Prevent

Channel Awareness Training Product

WELCOME

You have accessed the detailed training about Channel.

Depending on your needs, this product will help you understand

It will share key learnings and best practice from those already involved around the country, and will allow you to work through example case studies so you can see the process in action.

OVERVIEW

Let’s start by making sure we all share the same understanding of what Channel is:

Channel provides support to individuals who are vulnerable to being drawn into any form of terrorism. The aim is to divert that person from their path of radicalisation before they become involved in any terrorist-related criminal activity.

The Channel process assesses referrals and, when necessary, brings together a number of partner agencies to discuss the concerns raised and organise a bespoke safeguarding support package for the vulnerable individual.

The Channel process is managed by the Local Authority, in conjunction with the police, on behalf of the Home Office.

YOUR QUALIFICATION

To make this training as concise as possible, it assumes a knowledge base in the user.

Please confirm that you have the necessary base-level knowledge to proceed with the training.

Have you completed?

Workshop to Raise Awareness of Prevent (WRAP) or Prevent Online Awareness Training?

If not, there is a risk that some of the following content could be unclear and therefore counter-productive to this safeguarding programme.

We would therefore strongly recommend that you complete the Home Office Prevent Awareness Online Training before you proceed with this course.

You will have the opportunity to process a certificate of course completion at the end.

YOUR NEED

Please select the profile which most closely resembles your circumstances for completing this training:

Following a referral I was involved in, I have been asked to attend my first Channel Panel

This package should address any questions or concerns you may have.

Every referral into Channel is unique, and so it’s important to note that you are in many ways the expert in this particular referral case. The rest of the panel will be acting on the information you can share with them. Please don’t feel nervous or apprehensive about working with them: they all want to help to the best of their abilities.

While it’s useful for all those on the panel to understand the process, some of the following content is aimed at those who logistically organise Channel panels or attend on a monthly basis.

 

I am the regional co-ordinator This package will provide an excellent introduction or refresher for ensuring your Channel programme runs to the best of its ability.

Local Authorities manage Channel at a local level and so it’s important you understand not only your roles and responsibilities but also those of others.

We would encourage you to therefore complete all sections of this training – opt in whenever you are given that choice.

 

I am attending my first Channel Panel as a nominated representative of a colleague

This package will give you a clear idea about how Channel works; what the panel meeting will look like; and what may be expected of you.

You or your colleague may have a rich picture of the vulnerable individual at risk from radicalisation, or be able to help find the appropriate support for such a person.

Channel Panel meetings are most productive when all those attending feel they can put forward their opinions and ideas, so use this training to strengthen your confidence in being a crucial part of this safeguarding process.

 

I do not attend Channel meetings but want to understand more about the programme

This package gives a detailed overview of how Channel is structured and organised, as well as its aims and objectives.

The amount of information you need is up to you; there will be sections where you can opt in for more information. Often this is logistical advice and legal guidance on the processes, aimed at those organising the Channel Panel meetings themselves.

I have been asked to join a Channel Panel as a regular member and want to understand the process and my responsibilities

This package will give you a clear idea about how Channel works; what the panel meeting will look like; and what may be expected of you.

Channel Panel meetings are most productive when all those attending feel they can put forward their opinions and ideas, so use this training to strengthen your confidence in being a crucial part of this safeguarding process. You will be a valued expert around that table, even if you’re unclear as to how or why that is right now!

The more you understand the process, the better you’ll be able to input into it on the day.

I am a new Channel Chair

This package will give you a clear idea about how Channel works; what the panel meeting will look like; and what may be expected of you.

Channel Panel meetings are most productive when all those attending feel they can put forward their opinions and ideas, so use this training to strengthen your confidence in being a crucial part of this safeguarding process. You will be a valued expert around that table, even if you’re unclear as to how or why that is right now!

The more you understand the process, the better you’ll be able to input into it on the day.

