The Tavistock Institute of Human Relations was commissioned by Communities and Local Government (CLG) to develop a set of guidelines on how local authorities can evaluate their local preventing violent extremism (PREVENT) projects and programmes.
Following this, we were asked to deliver a series of regional training workshops on how to evaluate PREVENT locally.
The preventing violent extremism strategy (PREVENT), is part of the government’s counter-terrorism strategy CONTEST that emerged after the 2005 London bombings: PREVENT focuses on tackling the root causes of violent extremism in order to prevent individuals being first attracted to extremism.
Funding for local authorities has been available from CLG from 2007: initially through the pathfinder fund, and more recently through an area-based grant. Local authorities run a range of programmes and projects with this funding, including providing support vulnerable groups and individuals, running development programmes for local community and faith leaders, enabling communities to openly debate political and social issues in safe environments.
The Tavistock Institute have developed a set of guidelines for CLG, to provide practical advice for local authorities on how to evaluate their local PREVENT projects and programmes. The guidelines are aimed at policy leads in local authorities and their partners, and contain practical step-by-step advice on evaluating PREVENT locally. Alongside the guidelines is a resource-pack that gives additional information, including where local-authorities can go for evaluation support, evaluation case-studies and examples.
The guidance focuses on helping local partners answer the following questions:
Why evaluate PREVENT activities?
What are we evaluating?
What evaluation questions will we ask?
How will we assess success?
How will we collect data?
How will we analyse the results?
What will we do with the results?
What resources are available?
They provide help and guidance for local-authorities in systematically evaluating their local PREVENT work: to provide a clear and practical framework in designing an evaluation appropriate for local circumstances, setting criteria for measuring success, and systematically collecting data to evidence what is working well and what needs improvement within local PREVENT initiatives.
There is also advice on how evaluation of local PREVENT activities can connect and help with National Indicator (NI35) reporting as part of the Comprehensive Area Assessment (CAA). Similarly, the guidance includes details on when it is best to commission an external organisation to undertake an evaluation and how local community-based partners can participate in evaluation activities.
From February- March 2010, the Tavistock Institute will also be delivering a series of regional training workshops on evaluating PREVENT at a local level. These workshops provide an opportunity for local authorities to increase their knowledge on how to effectively measure the outcomes of their local PREVENT initiatives.