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Innovative Method and Procedure to Assess Counter-violent-radicalisation Techniques in Europe

Periodic Report Summary 1 - IMPACT EUROPE (Innovative Method and Procedure to Assess Counter-violent-radicalisation Techniques in Europe)

Project Context and Objectives:
Funded by the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme, IMPACT Europe aims to fill the gap in knowledge and understanding of what works best in tackling violent radicalisation and to help practitioners engaged in counter radicalisation interventions to improve the impact of their activities. Towards this end, IMPACT Europe will develop a toolkit to help professionals in the public and voluntary sectors design and implement an evaluation of their counter violent radicalisation programmes and integrate what works best in their future programmes.

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 policies and interventions across Europe, and yet practitioners within Member States often still find it challenging to measure the effectiveness of their counter terrorism 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.

In an attempt to contribute to the ongoing efforts within Europe to establish ‘what works’ in tackling violent radicalisation, IMPACT Europe aims to help evaluators, policy-makers, frontline workers and academics working in the field of violent radicalisation 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 tackling violent radicalisation. The toolkit will also help professionals in the public and voluntary sectors to integrate best 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 has completed its review of the state-of-the-art assessment of factors leading to radicalisation, programmes tackling violent radicalisation, and evaluations of these programmes. Towards this end, three typologies to assess and investigate relevant radicalisation, intervention and evaluation factors have been developed. In addition, for each of these typologies gaps and emphases in current practice have been identified, allowing the consortium to determine what seems promising for future practice. The knowledge on the state-of-the-art that has been gained has been integrated into a database that can be used as input for the toolkit. Thus, the database specifies the relations between different factors and visualises them as part of an interactive network representation.
In order to fully exploit the state-of-the-art database and to develop the evaluation toolkit that will enable practitioners to make use of structured information about best practice, a high-level architecture for a standardised methodology has been designed. At the same time, the consortium has engaged in developing a more detailed structure and content of the toolkit. Moreover, the consortium has launched efforts to create a memo on the assessment strategy for the evaluation toolkit and a prototype of the evaluation toolkit.
With a view to communicating and disseminating IMPACT Europe outputs, the consortium developed a detailed communications strategy and a communications list that enables the consortium to engage with the relevant stakeholder communities. The consortium has also released the public IMPACT Europe webpage (also see below) and begun to circulate a quarterly newsletter. Moreover, dedicated IMPACT Europe Twitter and Linkedin accounts have been launched. Several consortium members presented IMPACT Europe and the results of the analysis of the state of the art in evaluating counter violent radicalisation interventions at relevant events across Europe and beyond, and 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.
- 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 will be built into the toolkit training course. The training manual itself will be freely available on the internet.
- 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.

List of Websites: