK Prevent duty training to support those under the duty. We expect all frontline staff working for specified authorities to have reasonable and appropriate understanding of extremist and terrorist ideologies, and training is being provided on this. 

Free GOV.UK Prevent duty training is available to local government, health and social care providers, education and childcare providers, prisons and the Scottish Police Authority online via the Home Office E-learning tool. 

Where the police assess a radicalisation risk following a Prevent referral, a Prevent Multi-Agency panel (PMAP), the equivalent to Channel in England and Wales, will meet to discuss the referral, assess the risk and decide whether the person should be accepted into PMAP. 

PMAP is a voluntary process, and people must give their consent before they receive support. Further guidance on the PMAP process can be found on Prevent Multi-Agency Panel Duty Guidance: Protecting people vulnerable to being drawn into terrorism.

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