What is Channel?
Channel is part of the Prevent strategy. It is a voluntary programme to provide safeguarding support for individuals who are at risk of being drawn into any form of terrorism. Channel is administered through multi-agency panels at a local level, these panels are chaired by local authorities and supported by police.
The programme is about early intervention and is not about the criminalisation of those being supported. It has existed in every locality in England and Wales since April 2012, and in Scotland where it is known as Prevent Professional Concerns.
Channel is about ensuring that vulnerable children and adults of any faith, ethnicity or background receive support before their vulnerabilities are exploited by those that would want them to embrace terrorism, and before they become involved in criminal terrorist activity.
How does this relate to higher education?
The Prevent Duty Guidance for higher education providers in England and Wales states that it is expected that appropriate members of staff will have an understanding of when to make referrals to the Channel programme and where to get additional advice and support. It is expected that providers will have a process for this.
The Channel process
Individuals are identified as being at risk of being drawn into any form of terrorism, normally by frontline public sector workers trained through WRAP (Workshop to Raise Awareness of Prevent). An initial assessment is then carried out by the police, Prevent professionals or social care professionals in an information gathering stage to check if the referral is malicious or misguided. If this initial assessment concludes that the person is at risk of being drawn into terrorism, a multi-agency Channel panel is held to confirm the assessment and consider what support should be offered.
Channel is a voluntary, non-criminal scheme: individuals are offered the opportunity to participate and are free to decline this if they wish. Participating in Channel does not result in a criminal record for the vulnerable person. Channel can provide numerous forms of support such as diversionary activities, mentoring, linking to faith groups or ideological mentoring.
Who can make a referral?
A referral can come from anyone who is concerned about a person they know who may be at risk of radicalisation, whether a family member, friend, colleague or from a wide range of partners: social services, children and adult services, youth offending teams, the NHS, police, education establishments, and places of worship and community organisations (through their normal safeguarding process).
For more information on how to make a referral please contact your local authority or your local FE/HE co-ordinator who can offer help and support.
- Channel Guidance - statutory guidance for Channel panel members and partners of local panels
- Channel statistics 2016/17 - individuals referred and supported through the Prevent programme
- Channel statistics 2017/18 - individuals referred and supported through the Prevent programme
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