Safeguarding people at risk of being drawn into terrorism, or extremism leading to terrorism

A targeted safeguarding approach for children, young people and adults in Oldham

This policy and guidance has been developed from the Greater Manchester Safeguarding Partnership’s protocol and adapted to meet the needs of Oldham Safeguarding Children’s Partnership Board and Oldham Safeguarding Adults Board.


1.1 The current threat from terrorism in the United Kingdom is real and severe and can involve the exploitation of vulnerable people, including children, young people and adults to engage them in terrorism or activity in support of terrorism.

1.2 The Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 created a legal duty (the “Prevent Duty”) for ‘specified authorities’ (including local authorities; further and higher educational establishments; schools; registered childcare providers; NHS Trusts; prisons; probation services; police; and, under-18 secure estates) to have ‘due regard’, in the exercise of their functions to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism.

1.3 There is an associated legal duty (the “Channel Duty”) for local authorities and other partners to provide support for people who are vulnerable to being drawn into terrorism. The safeguarding process through which this is undertaken is known as Channel. The Counter Terrorism and Border Security Act 2019 amended the 2015 Act to enable local authorities – in addition to the police - to decide that an individual at risk of being drawn into terrorism should be progressed for consideration by Channel.

1.4 The ten Greater Manchester local authorities and Greater Manchester Police, through the Greater Manchester Safeguarding Children and Safeguarding Adults Partnerships, agree that exploitation of individuals by drawing them into terrorism or extremism leading to terrorism should be viewed as a safeguarding concern, and should be embedded into the work of local Children’s Services and Adult Services departments.

1.5 Each of the ten local authorities has adopted a set of Greater Manchester Channel Principles designed to ensure a collective and joined-up response to safeguarding children and adults across the sub-region. 

1.6 More locally, Oldham’s safeguarding arrangements for preventing involvement in terrorism or extremism leading to terrorism are aligned with existing safeguarding arrangements for children and vulnerable adults. Channel is embedded within these and in doing so, takes account of and complies with the requirements of the statutory duty.

1.7 This guidance is designed to provide a clear framework with which to respond to safeguarding concerns for those children, young people and adults who may be at risk of being drawn into terrorism, or extremism leading to terrorism.

1.8 The Policy includes the linkage between safeguarding procedures and the Channel process. This provides a mechanism for supporting those who may be vulnerable to violent extremism by assessing the nature and the extent of the potential risk and, where necessary, providing an appropriate support package.

1.9 This framework is underpinned by a number of key principles:

  • safeguarding to protect individuals from extremist or violent views operates under the same principles as safeguarding them from other forms of significant harm such as physical, emotional or sexual abuse, or neglect;
  • each vulnerable child, young person or adult is unique, is vulnerable for unique reasons and needs an individualised response;
  • each vulnerable child, young person or adult affects, and is affected by, multiple domains of influence - i.e. their family, the community in which they live, wider society;
  • Oldham Council and its partners have a duty to respond promptly and robustly to concerns raised around possible safeguarding issues;
  • information will be shared between organisations as appropriate in the interests of protecting a child, young person or adult from serious harm;
  • this is a collaborative process to enable effective integrated working to improve outcomes for children, young people and adults, arising from a common or specialist assessment

Legislative and policy framework

2.1 Relevant Policies

2.1.1 The following legislation and policies have provided the framework for this safeguarding protocol:

  • The Children Act 1989; as revised by the Children Act 2004;
  • Working Together to Safeguard Children: a guide to inter-agency working to safeguard and promote the welfare of children, Department for Children, Schools and Families 2018;
  • Framework for the Assessment of Children in Need and their Families, Department of Health 2000;
  • The Care Act 2014;
  • Mental Capacity Act 2005;
  • Mental Capacity Act Code of Practice, Department of Constitutional Affairs 2007;
  • The Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004;
  • Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015;
  • Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Act 2019.
  • The CONTEST (Counter-Terrorism) Strategy 2023;
  • Prevent Duty Guidance 2023: Guidance for specified authorities in England and Wales on the duty in the Counter Terrorism and Security Act 2015 to have due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism or supporting terrorism;
  • Channel Duty Guidance: Protecting people susceptible to radicalisation. Statutory guidance for Channel panel members and partners of local panels, 2023.

