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IMPACT EUROPE Report Summary

Project ID: 312235
Funded under: FP7-SECURITY
Country: Netherlands

Periodic Report Summary 2 - IMPACT EUROPE (Innovative Method and Procedure to Assess Counter-violent-radicalisation Techniques in Europe)

Project Context and Objectives:
Tackling terrorism and violent radicalisation have been top priorities for European Union (EU) Member States ever since the 9/11 attacks and the Madrid and London bombings in 2004 and 2005 respectively. While EU Member States were initially almost exclusively concerned with Islamist radicalisation, more recently, EU Member States’ perspective on the threat posed by radicalisation has come to focus again on the more traditional threats emanating from right- and left-wing extremists as well as nationalist-separatists.

Indeed, over the past decade, hundreds of millions of euros have been invested in counter-terrorism, CVR and CVE policies and interventions across Europe. Yet, practitioners within Member States often still find it challenging to measure the effectiveness of their counter terrorism, CVR and CVE work and to learn from it. Accordingly, a key priority of the EU’s counter terrorism strategy is to: "look systematically at Member States' experiences, not only internally but also in third countries, at lessons learned, good practices, unsuccessful practices, and analyse why certain approaches have succeeded or not, in order to develop expertise on what makes for successful interventions."

Similarly, the 2015 European Parliament resolution on the prevention of radicalisation and recruitment of European citizens by terrorist organisations calls on the Commission: "(...) to establish as a priority an action plan to implement and evaluate the EU strategy for combating radicalisation and recruitment to terrorism, on the basis of the exchange of best practice and the pooling of skills within the European Union, the evaluation of measures undertaken in the Member States and cooperation with third countries and international organisations, on a basis of full respect for international human rights conventions and through a multistakeholder and multisectoral participative and consultative approach."

In an attempt to contribute to the ongoing efforts within Europe to establish ‘what works’ in preventing and tackling violent radicalisation and extremism, IMPACT Europe aims to help evaluators, policy-makers, frontline workers and academics working in these fields to answer three simple questions, namely:
- How effective are various programmes at tackling violent radicalisation?
- What is best practice in tackling violent radicalisation?
- How does this inform our knowledge and understanding of violent radicalisation?

Specifically, IMPACT Europe will develop an evaluation toolkit that will enable the evaluation of policies and interventions preventing and tackling violent radicalisation and extremism. The toolkit will also help professionals in the public and voluntary sectors to integrate promising practice into the design and implementation of future programmes. The evaluation toolkit will be composed of four elements:
- A standardised methodology, to provide professionals with a tool to conduct robust evaluations
- An evaluation results database, to allow professionals to analyse these results over time, identify best practice and develop a more informed understanding of violent radicalisation
- A training course (including a train-the-trainer component), to build professionals’ capacity to design, carry out and learn from appropriate evaluations;
- A training manual, to provide easy reference for professionals applying the toolkit

Project Results:
The consortium completed the development of a fully functioning prototype of the evaluation toolkit (“the Toolkit”). The Toolkit is currently structured as an online knowledge management tool supporting CVR, CVE practitioners in designing and implementing better interventions and evaluations. The Toolkit adds value to existing practice in several ways. Notably, it provides a single entry point to comprehensive information about radicalisation factors, CVR, CVE interventions and evaluations. The purpose of the Toolkit is to help end users design and conduct evaluations of CVR, CVE interventions. These aims are reflected in the high level structure of the Toolkit, which comprises a homepage, an Evaluation section, an Interventions section, and a Lessons Learned sections.

To facilitate end users engagement with the Toolkit, the consortium developed a training manual and training course. These instruments, which include a train-the-trainer component, provide end users and practitioners with an overview of the Toolkit and its functionalities and explain how to make best use of the Toolkit during day-to-day work. As of June 2016, five training sessions had been run by the consortium with approximately 100 end-users and practitioners from 86 organisations in 12 countries participating.

With a view to communicating and disseminating IMPACT Europe outputs, the consortium continues to implement its communications strategy. As a result of this, the consortium regularly engages with relevant stakeholder communities through outreach activities, publications, regular updates on the project website and the distribution of a quarterly newsletter. To facilitate these activities, a comprehensive communications list is continuously updated through the input of all consortium partners. Moreover, the dedicated IMPACT Europe Twitter account (@impacteurope) functions as a dynamic platform engaging with stakeholder communities on a daily basis. Several consortium members presented IMPACT Europe and its products at relevant events across Europe. The consortium has also started to engage in detailed planning for outreach events, which will see the participation of policy-makers and practitioners.

Potential Impact:
Being IMPACT Europe’s main output, the IMPACT Europe toolkit is primarily geared at helping professionals in the public and voluntary sectors design and implement an evaluation of their counter violent radicalisation programmes. To achieve this impact, the toolkit will:
- Be premised on the fact that end-users should be able to specify evaluation programmes according to the context in which they operate; and with the help of core principles and procedures.
- Provide guidance on carrying out an evaluation and enable professionals to capture the results of evaluations.
- Provide a platform to identify lessons from past programmes in order to inform future ones;
- Equip stakeholders with the information required to identify best practice in tackling violent radicalisation;
- Allow for greater accountability of public funds by promoting evaluation and the reporting of results.

Moreover, the impact of the toolkit and thus IMPACT Europe is based on three dissemination pillars.
- The evaluation toolkit will be as widely accessible as is safely possible, so that stakeholders can learn from evaluations and the lessons are based on a large and diverse evidence base. The software will be designed in such a way that the evaluation results database could link up to relevant databases in Europe in the future.
- All end-users will be capable of using the toolkit and thereby enhancing their capability to design, carry out and learn from evaluations of programmes tackling violent radicalisation. A train-the-trainer component was built into the toolkit training course. The training manual itself is freely available on the Toolkit website.
- All end-users will be incentivised to make use of the evaluation toolkit. One key aspect of our evaluation toolkit will be user-friendliness. We will also engage with end-users throughout the project to make sure that as many stakeholders as possible are aware of its availability and benefits.

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