Evaluating CVE: Understanding the Recent Changes to the United Kingdom’s Implementation of Prevent

by Caitlin Mastroe


Given the infancy of countering violent extremism (CVE) initiatives, within the CVE literature there has been a push towards understanding the effectiveness of these initiatives. CVE scholars and practitioners have attempted to construct metrics and frameworks that can be used in the field for evaluation purposes. This Research Note highlights the changes to the United Kingdom’s Prevent Strategy under the 2011 Prevent Strategy and the recent passage of the Counterterrorism and Security Act of 2015 that were made partly to promote the monitoring and evaluation of Prevent. Although the search for metrics and frameworks to use for evaluation has been ongoing, this Research Note emphasizes the potential drawbacks that can arise from the push towards the standardization of CVE programs. Using insights from interviews, this Research Note outlines these changes, explores the possible reasons behind the changes, and analyzes the potential implications for the communities where Prevent is implemented. This research is part of a broader dissertation project that examines the implementation of CVE programs and public perception surrounding these programs within the United Kingdom and United States.

Keywords: Counterterrorism; evaluation; implementation; Prevent; United Kingdom


The travel of foreign fighters to Iraq and Syria has placed a renewed interest on counterterrorism tactics that governments can use to prevent individuals from joining terrorist groups or supporting such groups. In a recent panel on ISIS in America, terrorism scholar Lorenzo Vidino echoed what law enforcement and prosecutors have come to realize, “we cannot arrest our way out of this problem.”[1] In reaction to this realization, countering violent extremism (CVE) initiatives have continued to emerge within the counterterrorism strategies of various states. CVE initiatives utilize nonviolent tactics as a means of reducing the threat of terrorism. These efforts are relatively new for the majority of countries, but the conflicts in Syria and Iraq have pushed these efforts to the forefront of counterterrorism initiatives.

Due to the infancy of these types of initiatives, CVE scholars and practitioners often lack a solid understanding of what types of initiatives are effective. Although some progress has been made in terms of evaluation [2], multiple calls have been made by policymakers and scholars alike for evaluations of these types of initiatives.[3] Responding to this call, scholars such as John Horgan and Kurt Braddock [4] have proposed possible frameworks that can be used for evaluation purposes [5], and several colloquiums centered on evaluation methods have taken place such as the “Colloquium on Measuring Effectiveness in Counterterrorism Programming” held in Ottawa, Canada in 2012 held by the Center on Global Counterterrorism Cooperation.[6]

This Research Note reviews the efforts taken by one country, the United Kingdom, to promote the monitoring and evaluation (M&E) of its CVE programs, articulated in strategy documents under the title Prevent. In doing so, I examine the challenges that CVE scholars have identified with evaluating CVE programs and the subsequent response of the UK, analyzing the recent changes to Prevent since 2011and the unintended consequences of these changes. With CVE scholars and practitioners looking for possible evaluation frameworks and metrics to use, the experience of the United Kingdom brings to light the negative consequences that can arise from decisions made in pursuit of evaluation. The discussion concludes with academic and policy implications.

Evaluating CVE

One of the main criticisms of CVE is the lack of empirical data on the effectiveness of these programs. The purpose of CVE is to reduce the threat of violent extremism, but how do we know if a CVE program is actually achieving that objective? Several challenges emerge when attempting to evaluate these initiatives. In this Research Note, a few of these challenges will be discussed which include: identifying the outcome variable; availability of data to analyze; identifying the timeframe of the analysis; and cross-case comparison of evaluation results.

Outcome variable

How should success be measured? There is much debate within the literature over what qualifies as success or the outcome variable for an evaluation.[7] Much of the literature thus far has concentrated principally on the outputs of CVE programs, meaning what activities are implemented, how many individuals participate, etc. Scholars have found it more difficult to analyze the impact-related outcomes of these initiatives, namely the decreased threat of terrorism. Part of the problem is that the ideal outcome variable requires proof of a counter-factual, such as observing the individuals that did not radicalize (as a direct result of the CVE initiatives), but would have radicalized otherwise, which is an impossible task. As an alternative, scholars have used other proxies to measure success, such as the number of terrorism incidents and recidivism rates of participants in prison-based CVE programs and other indicators that have been highly criticized.[8]