2.2 Definitions

Definitions relating to safeguarding children and young people

2.2.1 A child is defined in the Children Acts 1989 and 2004 as anyone who has not yet reached their 18th birthday.

2.2.2 Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is defined in Working Together to Safeguard Children 2018 as:

  • protecting children from maltreatment;
  • preventing impairment of children’s health or development;
  • ensuring that children are growing up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care.
  • taking action to ensure children have the best outcomes.

2.2.3 Children in need are those, defined under Section 17 of the Children Act 1989, who are: unlikely to reach or maintain a satisfactory level of health or development; whose health or development is likely to be significantly impaired without the provision of services; or who are disabled. Local authorities have a duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of children in need and those in need of protection.

2.2.4 Some children are in need because they are suffering, or likely to suffer, significant harm. The Children Act 1989 introduced the concept of significant harm as the threshold that justifies compulsory intervention in family life in the best interests of children, and gives local authorities a duty to make enquiries to decide whether they should take action to safeguard or promote the welfare of a child who is suffering, or likely to suffer, significant harm. Harm can be categorised as physical, emotional or sexual abuse or neglect.

Definitions relating to safeguarding vulnerable adults

2.2.5 The term ‘adult at risk’ is defined within the Care Act 2014, as a person over 18 who:

  • has care and support needs; and
  • is experiencing, or is at risk of, abuse or neglect; and
  • is unable to protect themselves because of their care and support needs.

2.2.6 The Care Act also defines six principles of Adult Safeguarding, which are aligned to the requirements of the Channel duty, as follows:

  • Empowerment - presumption of person led decisions and informed consent.
  • Prevention - It is better to take action before harm occurs.
  • Proportionality - Proportionate and least intrusive response appropriate

to the risk presented.

  • Protection - Support and representation for those in greatest need.
  • Partnership - Local solutions through services working with their communities. Communities have a part to play in preventing, detecting and reporting neglect and abuse.
  • Accountability - Accountability and transparency in delivering safeguarding.

2.2.7 Furthermore, the ‘Making Safeguarding Personal’ (MSP) toolkit also provides guidance on developing person-led and outcome focussed responses and supports the principle of empowerment as defined in the Act. MSP should be applied when implementing Channel and individuals should be engaged about how best to respond to their safeguarding situation in a way that enhances their involvement.

Terrorism, extremism and radicalisation

2.2.8 Terrorism is defined by the Terrorism Act 2000 as:

“an action that endangers or causes serious violence to a person/people; causes serious damage to property; or seriously interferes with or disrupts an electronic system. The use or threat must be deigned to influence the government or to intimidate the public and is made for the purpose of advancing a political, religious or ideological cause.”

2.2.9 Extremism is defined by the Government as:

“the vocal or active opposition to our fundamental values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and the mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs. We also regard calls for the death of members of our armed forces, as extremist.”

2.2.10 Radicalisation is defined in the Prevent Duty Guidance 2023 as:

“the process of a person legitimising support for, or use of, terrorist violence.”

