The following statement is in response to a press release issued today by Shamima Begum’s family lawyer.
A spokesperson for Tower Hamlets Council said:
“We find the accusations by the family lawyer to be unfair and skewed.
“Tower Hamlets has some of the strongest measures in place to help prevent radicalisation and has been an integral part of the Government’s counter terrorism Prevent programme since 2011. We have a Prevent education officer that works in every school in our borough.
“A multi-agency partnership gold group including the police and health services found that this case did not meet the threshold for a serious case review. Instead the council worked alongside the Government’s Prevent team and the Police’s SO15 counter terrorism team to conduct a wider review and provide in-depth support to the school, its staff, parents and pupils in order to investigate what had happened and stop others following in their footsteps.
"This work, which continues to this day, has been commended by the Government.
“During our most recent Ofsted inspection in 2017, Tower Hamlets Council’s work to help prevent radicalisation was praised as having ‘extensive knowledge’ and providing ‘creative and sensitive work to engage families through strategy discussions and child protection investigations to help protect children from violent extremism.’
"This view was reaffirmed by a Home Office Prevent Peer Review in 2018 which found Tower Hamlets Council to have an ‘extremely strong approach to Prevent’ with ‘strong leadership from the Mayor and Chief Executive.’"
- Shamima Begum was not known to social services prior to leaving for Syria as the police, the school, the NHS and other bodies had not raised any concerns about her welfare.
- The 2017 Ofsted report can be found here https://files.api.ofsted.gov.uk/v1/file/2753062. The council has targeted achieving a good rating this year and has received a number of positive visits from Ofsted to monitor improvement.
- The reference to radicalisation in the Ofsted report can be found on page 16.
Mayor John Biggs said:
“I understand how desperate Shamima Begum’s family are for her return, but the allegations made by the family lawyer are not a fair reflection of the situation.
“We have put in place robust measures to help prevent radicalisation in our schools, including intensive work with their school. These have been praised by Ofsted, the Government and the Home Office.
“In Tower Hamlets we pull together and tackle extremism in all its forms. Shamima Begum will have to account for her actions and we will see what happens next which is a matter for the government”.
Posted on Monday 18th February 2019