Prevent Action Plan targets Parent Councils

Orkney Islands Council Coat of Arms

A Prevent Action Plan released byOrkney Islands Council reveals that not just teachers, but Parent Councils and volunteers working with schools are to be given briefings on Prevent. Prevent is to be included in the "global citizenship" element of children's personal and social education.

The Orkney document, dated November 2015, offers a rare insight into local authority Prevent planning in Scotland. It was released as result of a decision by the Scottish Information Commissioner, but the Commissioner has upheld refusals by other Scottish local councils to release comparable. Release of the document was in the first place obtained by a journalist working for The Ferret investigative journalism website. Prevent Action Plans are publicly available for local authorities in England and Wales. Scotland is less transparent.

The redactions in the Orkney document appear to relate to names of individual staff members, in line with the requirements of the Data Protection Act.

The Action Plan shows how Prevent reaches into wide areas of ordinary life. For example, not only teachers, but Parent Councils and volunteers working with schools are to be given briefings on Prevent. Prevent is to be included in the "global citizenship" element of children's personal and social education. But Prevent is propaganda, and has been fiercely criticised by many academics. It shouldn't have any role in educating children about their place in the world.

Prevent is a policy to deal with terrorism and national security matters. It's utterly bizarre that it should be set to become a routine part of school life in Scotland.

References to a "named person" are said by police not refer to the named person scheme contained in the Children and Young People (Scotland) 2014. The term "named person" is used much more widely than in the Scottish named person scheme, and appears in Prevent documentation from England.

You can download the plan here (6.8MB)

Orkney's Prevent Action Plan 

An Aberdeen Contest Plan (dated March 2014) is publicly available on the ACVO website. It is re-published below as a set of pdf documents. Like the Orkney plan, it illustrates the breadth of local authority Prevent activity, including education and health.

Contest is the government's overall counter-terrorism strategy. Besides Prevent, it covers four other policy strands: Prepare, Protect and Pursue. The Aberdeen plan lists as actions under Pursue:

"Provide advice and guidance to partners, on what community intelligence is and highlight the value of same."

and:

"Develop a two way process for sharing community intelligence with partners through the Local Multi Agency CONTEST Group."

It's difficult to see how these Pursue intelligence gathering/sharing activities would be separated from Prevent, or indeed how any formal separation from Prevent would matter to the communities affected. The individual police officers and council officers involved in both activities might well be the same.

The linkage between intelligence gathering and sharing with partners was explored by Arun Kundnani in his 2009 report Spooked. Prevent is often presented as having moved on from these problems. The Aberdeen Contest Plan suggests otherwise.

Aberdeen Contest Plan - Prepare

Aberdeen Contest Plan - Prevent

Aberdeen Contest Plan -Protect

Aberdeen Contest Plan - Pursue