2.2.11 There are a range of offences for which people may be charged in relation to terrorism, extremism and radicalisation including:

  • murder or soliciting murder;
  • committing, preparing or instigating acts of terrorism;
  • incitement to commit acts of terrorism overseas;
  • encouragement of terrorism;
  • inciting racial or religious hatred or hatred because of sexual orientation;
  • inviting and expressions of support for a proscribed organisation;
  • terrorist financing offences;
  • dissemination of terrorist publications;
  • offences of encouragement, dissemination, obtaining and viewing material over the internet.
  • Entering or remaining in a designated area

2.3 Information Sharing and Confidentiality

2.3.1 There is a statutory duty for workers to share information where there are concerns about the safety or wellbeing of a child or adult. The following is not exhaustive, but does provide a list of Acts and statutory guidance which may be relevant to data sharing and confidentiality:

  • The Data Protection Act 2018
  • General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
  • Data Protection (Processing of Sensitive Personal Data) Order 2000
  • Equality Act 2010
  • The Human Rights Act 1998
  • The Common Law Duty of Confidentiality
  • The Crime and Disorder Act 1998
  • Local Government Act 1972
  • Local Government Act 2000
  • National Health Service Act 2006 and Health and Social Care Act 2001
  • Offender Management Act 2007
  • Information Sharing: Advice for Practitioners providing safeguarding services to children, young people, parents and carers.
  • The Children Act 2004 sections 10 and 11
  • The Care Act 2014
  • The Caldicott Principles

2.3.2 Effective information sharing is key to the delivery of Prevent, so that partners are able to take appropriately informed action. This will sometimes require the sharing of personal information between partners and is particularly the case when supporting vulnerable people, where the sharing of information will be central to providing the most appropriate support.

2.3.3 Information Sharing Agreements should be in place to facilitate the sharing of information. However, the assessment of whether information should be shared needs to be undertaken on a case by case basis.

2.3.4 The sharing of data by public sector bodies requires the existence of a power to do so (such as through the Children Act, the Care Act or, for the prevention and detection of crime, the Crime and Disorder Act) in addition to satisfying the requirements of the Data Protection Act, General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), Human Rights Act and the common law duty of confidentiality. The power to share information arises only as a consequence of an organisation having the power to carry out an action which is dependent on the sharing of information.

2.3.5 Where non-public bodies (such as community organisations) are involved in the delivery of Prevent work, there may be a need to pass personal and sensitive information to them and the approach to information sharing should be the same.

2.3.6 Agencies may consider sharing personal information with each other for Prevent purposes, subject to a case-by-case basis assessment which considers how data protection requirements are met and the proposed sharing being necessary, proportionate and lawful.

2.3.7 In order to ensure that information sharing is necessary, proportionate and lawful, each case needs to be judged on its own merit. The following questions should be considered when sharing information:

  • What information are you intending to share?
  • With whom are you intending to share the information?
  • Why you are intending to share the information (i.e. with what expected outcome)?
  • What is the legal basis on which the information is to be shared. For example, has the subject consented, or is there a justification such as safeguarding an individual from serious harm or to prevent or detect crime?
  • Are individuals aware that the information is being shared?

2.3.8 Any sharing of personal or sensitive personal data must be considered carefully, but this is particularly the case where the consent of the individual is not to be obtained. Where consent is not sought, an assessment of the relevant legislation is required to ensure sharing meets legislative requirements. Once the assessment has been made, the information should be reviewed to consider whether the individual should then be informed. There will be circumstances in which advising the individual will not be possible because it will prejudice delivery of the intended outcome. In such cases there are legal exemptions which permit sharing to take place without informing individuals e.g. the detection of crime.

Preventing people from being drawn into  terrorism, or extremism leading to terrorism

3.1 The Contest Strategy

3.1.1 The national Counter-Terrorism (CONTEST) Strategy was updated in 2023. It has four strands:

  • PURSUE: to stop terrorist attacks;
  • PREVENT: to stop people from becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism;
  • PROTECT: to strengthen our protection against terrorist attack; and
  • PREPARE: to mitigate the impact of a terrorist attack

3.1.2 The CONTEST strategy reflects the current assessment of terrorist threats and the Government’s revised security and counter-terrorism policies. The strategy covers all forms of terrorism, including the threat to Great Britain from Islamist terrorist groups, Northern Ireland related terrorism, Extreme Right-Wing terrorism (ERWT) and Left Wing, Anarchist and Single-Issue terrorism (LASIT).