Another challenge facing the evaluation of CVE programs involves the timeframe of CVE strategies. As stated by President Obama, CVE “is a long-term campaign.”[9] Terrorism will not be prevented overnight; rather, CVE strategies are developed as long-term strategies to reduce the threat of terrorism. That said, this long-term timeframe makes evaluation difficult. Of the evaluations of CVE programs that do exist, CVE scholars have only evaluated the short-term implications of programs with long-term objectives, due to resource constrains. For instance, Johns et al.’s evaluation of a CVE sports program in Australia used a survey method to measure the change in participants’ attitudes towards different cultures. The survey was distributed directly after the participants completed the program, thus, the long-term impact of this program on these individuals is unknown.[10]

Data availability

Data availability is another problem impacting the evaluation of CVE programs. CVE programs are often conducted by governments, and some governments fail to make the data available to researchers. Simply put, limited data on CVE programs makes evaluations of these programs difficult and in some cases impossible. [11]

Cross-case comparison

Developing an effective counterterrorism strategy is similar to putting together a complex puzzle. There are many different pieces involved and all these pieces need to fit together to create a product. Due to the complexity of terrorism and the process of radicalization, CVE is an extremely broad field and incorporates a variety of programs. This complexity coupled with the involvement of multiple actors (including the government and non-governmental organizations or individuals) often results in CVE programs that address different parts of the puzzle. Some programs may focus on improving the economic situation of individuals in order to reduce the threat of terrorism amongst vulnerable individuals, while others may attempt to increase the religious knowledge of vulnerable individuals. The variety of programs makes the cross-case comparison of CVE programs difficult, because these programs are approaching the objective of reducing terrorism in different ways. This is problematic from an evaluation standpoint because evaluations should ideally be comparable.[12]

The challenges listed above are only a glimpse of the many challenges of evaluating CVE initiatives. Given these challenges, this Research Note outlines the steps taken by one country in its attempts to overcome some of these challenges. In the next few sections, after I briefly outline the nature of the interviews conducted, I provide an overview of the United Kingdom’s CVE strategy and the subsequent changes that were made to that strategy, many of which were made for evaluation purposes.

Interview Protocols and Sample Description (n=20)

This Research Note is based on interviews with individuals in the United Kingdom who either implement the UK’s CVE strategy or experience the ramifications of the implementation process. Interviewees were chosen both strategically and through the snowball sampling method. Interviews were conducted with individuals from Muslim civic associations, the UK Home Office, non-governmental organizations, commissioned organizations that conducted interventions for the UK government, think-tanks, and academic scholars.

The voluntary interviews took place in January 2016 in the Greater London Area and are part of a larger dissertation project that examines the implementation of CVE initiatives within the US and UK. Interviewees were given the choice as to whether or not they wanted to remain anonymous. Generally speaking, UK government employee interviews were conducted anonymously to protect the identities of those individuals. Semi-structured interviews were conducted by the author to allow the author to ask follow-up questions and questions that arose from the conversation with the respondent.

In this Research Note, only some statements from the 20 interviews were chosen to discuss. A more systematic analysis of the interviews will be completed in the author’s dissertation.

Overview of Prevent

The United Kingdom’s counterterrorism strategy, known as CONTEST, dates back to 2003, although it was not until the Blair government when the strategy was first published in 2006.[13] CONTEST encompasses four components: Pursue, Prevent, Protect, and Prepare.[14] Pursue aims to stop terrorist attacks. Protect involves actions that strengthen the UK’s defenses to help protect against a terrorist attack, while Prepare focuses on mitigating the impact of an attack if one occurs. Finally, Prevent attempts to stop individuals from either becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism. [15]

Since 2003, the strategy has undergone several iterations first started by the Brown Government in 2009,[16] followed by the Coalitional government in 2011 [17] and the most recent changes in regards to its implementation in 2015.[18] Although each iteration of CONTEST included these four components, much has changed over time, especially in regards to Prevent, the focus of this Research Note. According to the 2011 strategy, Prevent “responds to the ideological challenge we face from terrorism and aspects of extremism, and the threat we face from those who promote these views; provides practical help to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism and ensure they are given appropriate advice and support; works with a wide range of sectors (including education, criminal justice, faith, charities, online and health) where there are risks of radicalisation that we need to deal with.”[19]

The CONTEST strategy document addresses all forms of terrorism, ranging from radical Islamic terrorist groups to far-right extremists group. Prevent encompasses a wide range of measures to prevent individuals from engaging in terrorism. These measures, often called Prevent projects, vary from supporting community based projects to the Channel program, which is a multiagency intervention program that offers potential at-risk individuals a tailored support system within the pre-criminal space.[20]

