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Extremism work lacks evaluation

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Projects to combat violent extremism are to receive another£14m despite a government report warning there has been too little evaluation of existing schemes.

The grant announcement came as communities secretary Hazel Blears told a conference that councils should place a bigger emphasis on the “sharper end” of preventing extremism, rather than merely concentrating on community cohesion.

She told the Prevent Extremism 08 conference: “That requires tough decisions, difficult debates, moving into uncomfortable and new territory and going beyond the usual people, usual ways of doing things and usual places of doing them.”

But a Department for Communities & Local Government study into current preventing violent extremism pathfinder projects raised concern about how well local projects are monitored by councils.

The document stated: “There appears to be limited reflective evaluation of the projects, in terms of a project’s strengths, weaknesses, good practice and areas for improvement, except in the larger evaluation studies.”

Existing projects are said to have reached over 44,000 people and include training courses for imams in English, arts and sporting projects and discussion groups addressing grievances.

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