3.2 Prevent Duty

3.2.1 The Counter Terrorism and Security Act 2015 created a new statutory duty, termed the Prevent Duty, for ‘specified authorities’ (including local authorities; further and higher educational establishments; schools; registered childcare providers; NHS Trusts; prisons; probation services; police; and, under-18 secure estates), in the exercise of their functions to have ‘due regard’ to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism. This duty came into effect on 1st July 2015. A full list of the specified authorities is given in Part 1 of Schedule 6 to the Counter Terrorism and Security Act 2015.

3.2.2 This policy and guidance document is concerned with the local contribution to Prevent, through safeguarding children, young people and adults who are at risk of being drawn into terrorism, or extremism leading to terrorism.

3.2.3 In delivering Prevent, the Government seeks to achieve a balance between security and the protection of civil liberties.

3.2.4 The aim of Prevent is to reduce the threat to the UK from terrorism by stopping people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism. Delivery of Prevent is grounded in early intervention and safeguarding.

3.2.5 The Prevent Duty Guidance 2023 has three key objectives:

  • tackle the ideological causes of terrorism
  • intervene early to support people susceptible to radicalisation
  • enable people who have already engaged in terrorism to disengage and rehabilitate

3.2.6 The first objective tackles the ideological causes of terrorism. The ideological component of terrorism is what sets it apart from other acts of serious violence. Islamist ideology is resilient and enduring. Extreme Right-Wing ideology is resurgent. Other ideologies are less present, but still have the potential to motivate, inspire and be used to justify terrorism.

3.2.7 In the UK, the primary domestic terrorist threat comes from Islamist terrorism. Islamist terrorism is the threat or use of violence as a means to establish a strict interpretation of an Islamic society. For some this is a political ideology which envisions, for example, the creation of a global Islamic caliphate based on strict implementation of shari’ah law, drawing on political and religious ideas developed in the 20th century by Sayyid Qutb and Abdallah Azzam. Many adherents believe that violence (or ‘jihad’ as they conceive it) is not only a necessary strategic tool to achieve their aims, but an individual’s religious duty.

3.2.8 Extreme Right-Wing Terrorism describes those involved in Extreme Right-Wing activity who use terrorist violence to further their ideology. These ideologies can be broadly characterised as Cultural Nationalism, White Nationalism and White Supremacism. Individuals and groups may subscribe to ideological trends and ideas from more than one category. Unlike Islamist terrorist groups, Extreme Right-Wing terrorists are not typically organised into formal groups with leadership hierarchies and territorial ambitions, but informal online communities which facilitate international links.

3.2.9 Prevent also tackles other ideologies and concerns that may pose a terrorist threat. Established terrorist narratives exhibit common themes such as antisemitism, misogyny, anti-establishment, anti-LGBT grievances and religious or ethnic superiority. Left-Wing, Anarchist and Single-Issue Terrorism currently represents a significantly smaller terrorist threat to the UK than Islamist terrorism or Extreme Right-Wing Terrorism and is not currently present in the UK at any significant scale (although there has been some activity that has met a terrorism threshold in recent years). The majority of related activity in the UK has consisted of lawful protest, and where these have involved violence, it has resulted in offences relating to public order.

3.2.10 Conspiracy theories can act as gateways to radicalised thinking and sometimes violence. In some cases, a blurring of ideologies with personal narratives makes it harder to assess the risk that people may pose. The need to understand motivation and intent is why in some cases it can take time for an incident to be declared terrorism or not, and why sometimes it remains unclear.

3.2.11 The second objective is to intervene early to stop people from becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism. This means providing bespoke interventions for people who are susceptible to radicalisation.

