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Local authorities and partner agencies all have a role to play in working with local communities to support people who are vulnerable to being drawn into criminal activity. This could be in relation to drugs, knife crime, guns, gangs or involvement in violent extremism.

Prevent is a challenging and complex area that requires national and local organisations to work together. It needs to include the experiences, energy and ideas of our local communities, as well as those of the members, staff and volunteers of local authorities and partner agencies.

Our recent partnership event 'Working with individuals vulnerable to extremism' launched the Multi Agency Prevent Practice Guidance. This guidance can be downloaded from the right hand side of the page.

What is Prevent?

Prevent is part of the national counter-terrorism strategy, CONTEST. Prevent aims to stop people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism and extremism. This includes:

  • Challenging ideology - All terrorist groups have an ideology and frequently use the internet to air their views
  • Supporting vulnerable people - Radicalisation is a process not one event and during that process it is possible to intervene and safeguard the vulnerable.
  • Working with key sectors - A wide range of agencies are working to help deliver Prevent including education, health, faith, criminal justice and charities.

For more information on Prevent please view the Prevent Strategy 2011

Prevent duties

From the 1st July 2015 many public facing organisations providing services to children,  young people and adults are subject to a duty under section 26 of the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015, to have "due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism".

This duty is known as the Prevent duty and the Government's guidance outline specifies authorities responsible for this duty.

It is essential that staff within agencies and organisations that provide services to children, young people and adults are able to identify individuals who may be vulnerable to radicalisation and know what to do when they are identified.

Protecting individuals from the risk of radicalisation is an integral part of  safeguarding duties, and is similar in nature to protecting children and adults from other harms (e.g. drugs, gangs, neglect, sexual exploitation), whether these come from within their family or are the product of outside influence.

Channel process

Channel is the name for the multi-agency process of identifying and referring a person for early intervention and support for those at risk of radicalisation. It is a key element of the Prevent strategy. The Channel process uses existing collaboration between local authorities, statutory partners (such as education and health organisations, social services and offender management services), the police and the local community to;

  • Identify people at risk of being drawn into terrorism;
  • Assess the nature and extent of that risk; and
  • Develop the most appropriate support plan for the individuals concerned.

Further information on Channel available here

North Yorkshire Channel Panel

The Channel Panel has a standard multi-agency membership and meets on a monthly basis to collectively assess the risk and decide whether the person is vulnerable to being drawn into terrorism and therefore appropriate for the Channel process, should be referred to a different support mechanism; or should exit the process.

For those adopted as 'Channel' the Panel will need to develop an appropriate support package based on assessment of their vulnerability of being drawn into radicalisation.

The chair of the Channel Panel is Odette Robson, Head of Safer Communities for North Yorkshire County Council.

Referral process for North Yorkshire

Safeguarding individuals with care and support needs from radicalisation is no different from safeguarding them from other forms of harm. In a few cases the concerns around the individual may go beyond being vulnerable to extremism.

Where a professional has identified the need to refer an individual, the relevant safeguarding procedures should be followed to ensure that an appropriate referral is made to Children's Social Care or Health and Adult Services in an effective and timely way. Individual organisations need to ensure that the pathway below is aligned within their current safeguarding procedures.

Governance arrangements for North Yorkshire

In response to the Prevent Strategy 2011 a multi-agency 'Prevent Strategic Board' (formally the Prevent Implementation Board) was formed. Representation on this board is at a Chief Officer level from the specified authorities and is currently chaired by Chief Executive of a District Council. The delivery arm for this board is the multi-agency Local Prevent Groups (formally known as the Bronze Groups) which are district based.

Your role

As staff or volunteers of local authorities and partner agencies you are working with the community on a regular basis. You are the eyes and ears in the community. If you have any concerns about grievances or tensions in your community you should make sure you report them appropriately within your own organisation. Concerns could include hate crime, anti social behaviour, graffiti, or a change in the behaviour of individuals that causes you concern, as well as concerns about individuals or groups that are vulnerable to being drawn into terrorism.

What do you need to do?

  • Attend any Prevent training or awareness sessions supported by your organisation.
  • Understand who you need to report concerns to within your own organisation
  • Be aware of the process and support available if you report a concern.

If you are concerned about individuals or groups that are vulnerable to being drawn into terrorism you must raise this concern within your own organisation.

For North Yorkshire County Council staff the contacts are as follows:

Children and young people's service - Louise Hollick, Group Manager, 01609 354162

Health and adult services - Christine Appleyard, Locality Head Care and Support, 01609 534628 or Geraldine Mahon, Safeguarding Manager, 01609 534366

There is also a range of telephone numbers for members of the public who are concerned about individuals who may be vulnerable to being drawn into terrorism:

  • North Yorkshire Police - 101
  • safeguarding children and adults in North Yorkshire - North Yorkshire County Council's customer resolution centre 01609 534527
  • safeguarding children in York - 01904 551 900
  • safeguarding adults in York - telephone 01904 555 111

Training and resources available

Channel eLearning - The package includes information on how Channel links to the Government's counter terrorism strategy (CONTEST) through the Prevent strategy, guidance on how to identify people who may be vulnerable to being drawn into terrorism and how to refer them into the Channel process.

Workshop for Raising Awareness on Prevent (WRAP). WRAP is an hour long DVD-led interactive workshop. It is aimed at frontline staff (such as police, social services, probation, education and health staff) as well as the community. It has been built to raise awareness of Prevent in a non-alarmist way, relating support to wider safeguarding initiatives. For further information please contact Lesley Dale, Corporate Development Officer, North Yorkshire County Council 01609 533487

Resources for higher education establishments - Higher education site dedicated to preventing violent extremism and radicalisation. Promoting community cohesion, inter-faith relations and the sharing of good practice

Collab Group - Forward thinking membership organisation which represent 26 leading UK colleges and College groups

Guidance resources for schools