 

I am a standing panel member and want to understand the process and my responsibilities

This package will provide an excellent introduction or refresher for ensuring your local Channel programme runs to the best of its ability.

This package will give you a clear idea about how Channel works; what the panel meeting should look like; and what may be expected of you.

The more you understand the process, the better you’ll be able to input into it on the day.

However, some of the training offers detailed logistical advice and legal guidance on the processes, aimed at those organising the Channel Panel meetings themselves – you can decide as you work through whether to opt-in to this information.

THE PROCESS

To help you fully understand Channel, this training will follow the sequential procedures of that process.

This starts with a referral being shared with the Local Authority or Police for consideration.

Without exception, all referrals are immediately passed onto a local Prevent Police representative for “deconfliction,” to ensure that individuals who may be under investigation are not progressed through Channel.

ASSESSING A REFERRAL – DECONFLICTION

The initial Prevent Police assessment on average takes up to 5 days.

However, this is not a one-off check. At any point during the Channel process, the police may receive further information regarding an individual that can change the assessment of whether they are suitable for Channel, so they need to stay involved in each ongoing case.

Referrals fall into three broad categories:

  1. Clear evidence of vulnerability to radicalisation
  2. Limited initial information, but a concern that vulnerability to radicalisation may exist
  3. Those who are not appropriate for Channel

ASSESSING A REFERRAL

As described in the Prevent Referrals Online Training, some referrals may be dismissed from the Channel process.

For example, it may be found that an innocent comment has been taken out of context;

Or further context explains and justifies what was considered concerning behaviour;

Or that while a safeguarding issue is evident it is not related to radicalisation, and therefore should be passed onto another support mechanism.

Once the referral has been assessed as suitable for Channel, information sharing can begin, pending Information Sharing Request Forms.

INFORMATION SHARING

The sharing of information is key to making sure Channel partners have the knowledge they need to provide the best support to vulnerable individuals.

Below is a list of some of the types of data that may be shared about an individual vulnerable to radicalisation.

NAME Once a referral reaches Channel, the name of the individual must be included – it is the most expedient way to cross-check whether other concerns have been raised about the individual, avoiding any chance of speculation or confusion.

 

DATE OF BIRTH

 

It is important to know which partner agencies may be called on for support, and that could be dependent on whether the individual is a minor.

 

GENDER

 

Useful for deciding what resources can be brought to bear for support, and may also determine the gender of those asked to have interactions with the vulnerable individual.

 

ADDRESS

 

Geography can play a part in the parts of society an individual is regularly exposed to, and in some cases this could be impacting on the risk of a person’s radicalisation.

 

ETHNICITY

 

This can be especially relevant when the person at risk is transitioning across cultural groups; radicalisers can exploit a lack of knowledge or a sense of isolation and exclusion.

 

LIVING ARRANGEMENTS

 

There are a number of reasons why this is very useful information to have at this stage.

These may be practical – e.g. in cases when considering a minor – or in determining if the vulnerable individual is isolated or excluded; or in seeing if there is a proximity to known persons with extremist views, be that a family member or friend.

 

SUBSTANCE MISUSE

 

There are examples of where substance misuse is exploited by radicalisers to bring about a sense of guilt or debt in the vulnerable individual.

In some cases, substance misuse exacerbates mental health issues for the vulnerable individual, which can increase their risk of radicalisation.

EMOTIONAL HEALTH It is useful to know if the vulnerable individual is in a state of personal crisis – they may be asking for help, or it may make them susceptible to extremist messaging.

In many cases, a sense of injustice; loss; isolation; grief; anger; and low self-esteem can increase the risk of radicalisation.

 

MENTAL HEALTH The important consideration here is to think about what is “risk relevant,” so what information could explain either behaviours that cause concern in relation to radicalisation, or exacerbate any process or risk of radicalisation?

Knowing what these factors are can be vital in finding the right support, and also in sensibly discussing the situation with the vulnerable individual themselves. There are instances where the person understands the period of concern as an episode in their mental health, and does not carry those extremist views or feelings forward.