3.2.12 Prevent referrals are likely to be made in the first instance by people who come into contact with those who appear to be at risk of being radicalised. There is no single model of a person’s radicalisation journey or single profile of a radicalised person. Frontline professionals, when deciding whether to make a referral, should consider whether they believe the person they are concerned about may be on a pathway that could lead to terrorism.

3.2.13 Signs that extremist views are being adopted, including changes in behaviour that might signal a concern, can be used to consider whether a referral should be made to seek support under Prevent. In determining whether a concern meets the threshold for referral to Prevent, it is important to consider the harm posed to the person, as well as whether accessing support through Prevent might stop potential wider societal harm committed by the person.

3.2.14 The third objective of rehabilitation seeks to reduce the risk of people who have been involved in terrorist-related activity, including those who have been convicted of offences. The Desistance and Disengagement Programme provides specialist Home Office-approved intervention providers to give support in the form of theological, ideological and practical mentoring to reduce the offending risk.

3.3 The Channel Programme

3.3.1 The Counter Terrorism and Security Act is intended to secure effective local co-operation and delivery of Channel in all areas. In practice, the legislation requires:

  1. local authorities will have a Channel panel in their area
  2. the local authority will provide the panel chair and deputy chair
  3. the panel will develop a support plan for people adopted as Channel cases
  4. where Channel is not appropriate, the panel will consider alternative forms of support, including health care and social care services
  5. the panel will ensure accurate records are kept detailing the support plan, agreed actions and decision-making, and outcomes
  6. all partners of a panel, as far as is appropriate and reasonably practicable, will co-operate with the police and the panel in carrying out their functions

3.3.2 A list of partners with a legal duty under the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act to co-operate with local panels is provided at Appendix A.

3.3.3 Channel focuses on providing support at an early stage to people who are identified as being vulnerable to being drawn into terrorism, or extremism leading to terrorism. The programme uses a multi-agency approach to protect vulnerable people by:

  • Identifying individuals at risk;
  • Assessing the nature and extent of that risk; and
  • Developing the most appropriate support plan for the individuals concerned.

3.3.4 Channel aims to support vulnerable individuals through targeted intervention relevant to the individual’s vulnerability and risk, to prevent them from committing a criminal act. If it is believed that an individual may already have committed a criminal offence relating to terrorism or extremism they are not appropriate for Channel.

3.3.5 The Channel process provides early support for anyone who is at risk of radicalisation, supporting terrorist organisations, or committing acts of terrorism, regardless of age, faith, ethnicity or background. People can receive support before they begin on, or once they are on a trajectory towards participating in terrorist-related activity.

3.3.6 Channel assesses vulnerability using a consistently applied vulnerability assessment framework built around three criteria:

  • Engagement with a group, cause or ideology: Engagement factors are sometimes referred to as ‘psychological hooks’. They include needs, susceptibilities, motivations and contextual influences and together map the individual pathway into terrorism.
  • Intent to cause harm: Not all those who become engaged by a group, cause or ideology go on to develop an intention to cause harm, so this dimension is considered separately. Intent factors describe the mindset that is associated with a readiness to use violence and address what the person would do and to what end.
  • Capability to cause harm: Not all those who have a wish to cause harm on behalf of a group, cause or ideology are capable of doing so, and plots to cause widespread damage can take a high level of personal capability, resources and networking to be successful. What the person is capable of is therefore a key consideration when assessing risk of harm to the public.

3.3.7 The process is very much dependent upon the co-operation and co-ordination of partners and works best when the individuals and their families fully engage with the programme and are supported in a consistent manner. It is important to recognise that Channel is not about reporting or informing on individuals in order to prosecute them. It is about organisations and communities working together to support vulnerable people at an early stage to prevent them from being radicalised.

3.3.8 Participation in Channel remains voluntary and requires consent to be given by the individual (or their parent/guardian in the case of a child) in advance of support measures being put into place. All individuals who receive support through Channel must be made aware that they are receiving this as part of a programme to protect people from being drawn into terrorism, what the aims of the process are and what to expect. Where someone does not wish to continue with the process, it may be appropriate to provide alternative support through other mainstream services, such as children’s or adults’ social care services.