Prevent projects are implemented at the level of local authorities within the UK.[21] Local authority areas are categorized into priority, supported, and non-priority areas. Prior to the changes in 2011, areas identified to receive funding for Prevent projects—named priority areas—were identified based on population statistics of Muslims living within the UK. However, this changed after 2011 when priority areas were instead identified based on the threat of extremism faced within that local authority. A process largely shrouded in mystery, intelligence services use some type of measures to evaluate the threat level within an area. After such evaluation, priority areas are determined. Typically, a priority area will implement 3-5 projects per year with variation across authorities.[22] In 2014, there were 30 Prevent “priority” areas and an additional 14 “supported areas.”[23] Funding is disseminated directly from the Office of Security and Counterterrorism (OSCT) within the Home Office on a yearly basis. Although both priority and supported areas are eligible to receive funding for Prevent projects, the priority area is also assigned a Prevent coordinator.[24]

Generally speaking, there are two types of Prevent coordinators. The first type is an individual from the Home Office who assists the local authority in formulating an action plan for an area and implementing that plan according to the risks within the area. As one individual explained, “I am the conduit between the Home Office and the local authority with regard to Prevent. I am tasked with understanding the risk in the local area, so I have a full understanding of that risk. I bring together relevant partners, communicate risk to them, and develop a plan to mitigate that risk.”[25] The second type is an individual that assists higher education institutions. These individuals are “responsible for engaging with universities and further education providers on Prevent and helping them implement policies as well as doing direct training of staff and doing engagement work with students.”[26]

Evaluating Prevent and the Subsequent Changes

In this section, I overview the previous efforts made by the UK government to evaluate Prevent projects and the changes to the Prevent strategy which were made as a response to these evaluations.

Government Evaluations

The first formal government evaluation of the CONTEST strategy came in 2010, but this was not the first evaluation of Prevent. Prior to the formal government evaluation, the M&E of Prevent began in 2007 when the central government began using a framework named the Local Area Agreement (LAA) and National Indicator Set to monitor and evaluate how government funds were being used within local authorities. The LAA is essentially an action plan that dictates what the government expects its fund recipient to accomplish. The 2008 version of the National Indicator Set identifies 188 items, but the one that relates most directly to this discussion is NI35, “building resilience to violent extremism.”[27] The set of indicators act as target goals for local authorities and when goals are met, local authorities receive additional funding outside the constraints of LAAs. Regarding Prevent, , local authorities were assessed based on four indicators: community engagement, knowledge and understanding of violent extremism; development of a Prevent action plan; and effective oversight, implementation and evaluation of the action plan.[28]

Besides using the NI35 for M&E purposes, the central government conducted a formal evaluation of the entire CONTEST strategy in 2010. Several recommendations were made based on concerns that were raised within the evaluation. The evaluators raised concerns that Prevent initiatives were stigmatizing the Muslim community and leading to the misperceptions that Prevent, particularly the Channel program, was being used for intelligence gathering purposes. A series of recommendations were made by the evaluation team, who noted that the association of community cohesion work with a counter-terrorism Prevent agenda undermined the positive work being done in regards to cohesion and capacity building work.[29] The result of the evaluation was a reconfiguration and reconceptualization of Prevent under the new government.

2011 Changes to the Prevent Strategy

After the evaluation and the change in government, several alterations were made to the strategy, starting with the overall focus of the strategy itself. With the revised 2011 Prevent strategy, the government began to target both non-violent and violent forms of extremism.[30] This controversial move, which will be discussed later, expanded the scope of Prevent and—as many have argued—increased opposition against the strategy.

Another major change that took place within the 2011 strategy was the relationship between Prevent and community cohesion initiatives. In previous versions of Prevent, funding was distributed to community cohesion initiatives as part of a component of Prevent. However, since evaluators raised concerns about the association of community cohesion work with the Prevent agenda, the two areas were separated. [31] This issue has apparently come full circle with more recent discussion of a possible reunification of the two.[32] However, as some will argue, although community cohesion initiatives formerly fell under the jurisdiction of the Department of Communication and Local Government (DCLG), the two spheres in practice were difficult to separate.[33]

Although the strategy changes implemented in 2011 were not made directly for evaluation purposes, they paved the way for further changes regarding the implementation of Prevent in 2015, which were made largely for evaluation purposes.

