What is Channel?
Channel is a programme that sits within Prevent to provide support for individuals who are vulnerable to being drawn into terrorism. It has existed in every local area in England and Wales since April 2012, and in Scotland where it is known as Prevent Professional Concerns. Channel is administered through multi-agency panels at a local level: these panels are chaired by local authorities and supported by police.
The Channel Process
Individuals identified, normally by frontline public sector workers trained through WRAP (Workshop to Raise Awareness of Prevent). An assessment is then carried out initially by the police in an information gathering stage to check if the referral is malicious or misguided. If the person is judged to be vulnerable to being drawn into terrorism a multi-agency panel meeting is held to confirm the assessment and consider what support should be offered.
Channel is a voluntary scheme: individuals are offered the opportunity to participate and are free to decline this if they wish. Channel can provide numerous forms of support such as theologicaly or ideological mentoring.
The Department for Education has worked with the Home Office and HEFCE to produce an advice note (2017) for education providers on Channel. This can be found in the resources section.
What support does Channel provide?
Channel provides numerous forms of support such as life skills, anger management sessions, cognitive / behavioural therapy, education skills and theological / ideological mentoring. There are numerous intervention providers that offer a range of experience, languages and specialisms.
How does this relate to higher education?
The Prevent Duty Guidance for higher education institutions in England and Wales states that it is expected for appropriate members of staff to have an understanding of when to make referrals to the Channel programme and where to get additional advice and support. It is expected that institutions will have a process for this.
There is no legal obligation to refer people to Channel, although ensuring awareness of Channel is an important part of complying with the Prevent duty.