What to do if you have a concern

4.1 Why might you be concerned and what might you notice?

4.1.1 Radicalisation is the process of a person legitimising support for, or use of, terrorist violence. Most people who commit terrorism offences do so of their own agency and dedication to an ideological cause. There is no single way of identifying who is at risk of being radicalised into terrorism or supporting terrorism, but factors may include:

  • peer or family pressure
  • influence to support an ideology from other people or via the internet
  • bullying
  • being a victim or perpetrator of crime
  • anti-social behaviour
  • family tensions
  • hate crime
  • lack of self-esteem or identity
  • personal or political grievances

4.1.2 There is also no single profile of a radicalised person, nor is there a single pathway or ‘conveyor belt’ to being radicalised. There are many factors which can, either alone or combined, lead someone to subscribe to terrorist or terrorism-supporting ideology. These factors often include exposure to radicalising influences, real and perceived grievances – often created or exacerbated through grievance narratives espoused by extremists – and a person’s own susceptibility. Examples of how these factors could present themselves are as follows:

  • an individual evidences support for terrorist or extremist activity and/or is expressing a desire to participate in such activity;
  • an individual is exposed to radicalising influences, either through social networks, or by accessing information on the internet;
  • an individual seeks answers about their identity, particularly in relation to cultural and religious heritage: identity; faith; and, belonging;
  • an individual expresses frustration, resentment or anger, because of how they feel or because they feel that people with whom they identify, have been treated unfairly, persecuted, humiliated or discriminated against.
  • There are also factors which reduce the resilience of individuals to the risk of radicalisation (for example the absence of supportive family relationships).

4.1.3 A person’s susceptibility to radicalisation may be linked to their vulnerability. A person can be vulnerable if they need special care, support or protection because of age, disability, risk of abuse or neglect. A person’s vulnerabilities may be relevant to their susceptibility to radicalisation and to the early intervention approach that is required to divert them away from radicalisation.

4.1.4 In other cases, vulnerabilities may not be present or relevant to the early intervention approach required. Not all people susceptible to radicalisation will be vulnerable, and there are other circumstances, needs or other underlying factors that may make a person susceptible to radicalisation but do not constitute a vulnerability.

4.1.5 When undertaking any assessment where there may be concerns about radicalisation, it is important to:

  • consider the vulnerability indicators when undertaking the assessment and what this means as part of the person’s wider needs;
  • understand and identify the factors that build resilience and potentially protect individuals from becoming radicalised or getting involved in terrorism; and
  • be cautious in assessing these factors to avoid inappropriately labelling or stigmatising individuals because they possess a characteristic or fit a specific profile.

4.1.6 The above is not exhaustive and a more detailed list of indicators which might possibly be present during the radicalisation process can be found at Appendix B.

4.2 Check your concerns

4.2.1 If the concern relates to the person or public being in immediate danger or at risk from harm, then the Police should be contacted immediately.

4.2.2 Unless there is a reason not to do so, professionals working with an individual about whom there are concerns should initially check them with the individual and/or their parent/guardian, in order to ascertain the facts prior to submitting a Channel referral. Information received from speaking to the individual and or parent/guardian might possibly mitigate the need for a referral.

4.2.3 Concerns should not be checked with the parent/guardian if they are considered to be the source of risk.

4.2.4 Frontline workers having contact with the public should have an awareness of the indicators which might be visible during the radicalisation process. There will be instances when it is not appropriate for frontline workers to undertake the ‘check’ process (e.g. a contractor working in a person’s home might see something of concern, but it would not be appropriate for them to check with the individual). All staff, including contracted staff, should therefore be provided with contact details for their organisational safeguarding lead.