The 2015 Counterterrorism and Security Act


Prevent underwent another major change more recently in 2015 with the passage of the Counterterrorism and Security Act. The Act was first passed on 12 February 2015 and was put into effect on 1 July 2015. The Act places a statutory responsibility on all local authorities in England and Wales. Besides local authorities, the Act also applies to a variety of public institutions including educational institutions, childcare and health services, prisons and probation and the police.[34]

Prior to the passage of this Act, there was no requirement for local authorities to assess the risk of radicalization within their area and to take appropriate action. Authorities are now required to practice “due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism.”[35] In accordance with the Act, the responsibilities of these authorities are encompassed in three broad areas: leadership, working in partnership, and capabilities. Authorities are required to: either establish or use a preexisting local multi-agency group to coordinate Prevent activity; assess the risk of individuals being drawn into terrorism; work with Prevent coordinators and other authorities as part of the risk assessment procedures; mainstream Prevent into the policies and procedures of the authority; train staff to understand Prevent and recognize potential vulnerabilities; and, if a risk is determined, then develop a Prevent action plan.[36] The local authority is also required to construct and chair a joint local authority/police panel, commonly referred to as the Channel program, to assess vulnerable individuals and provide an individualized plan for those individuals who voluntarily participate in the program.

Additional Implementation Changes

Although the strategy itself has not changed in terms of the content of the 2011 strategy, besides the 2015 Act itself, around April of that year the Home Office made additional changes to the implementation and evaluation of Prevent. First, changes were made regarding the funding of Prevent projects. British authorities from the Home Office noted the Prevent projects that were found to be the most successful in the past 2 or 3 years and created a catalogue. The local authorities can now bid for funding to do one of these projects that best fits the needs of the area.[37] Prior to this, local authorities developed their own projects and then bid for funding. Based on interviews with British Home Office employees, it does still seem that in some rare cases there is an opportunity for adjustments to be made from the pre-set list in order to cater to the needs of the local community. In addition, there are some indications that other funding directly to projects rather than through the local authority still occurs.

The M&E of Prevent has also changed. The Home Office commissioned the Behavioral Insights Team (BIT) to conduct evaluations based on empirical research drawn from the behavioral sciences literature. The idea is to use statistics to challenge and change policy and bring in a degree of conformity in terms of how policy is analyzed.[38] Besides the evaluations completed by BIT, the Home Office also monitors and assesses Prevent delivery to ensure compliance with the new statutory duties.

Given the changes listed above, common questions that arise include why these changes were made and what the consequences of these changes are for society writ large. The next sections will address these questions.

Why These Changes?

Increasing Standardization

The 2015 Act and accompanying changes in regards to implementation and M&E may be attributed to various reasons, the first being the push towards standardization. In the past 5 years, and arguably more, the UK has undergone a period of austerity. Budget cuts across the board have made it difficult for local authorities to engage in Prevent related projects, especially for non-priority areas that do not receive Prevent funding. As stated by one Home Office employee, “in some ways I can understand why they have done it, because they have managed to protect this area of focus from being cut with the intense budget cuts in local authorities in the past 5 years, and it brings a degree of conformity to Prevent.”[39]

Subsequently, these changes seem to be in place to create standardization across priority and non-priority areas. The statutory duty forces authorities, especially non-priority local authorities to at least assess risk, something that may not have happened prior. In fact, others agree that these new measures were more aimed for non-priority areas, since as one Home Office employee stated “…much of the new duty is not too significant because it is things priority areas have been doing for a while, but for non-priority areas this is new.”[40] From an M&E perspective, the standardization of Prevent increases the possibility for cross-case comparison across local authority areas, whereas previously this was limited.[41]

Increasing the Centralization of Prevent

Moreover, these measures bring local authority efforts further under the monitoring of the Home Office. There has been a clear shift towards increased centralization in the past few years, and for M&E purposes this shift makes sense. In particular in reference to the catalogue of programs now available for authorities to choose a project from, this move also increases the ability for cross-comparison analysis of the effectiveness of these efforts. Since authorities will now be theoretically implementing similar projects, evaluations of effectiveness can be compared across authorities. Additionally, these changes will potentially lead to more data on the various initiatives that are implemented, since the Home Office will monitor the efforts of local authorities and other agencies to ensure compliance with the statutory duties. In a field struggling to produce evaluations of these types of programs partly due to cross-case comparison challenges and data limitations, only time will tell whether the benefits for M&E outweigh the costs associated with implementing the Prevent strategy in this way.