 

CULTURAL FACTORS

 

In a multicultural society, the groups or beliefs that people align themselves to can be extremely important to them and their identity.

Supposed expectations, roles and responsibilities can become aligned to this, and exploited in the radicalisation process.

Lack of knowledge; a feeling of exclusion, and senses of injustice can often be tied to perceived cultural circumstances.

 

FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS For many, family is the most important support network that would help challenge and counter the process of radicalisation, and so a breakdown or upheaval in the family dynamic may explain a risk concern.

However, in the minority of cases, it may also be the very network that supports it.

 

OFFENDING HISTORY

 

The important consideration here is to think about what is “risk relevant,” so what information could explain either behaviours that cause concern in relation to radicalisation, or exacerbate any process or risk of radicalisation?

Links to criminality are often seen in cases of radicalisation where individuals are more willing to break the law in order to support a group, cause or ideology.

A criminal history can create a sense of guilt for a radicaliser to exploit.

And in some cases, it may mean the vulnerable individual has been exposed to TACT offenders.

 

MORE ON INFORMATION SHARING

In all circumstances, the overriding principles for sharing information are

necessity, proportionality and legality, and should be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

Necessity:

Only the relevant information required should be shared, and only to those partners with whom it is necessary to share it to achieve the safeguarding objective.

Experience has shown, the more informed the panel are going into a Channel meeting, the more productive their discussion will be.

Proportionality:

In each case, the following questions should be considered when sharing information:

Legality:

Under the Counter Terrorism and Security Act, there is an obligation on all partners to share risk relevant information in more detail if required.

CONSENT

Channel is an open process, and most circumstances encourage the individual at risk to know their case is being considered for support, and give their consent to that.

Within the Channel process, consent should ideally be obtained at two points:

Firstly, Consent is needed to share information before partners contribute to a more detailed assessment of the risk (but, in line with other safeguarding initiatives, this will come after the de-confliction stage).

There are legal exemptions to use if consent is not sought at this stage, for example if knowing that organisations are discussing them, it might drive the person further away from eventually accepting help without understanding what that help might be.

Such exemptions are detailed in the Channel Duty Guidance document.

The second time consent will be sought is following the Channel Panel meeting, when a decision has been made to put forward appropriate interventions, which will require participation from the individual at risk.

THE VULNERABILITY ASSESSMENT FRAMEWORK

In sites with a Local Authority Channel Coordinator, they will be asked to complete a Vulnerability Assessment Framework (VAF), based on the information shared by Channel partners.

In other sites, Prevent police officers will complete the VAF.

It provides a means to assess the vulnerabilities a person may have to radicalisation, not the risk or threat that they may pose.

It is therefore an important document throughout the Channel process; initially, it informs the decision on whether a referral is suitable for Channel. And later, it’s the basis for making decisions on what type of support might be offered to an individual.

Watch a video that gives tips on how best to approach completing that assessment if:

You have the responsibility of completing the form or you have been asked to input the information for that form and want to know how it is used

VIDEO: THE VULNERABILITY ASSESSMENT FRAMEWORK

Please press play

THE PANEL

With the initial VAF complete, everything is in place to progress a case through to a Channel Panel meeting to discuss what the risk is, and what support would be appropriate.

Channel Panel meetings occur on a monthly basis, as a minimum, according to a 12-month rolling plan. On average, 8-12 partners attend.

Meetings can be cancelled if no cases are currently being considered or no referrals are received in that month.

However, when it is felt that support is needed before the next panel, an ad hoc Panel should be set up to take a decision and agree a support package. The case can be discussed further at the next full Panel.

ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES

In sites that have one, The Local Authority Channel Chair has a number of tasks and responsibilities before, during, and after a Channel Panel meeting.

The Panel Chair is responsible for running the meetings themselves.

