To ask Her Majesty's Government what legislation authorises local authorities to map locations and residential areas containing Muslims, as provided in the Preventing Violent Extremism scheme National Indicator No 35; and what assessment they have made of the effect of such action on Muslims. [HL2911]
National Indicator 35 or NI35 “Building resilience to violent extremism” is one of the 188 indicators that make up the national indicator set. All district and unitary local authorities in England are required to report against NI35 and some have agreed it as a priority indicator in their local area agreement. The principles of the national indicator set are set out in more detail in the Local Government White Paper Strong and Prosperous Communities.
The Communities Secretary has made clear that work on “Prevent” should be done in partnership with Muslim communities. Local authorities can do this only by knowing who their communities are. The measure around understanding and engagement of Muslim communities in NI35 is consistent with the statutory duties placed on local authorities to involve their communities in local decisions.
A new duty to involve came into force on 1 April 2009 as part of the Local Government Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 and includes an additional requirement on local authorities to ensure that people have greater opportunities to have their say. Statutory guidance, Creating Stronger and Prosperous Communities which supports the Act, was issued to local authorities in July 2008.
A copy of this guidance is available on the CLG website at http://www.communities.gov.uk/publications /localgovernment/strongsafeprosperous.
It is for local authorities themselves to make assessments about the impact of their work on local communities. We would expect them to listen to any concerns raised by their communities about any aspects of their work.