Increasing Compliance with Prevent

Besides the benefits for M&E, the changes also assist Prevent coordinators in conducting their jobs. As one Home Office employee stated, “. . . it [the Act] gives Prevent coordinators backup, whereas previously it has been difficult to get Prevent mainstreamed into Council policies and procedures.”[42] With these statutory duties in place, now institutions, statutory agencies, and local authorities no longer have a choice to not comply with Prevent. Due to the use of the internet and other methods used for recruitment, the threat of terrorism is far-reaching. Increased measures to reduce the threat of terrorism across the UK may assist authorities with countering this boundless threat.

Unintended Consequences


Despite the reasons listed above, the changes have given rise to continuing concerns regarding Prevent. A reoccurring theme amongst interviewees was in regards to the expansion of the term extremism to include both non-violent and violent extremism and the increased implementation of Prevent. CVE practitioners, scholars, non-governmental organizations, and Muslim Associations all expressed concern for the potential marginalization of different interpretations of Islam. As stated by the President of the Muslim Association of Britain, Dr. Omer El-Hamdoon, “we are moving into a realm where people are policing ideas and if you practice certain things then you may be labeled as an extremist… It has made Muslims more cautious about how people are viewing them and it also marginalizes them.”[43] The notion of marginalization is not new to the world of CVE. Other scholars have presented the argument that Muslim communities are being treated as suspect communities.[44] This is not to say that Prevent only targets the Muslim community,[45] although the projects that target far-right extremism in the UK are less discussed.

Lack of Community Buy-in

One of the consequences of standardization and centralization is that it often comes at the expense of community buy-in. Prior to the changes in the implementation of Prevent, community organizations had more ability to develop projects within their communities that best fit the needs of their communities. Interviewees recognized the importance of community support; as one Home Office employee stated, “Prevent needs to have community buy-in, but this is difficult to accomplish.”[46] The difficulty in engaging with communities on projects that are standardized at the expense of community buy-in is echoed by another employee who stated, “generally speaking they have all worked out [Prevent projects] in some way, but have we always received the number of attendees that we have wanted and have the attendees been the ones that probably would most benefit? Probably not, but that’s not to say that the people who went didn’t benefit.”[47]

Even though the move towards standardization is understandable from an M&E perspective, others suggest it reflects the Home Office’s lack of trust of the communities to take action. Beyond the previous ability for communities to have more say in what projects were implemented within their communities, prior to 2011 Prevent efforts had benefits for communities beyond the security implications. With the previous incorporation of community cohesion initiatives with Prevent work, communities received Prevent funding that promoted activities such as community dialogue and outreach efforts. However, in this new system, there is a lack of Prevent funding for these projects and an overall lack of mechanisms in place for communities to share their inputs and insights. Increased opportunities for community involvement may benefit the strategy, since as one Home Office employee stated, “at the moment Prevent is a hard sell amongst certain communities, especially those most affected. As a result, there is not a whole lot of community engagement.”[48]

Negative Public Perception of Prevent

The perceived marginalization and the centralized nature of Prevent have given rise to indications that community members negatively perceive these projects, which may have broader implications for their effectiveness. In discussing the implications of these changes on the Channel program, one Home Office employee stated, “because the national rhetoric around this type of work has changed so dramatically in the last 2 years, it has created a really bad sentiment amongst communities and some communities have expressed a reluctance to make referrals.”[49]. Even though Prevent projects exist and referrals to Channel are made, for Prevent to be effective it must reach the individuals that are most at risk of engaging in terrorism. Otherwise, Prevent may be doing more harm than good.

Over Reporting

Although some communities have been reluctant to make referrals, the new statutory duties have also increased concerns of over-reporting issues and undertraining, especially in schools. One teacher expressed concerns that the new duties were creating fear amongst teachers.[50] This sentiment is echoed by Program Associate Charlotte Kathe at the Institute of Strategic Dialogue, who noted that teachers “are concerned… especially because of the theological aspects of it [radicalization], they feel overwhelmed… and now we are at the stage of over-reporting because they just don’t understand this.”[51] Between June and August 2015 alone, about 8 people per day were referred to the Channel program. Of those referrals, only about a fifth of the individuals were recommended to attend de-radicalization sessions.[52] These statistics are more than likely the result of the new requirement for all schools and statutory agencies to have a system in place and to be cognizant of potential signs of vulnerability. The broader implications of this for schools in particular include not only emerging concerns from teachers, but it could also potentially lead to the further alienation of individuals and in this case, the youth. Moreover, the increased referrals are surely placing a strain on already stretched resources within local authorities to carry out evaluations of the referrals.