And the Channel Supervisor reviews the decisions of the LACC at each stage in the process.

JOB ROLES:

The Local Authority Channel Co-ordinator (The LACC)

General:

Approved referrals:

Pre-Panel Meeting:

During Panel Meeting:

Post-Panel Meeting (Interventions):

The Channel Supervisor (available in sites with a LACC):

The supervisor’s role is to review the decisions of the LACC at each stage in the process.

This provides the LACC and their supervisor the assurance that the information supports the decision made.

The supervisor signs off the decision and this is recorded on CMIS.

Prevent Police

Note: Local Authority representatives will support in some of the below areas, dependent on local requirements/structure.

General:

Approved referrals:

Pre-Panel Meeting:

During Panel Meeting:

The Channel Panel Chair:

The Chair should be fully briefed by the LACC on every referral discussed at Panel so that they can assess all aspects of the case with rigour and agree the most effective support plan.

Responsibilities:

CHANNEL CHAIR VIDEO

Press play to watch an interview with Channel Chairs talking about their role

THE ATTENDING PANEL

If a referral is being progressed to a panel meeting, there are 8-10 key partners you would expect to see around the table.

Please note, different partners will be called upon to attend only if they are relevant to the individual(s) being discussed.

Scroll through the people below and click on anyone to understand why they might be of use in discussing the case of a vulnerable individual.

Local Authority Channel Chair

 

The Chair has oversight of all Channel cases in their area and for each helps to establish the appropriate support plan for identified individuals by using the expertise of the panel.

They also ensure individuals and/or organisations on the panel carry out their elements of the support plan so that an effective support package is delivered.

 

Local Authority Coordinator

(only in some local authorities)

Their attendance is compulsory as they run and own the Channel process in the Local Authority.

They will have completed the relevant Vulnerability Assessment models, and shared all relevant information about the case with those present prior to the meeting.

They will oversee any subsequent support packages along with the chair.

 

Prevent Police Prevent officers will always be present at the meetings. Police own any terrorism risk and so need to be involved at every stage of each case. The police bring a wealth of experience to understanding and mitigating the level of risk a person may face, or indeed the risk they may pose to themselves or the community.

Local Authority Prevent Lead The Prevent Lead will have relationships across the sector, and will have an understanding of successful interventions across the UK.

They can therefore bring some thought leadership on who is best suited to provide support, and some new ideas on what that might look like.

 

NHS Work aimed at assessing or addressing any physical or mental health issues can be key.

Sometimes a person’s radicalisation can be exacerbated by mental health conditions, or even be the cause of a deterioration in their mental health.

For example, in some instances of delusional behaviour, paranoia or obsession on a topic, managing medication could be a vital first step in addressing the person’s risk.

 

Social Workers Social workers are a group very likely to witness signs of a person’s radicalisation. There are instances where the vulnerable individual tests their new ideas with someone like their social worker – where there is a respectful relationship of trust.

Through the nature of their work, social workers are often party to a broader picture of the individual at risk than other partner agencies.

 

Schools, Further Education Colleges and Universities When children or adolescents are at risk from radicalisation, their educational institution nearly always plays a role in delivering support to that person.

This could range from helping to re-integrate or socialise the individual, to using relevant staff to challenge and discuss political, historical or religious beliefs.

 

Youth Offending Services This would be relevant where the individual at risk has been involved in non-terrorist related crime, where perhaps a risk of radicalisation has grown out of exposure to radicalisers or extremist material.

YOS sometimes have access to support packages not available to non-offenders, and may also be able to provide some valuable insight into that person for the rest of the panel.

 

Representatives of Children’s and Adult services

 

Representatives of children’s and adult services will be able to ensure that any support for the vulnerable individual is aligned to their other existing care packages.

The role may differ across different Local Authorities, but they would likely have good knowledge of local support initiatives and mechanisms, such as statutory support, support through charities, and other diversionary activities such as sports or youth clubs

Local Authority Safeguarding Managers (adult and/or children)

 

These managers sit within the Local Authority and coordinate safeguarding services.