4.3 Sharing your concerns

4.3.1 As with other safeguarding issues, if the worker is still concerned that the person or their family may be at risk, then that concern should in the first instance be shared with the organisation’s safeguarding lead / Prevent Single Point of Contact (SPOC). 

4.3.2 If the concerns about an individual are not serious, the safeguarding lead / Prevent SPOC may decide that appropriate action can be taken within the organisation to address the issue. Once the action has been undertaken, a review should be undertaken to assess whether the concern still remains.

4.3.3 The flow chart below shows the process for safeguarding individuals within an organisation.

4.3.4 Initial concerns raised about an individual will, in many instances, be appropriately managed internally within the organisation without the need for multi-agency intervention. However, if a multi-agency response is considered necessary, then make a Channel referral.



4.4 Making a referral

4.4.1 Each agency in Oldham, working with children or vulnerable adults, should have a Prevent Safeguarding Lead who will be the key contact within the organisation for safeguarding in relation to protecting individuals from radicalisation and involvement in terrorism. This will usually be the same person for safeguarding in general.

4.4.2 The safeguarding lead/Prevent SPOC should offer advice and guidance about the appropriateness of making a referral and gather additional information to help understand the issue.

4.4.3 If necessary, the safeguarding lead/Prevent SPOC can have an initial discussion with the Council’s Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub on 0161 770 7777.

4.4.4 In the event that the safeguarding lead / Prevent SPOC believe that the concerns relating to an individual are more significant and require a multi-agency response, an online referral form must be completed (below)

Prevent referral form

4.4.5 Once the referral form has been completed and submitted, it will automatically be directed to either Child or Adult MASH as appropriate and the Channel team at the North West Counter Terrorism Unit (NWCTU).

How are referrals managed?

5.1 Initial assessment

5.1.1 NWCTU will undertake a Prevent Gateway Assessment to determine whether there are reasonable grounds to suspect that a person is susceptible to becoming a terrorist or supporting terrorism and should therefore be considered by the Channel panel for support through Prevent. This process can take up to five days to complete. The police cannot legally share information about individuals where there is no suspicion of a vulnerability to being drawn into terrorism.

5.1.2 Police officers and staff who are assessing whether a referral should progress through to Channel will draw on robust decision-making frameworks to determine whether a referral meets the threshold for Prevent, and to ensure that a consistent threshold is applied. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • determining the presence of an ideological driver
  • determining what harm may be caused by the person (or could be caused to the person being referred)
  • considering factors such as a person’s agency, as well as any predisposition to exploitation

5.1.3 NWCTU also undertakes deconfliction with any ongoing counter-terrorism investigations. This is an essential part of the process and is necessary to ensure that individuals who may be under investigation in relation to terrorist offences are not managed through Channel. 

5.1.4 If the Counter Terrorism Unit considers a case to be appropriate for Channel, a more detailed Prevent assessment will be undertaken and led by the Channel case officer. This assessment is informed by information sharing with wider Channel partners and includes gathering information from a range of services (e.g. children’s and adults social care, health, the youth offending service, probation, education etc.) to ascertain if the individual is already known, what support is already in place and what information is available to inform a decision on susceptibility. Services will be required to provide the information to the Channel case officer within five days of the request being made.

5.1.5 The purpose of this process is to assess the level of vulnerability an individual has in relation to radicalisation / extremist behaviour and determine whether an individual has:

  • Engagement with a group, cause or ideology or is vulnerable to this;
  • Intent to cause harm; and
  • Capability to cause harm.

5.1.6 Once the gateway assessment and multi-agency information gathering is complete, where appropriate, and where the Channel panel agrees, the person may be adopted into Channel and receive tailored support to reduce their susceptibility to being radicalised into terrorism.

5.1.7 However, the decision making must give due regard to Section 36 of the Counter Terrorism and Security Act 2015 in determining whether a referral is taken to a Channel Panel. The Act states that an individual should be referred to a panel only if there are reasonable grounds to believe that the individual is vulnerable to being drawn into terrorism. This Section 36 decision is made by the police.