Academic and Policy Implications

The changes that first took place in 2011, and the new 2015 statutory duties put in place by the Counterterrorism and Security Act, substantially changed the implementation of Prevent within the United Kingdom. Increased centralization and standardization enables a more systematic review of Prevent projects, but several unintended consequences of these changes have emerged.

Although the UK offers a possible solution to the evaluation difficulties that have arisen within the CVE field—especially in reference to cross-case comparisons—scholars developing evaluation frameworks and metrics should be cognizant of the potential pitfalls that follow increased standardization. Although projects that are similar in content are easier to compare in cross-case comparisons, a set list of projects may not address all the needs of the local communities. This highlights the need to take into consideration the ethical and moral implications of decisions that can be justified from an evaluation standpoint. Going forward, additional research is needed surrounding both the potential negative and beneficial consequences of the recent changes in the UK.

In terms of policy implications, other countries are struggling to develop CVE strategies, and the UK’s experience has a great deal to offer others. However, in order to do so, increased transparency surrounding Prevent is needed in order to both evaluate Prevent and learn from these efforts. Consequently, future CVE strategies would strongly benefit from increased transparency regarding funding, actors involved, projects available in local communities, and evaluations on those projects. Not only will scholars and practitioners learn from transparent and accessible CVE evaluations and determine best practices, but increased transparency may help ease some of the concerns held by communities and in the case of the UK, help un-taint the Prevent brand. Increased transparency will act as a dual mechanism to both hold CVE practitioners accountable and mitigate the misperceptions surrounding these initiatives. Various projects exist and some do have the ability to offer viable alternatives to other counterterrorism efforts, but the negative perceptions of Prevent may have larger implications for these projects’ ability to reach the individuals that need the support the most.

Despite the benefits for M&E, policymakers should also be cognizant of the unintended consequences of the push towards standardization. As stated by one Home Office employee, “Prevent done badly is worse than Prevent not done at all.”[53] The standardization of Prevent across local authorities misses the local contextualized nature of violent extremism. Not every local authority faces the same threat; some areas may experience direct recruiting to join groups such as ISIS, while others face a threat from far-right extremists, which means that a set project may not always meet the needs of a local authority. Rather, tailored individualized projects may offer a viable solution to this problem.

Finally, CVE is also in need of a reconceptualization. These initiatives should not be sectioned off as solely a security issue; rather CVE needs to be treated more as a safeguarding issue similar to other issues such as domestic abuse and mental health issues. In doing so, a clear distinction can be made from the objectives of initiatives such as Prevent and intelligence-driven counterterrorism efforts. Many CVE projects, namely prevention projects, are put into place to operate solely within the pre-criminal space, but creating this securitization environment surrounding the CVE brand develops misperceptions that CVE is an intelligence-driven initiative. In any policy area, branding is critical, and CVE initiatives are no different.

In the hunt for effective CVE initiatives, evaluations of these strategies are critical. However, as displayed in the case of the UK, decisions that can be justified from a M&E perspective may not be the most optimal means to implement CVE strategies.

About the Author: Caitlin Mastroe is a PhD candidate in Government at Cornell University.


This research was supported by the Office of University Programs Science and Technology Directorate of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security through the Center for the Study of Terrorism and Behavior (CSTAB – Center Lead) Grant made to the START Consortium (Grant # 2012-ST-61-CS0001). The views and conclusions contained in this document are those of the authors and should not be interpreted as necessarily representing the official policies, either expressed or implied, of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, or START. The research is also supported by Cornell University Center for European Studies, through the Michele Sicca Pre-Dissertation Research Grant.


[1] Vidino, L. (2015, December 1). ISIS in America: From Retweets to Raqqa. Lecture presented at Panel Discussion on ISIS in America: From Retweets to Raqqa at George Washington School of Media and Public Affairs, Washington, D.C.

[2] Romaniuk, P. (2015). “Does CVE Work? Lessons Learned from the Global Effort to Counter Violent Extremism.” Global Center on Cooperative Security.

[3] For example, please see Schmid, A. P. (2013). Radicalisation, De-Radicalisation, Counter-Radicalisation: A Conceptual Discussion and Literature Review. ICCT Research Paper.

[4] Horgan, J., & Braddock, K. (2010). Rehabilitating the Terrorists?: Challenges in Assessing the Effectiveness of De-radicalization Programs. Terrorism and Political Violence, 22(2), 267–291.

[5] For additional frameworks that have been proposed please see: Ellis, A., Cleary, A., Innes, M., & Zeuthen, M. (2011). Monitoring and Evaluation Tools for Counterterrorism Program Effectiveness. Policy Brief for the Center on Global Counterterrorism Cooperation.