The role may differ across different Local Authorities, but they would likely have good knowledge of local support initiatives and mechanisms, such as statutory support; charities; and other diversionary activities such as sports or youth clubs.

Local Authority Troubled Families Teams

 

Some Local Authorities have a Troubled Families team

to provide targeted intervention for families with multiple problems, including crime, anti-social behaviour, truancy, unemployment, mental health problems and domestic abuse.

It may be that the individual at risk of radicalisation is being cared for through this programme, or that the representative can incorporate some of their existing support packages to work here.

 

Home Office Immigration & Border Force

 

It may be that the vulnerable individual has been or is being processed by UK Immigration or the Border Force – perhaps they have a temporary visa, or have claimed asylum.

They are unlikely to be able to offer any input on support provision. Rather, these individuals may have helpful information about the individual to provide greater context, or may have made their referral to Channel themselves.

Housing Often a person’s environment can contribute to their vulnerability. For example, in the instance of someone being in proximity to a known radicaliser, it may be useful to physically move them so their time spent in the company of that individual is more limited.

 

Local Authority District Council Representative

 

In two-tier authorities, District as well as County representatives may attend.
Community Voluntary Sector Representative

 

Some Channel Panels use community or voluntary sector projects in their support packages, so it is often useful to have representatives from those organisations present to discuss the role they can play in offering and maintaining support.

It may also be the case that referrals come from these organisations into the Channel process, so their attendance may be in order to discuss the concern in more detail.

 

Prisons & Probation

 

In some cases, incarceration can provide a concentrated space for radicalisers to operate, where the vulnerabilities of some offenders can also be heightened.

And prisons themselves can provide excellent support – safe spaces, diversionary activities, and access to counsellors or religious figures.

As prisoners pass “through the gate”, their risk from radicalisation can increase. Probation officers can spot changes in behaviour that might cause them concern, but are also in a position to talk through and oversee support for that vulnerable individual.

 

Intervention Provider

 

Support for those exposed to extremist groups, causes or ideology can use discussions with those who are equipped to challenge the views the vulnerable individual is adopting.

Such intervention providers may therefore attend panel meetings in order to update the panel on their progress with existing cases.

 

THE PROCESS

To give you an idea of how a panel runs, we were given access to the Local Authority Team at Brighton & Hove.

Click PLAY to watch a short video that shows how that team works to ensure their meetings are as productive as possible.

SUPPORT CONSENT PROCESS

If the panel decides to offer support to an individual they will need their consent.

Watch a short video with colleagues giving advice as to how to best gain consent from individuals:

INTERVENTIONS

Broadly, support can be identified in three types:

Conceptual:

Theological and/or Ideological discussions

(click for more information)

 

Practical:

Training or courses to improve skills, knowledge or behaviour, or employment opportunities.

 

Material:

Usually one-off measures ranging from transport costs to attending a course to re-housing.

 

SCREEN 26: A

INTERVENTION PROVIDERS

When there is a need for more general support this may be found through local professionals such as teachers, or community leaders such as Imams.

However, there are times, at the Local Authority’s discretion, where deeper expertise is required, perhaps to unpick and challenge a specific ideology, or theological arguments.

In these instances, Home Office approved Intervention Providers must be used, with regular updates provided to the Police. If any new concerns are raised by Intervention Providers about the risk posed by an individuals, the police will make a further assessment of the individual, and inform the panel.

INTERVENTION PROVIDER VIDEO
Please press play

EXITING

An individual will exit Channel if:

When an individual exits Channel at any point during the process:

If an individual is referred back to the Channel process after twelve months, they should be treated as a new referral and go through all stages of the process.

SUMMARY

Thank you for taking part in this training.

You should now have a good understanding of the objectives of Channel; how the programme is structured; and how cases presented to it are progressed.