[6] Romaniuk, P., & Fink, N. C. (2012). From Input to Impact: Evaluating Terrorism Prevention Programs. Center on Global Counterterrorism Cooperation.

[7] For a discussion on measuring outcome variables, see Williams, M., & Kleinman. S. (2014) A utilization-focused guide for conducting terrorism risk reduction program evaluations, Behavioral Sciences of Terrorism and Political Aggression, 6:2, 102-146

[8] Mastroe, C., & Szmania, S. “Surveying CVE Metrics in Prevention, Disengagement and Deradicalization Programs,” Report to the Office of University Programs, Science and Technology Directorate, Department of Homeland Security. College Park, MD: START, 2016.

[9] Remarks by President Obama at the Leaders’ Summit on Countering ISIL and Violent Extremism (September 29, 2015) United Nations Headquarters, New York, New York. URL: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/09/29/remarks-president-obama-leaders-summit-countering-isil-and-violent

[10] Johns, A., Grossman, M., & McDonald, K. (2014). “More Than a Game”: The Impact of Sport-Based Youth Mentoring Schemes on Developing Resilience toward Violent Extremism. Social Inclusion, 2(2), 57–70

[11] Horgan, J., & Braddock, K. (2010). Rehabilitating the Terrorists?: Challenges in Assessing the Effectiveness of De-radicalization Programs. Terrorism and Political Violence, 22(2), 267–291

[12] Horgan, J., & Braddock, K. (2010). Rehabilitating the Terrorists?: Challenges in Assessing the Effectiveness of De-radicalization Programs. Terrorism and Political Violence, 22(2), 267–291

[13] Home Office (2006) Countering International Terrorism: The United Kingdom’s Strategy. Cm 6888, July. London: TSO.

[14] Home Office (2011b) CONTEST: The United Kingdom’s Strategy for Countering Terrorism. Cm 8123, July. London: TSO.

[15] Home Office (2011b) CONTEST: The United Kingdom’s Strategy for Countering Terrorism. Cm 8123, July. London: TSO.

[16] Home Office (2009) Pursue Prevent Protect Prepare: The United Kingdom’s Strategy for

Countering International Terrorism. Cm 7547, March. London: TSO.

[17] Home Office (2011a) Prevent Strategy. Cm 8092, June. London: TSO.

[18] Counterterrorism and Security Act 2015. United Kingdom Parliament, c.6, February. London: TSO.

[19] As cited in the Home Office (2015) 2010 to 2015 government policy: counter-terrorism. London: TSO.

[20] United Kingdom Government (2015). Channel Duty Guidance: Protecting vulnerable people from being drawn into terrorism, statutory guidance for Channel panel members and partners of local panels. April. London: TSO.

[21] A local authority refers to: “(a) a county council in England; (b) a district council in England, other than a council for a district in a county for which there is a county council; (c) a London Borough Council; (d) the Common Council of the City of London in its capacity as a local authority; (e) the Council of the Isles of Scilly; (f) a county council or county borough council in Wales” Counterterrorism and Security Act 2015. United Kingdom Parliament, c.6, schedule 6, February. London: TSO: p. 27

[22] Anonymous Personal Interview with a Home Office employee, January 2016

[23] The Guardian obtained the names of the priority areas and supported areas in 2015 under the Freedom of Information Act. The priority areas in the Greater London area include: Brent, Camden, Ealing, Enfield, Greenwich, Hackney, Hammersmith and Fulham, Haringey, Islington, Kensington and Chelsea, Lambeth, Lewisham, Luton, Newham, Redbridge, Tower Hamlets, Waltham Forest, Wandsworth, and Westminister. The supported areas in the Greater London area include: Barking and Dagenham, Hounslow, Slough, and Southwark. Priority areas outside the Greater London area include: Birmingham, Blackburn with Darwen, Bradford, Cardiff, Derby, High Wycombe, Leeds, Leister, Liverpool, Mancester, and Stoke-on-Trent. Finally, supported areas outside the Greater London area include: Brighton and Hove, Burnley, Calderdale, Coventry, Crawley, Dudley, Kirklees, Portsmouth, Sandwell and Walsall. Retrieved from: http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/feb/13/prevent-counter-terrorism-support

[24] Home Office (2014). Prevent Duty Factsheet: Counterterrorism and Security Bill. Retrieved from:https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/382410/CTS_Bill_-_Factsheet_7_-_Prevent.pdf

[25] Anonymous Personal Interview with a Prevent Coordinator, January 2016

[26] Anonymous Personal Interview with a Prevent Coordinator, January 2016

[27] National Indicators for Local Authorities and Local Authority Partnerships: Handbook of Definitions. HM Government, Department of Communities and Local Government (May 2008). Online at: http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20120919132719/www.communities.gov.uk/documents/localgovernment/pdf/735112.pdf

[28] Kundnani, A. (2009). Spooked! How not to prevent violent extremism. Institute of Race Relations.

[29] House of Commons (2010) Preventing Violent Extremism: Sixth Report of Session 2009–10.

Communities and Local Government Committee. London: House of Commons.

[30] O’Toole, T.; Meer, N.; Nilsson DeHanas, D.; Jones.,; Stephen.’ Modood, T. (2015). Governing through Prevent? Regulation and Contested Practice in State-Muslim Engagement. Sociology: 1-18.

[31] House of Commons (2010) Preventing Violent Extremism: Sixth Report of Session 2009–10.

Communities and Local Government Committee. London: House of Commons.

[32] Anonymous Personal Interview with a British Home Office employee, January 2016

[33] O’Toole, T.; Meer, N.; Nilsson DeHanas, D.; Jones.,; Stephen.’ Modood, T. (2015). Governing through Prevent? Regulation and Contested Practice in State-Muslim Engagement. Sociology: 1-18.

[34] Counterterrorism and Security Act 2015. United Kingdom Parliament, c.6, schedule 6, February. London: TSO.

[35] According to the Prevent Guidance issued for England and Wales, the term “having due regard” means “that the authorities should place an appropriate amount of weight on the need to prevent people being drawn into terrorism when they consider all the other factors relevant to how they carry out their usual functions.” (p. 21). Home Office (2015). Revised Prevent Duty Guidance for England and Wales: Guidance for specified authorities in England and Wales on the duty in the Counterterrorism and Security Act 2015 to have due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism. London: TSO.

[36] Home Office (2015). Revised Prevent Duty Guidance for England and Wales: Guidance for specified authorities in England and Wales on the duty in the Counterterrorism and Security Act 2015 to have due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism. London: TSO.

[37] Anonymous Interview with a British Home Office Employee, January 2016. Please note, the exact month of the changes in regards to the implementation of Prevent could not be further validated beyond the interview due to a lack of publically available information.

[38] Anonymous Interview with a British Home Office Employee, January 2016.

[39] Anonymous Interview with a British Home Office Employee, January 2016.

[40] Anonymous Interview with a British Home Office Employee, January 2016.

[41] For a discussion of how the standardization of specifically outcome variables allows for cross-case comparisons, please see, Williams and Lindsey 2013 Williams, M. J., & Lindsey, S. C. (2013). A social psychological critique of the Saudi terrorism risk reduction initiative. Psychology, Crime & Law, 19(3), 1–17

[42] Anonymous Interview with a British Home Office Employee, January 2016.

[43]Personal Interview with Dr. Omer El-Hamdoon, January 2016.

[44]Please see: Combes, W. S. (2013). Assessing Two Countering Violent Extremism Programs: Saudi Arabia’s PRAC and the United Kingdom’s Prevent Strategy. Small Wars Journal; Kundnani, A (2009) Spooked: How Not to Prevent Violent Extremism. Report. London: Institute

of Race Relations; Pantazis, C., and Pemberton, S (2009) From the ‘old ‘to the ‘new’ suspect community: Examining the impacts of recent UK counter-terrorist legislation. British Journal of Criminology 49: 646–666.

[45] Anonymous Interview with a British Home Office Employee, January 2016.

[46] Anonymous Interview with a British Home Office Employee, January 2016.

[47] Vermeulen, F. (2014). Suspect Communities—Targeting Violent Extremism at the Local Level: Policies of Engagement in Amsterdam, Berlin, and London. Terrorism and Political Violence, 26(2), 286–306.

[48] Anonymous Interview with a British Home Office Employee, January 2016.

[49] Anonymous Interview with a British Home Office Employee, January 2016.

[50] Anonymous Personal Interview, January 2016.

[51] Personal Interview with Charlotte Kathe, January 2016.

[52] Sandford, D. (8 October 2015). “Deradicalization programme referrals on rise.” BBC. Retrieved from: http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-34469331

[53] Anonymous Interview with a British Home Office Employee, January 2016.

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Perspectives on Terrorism is  a journal of the Terrorism Research Initiative and the Center for Terrorism and Security Studies

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