5.2 Individual is referred to Channel

5.2.1 The Channel process in Oldham has been aligned with existing safeguarding structures for children and adults and, in the event that a referral is considered relevant to Channel, there will be close engagement with children’s or adult services as appropriate.

5.2.2 Channel Panel meetings are held monthly, though additional meetings will be organised if required to address urgent cases. The Channel Panel has a standing membership representing a range of agencies involved in safeguarding, including the local Prevent lead from NWCTU. Relevant professionals working with individuals referred to Panel will also be invited to attend. 

5.2.3 A representative of the referring agency is likely to be invited to participate in the meeting, and could be involved in delivering interventions. Where this is not the case, and subject to restrictions on confidentiality, feedback will be provided to referring organisations on the outcome of the process.

5.2.4 In most cases, agencies submitting a Channel referral will agree to the individual and/or parent guardian having knowledge of where the concern originated. However, there might be instances when the submission of a Channel referral could compromise the individual or agency making the referral. It is important that individuals and agencies have confidence to report their concerns and, in such cases, the origin of the information will not be disclosed.

5.2.5 It is important to note that a Channel referral does not result in a criminal record on police systems and would not affect, for example, Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks.

5.2.6 Once the assessment has been undertaken, the referrer will receive feedback in relation to the concerns raised.

5.2.7 Cases should be discussed at Channel Panel within a maximum of twenty working days from receipt of the original referral.

5.2.8 The flow chart shows the process for safeguarding individuals who have been referred for a multi-agency agency response.



5.3 Case is not referred to Channel

5.3.1 If the referral does not meet the Channel threshold following assessment, feedback will be provided to the referrer and other appropriate agencies and this will include a rationale for the decision.

5.3.2 It is possible that the assessment process will identify further actions which could be taken to support the individual and potentially reduce their vulnerability. The person may be offered alternative support, such as by mental health services or children’s social care services.

5.3.3 Where consent for Channel has not been given or the level of risk posed makes it unsuitable, the person can be considered for Police-led Partnerships. Police-led Partnerships cover the management of people, groups or institutions that are not suitable for Channel, but which have identified Prevent-relevant issues requiring support or mitigation. Police-led Partnerships are led by police but work in partnership with other agencies and employ many of the same type of approaches used within the multi-agency processes of Channel.

5.4 Action Plans

5.4.1 Each case is handled separately and people deemed appropriate to receive support will have a tailored package developed for them, according to their identified vulnerabilities. All individuals being supported under the Channel process must consent to interventions and must be made aware that the interventions are in place to reduce vulnerabilities linked to extremism/radicalisation. The most suitable professional to gain consent will be identified at the initial Channel meeting. If the individual does not consent to interventions then the case cannot progress as the Channel process is voluntary.

5.4.2 Interventions will be agreed at the meeting, together with a timetable for reviewing whether these have been successful. The outcome of the meeting may result in referrals to further statutory processes. 

5.4.3 The involvement of partners in the Channel process ensures that those at risk have access to a wide range of support ranging from mainstream services, such as health and education, through to specialist mentoring or guidance.

5.4.4 The package of support provided to each individual will be documented within an action plan and could include for example, housing support; drugs and alcohol awareness; mentoring; career and educational guidance.

5.4.5 The type of activities that are included in a support package will depend on risk, vulnerability and local resource. If the individual requires more intensive support, particularly in relation to theological/ideological support, Home Office approved intervention providers can be commissioned to mentor them. The mentoring aims to increase theological understanding and challenge extremist ideas where they are used to legitimise terrorism.

5.5 Reviews

5.5.1 The Channel Coordinator will update the Prevent Assessment (PAF) and Channel Case Management system regularly.

5.5.2 The decision to close a case will be made by the Channel Panel.

5.5.3 All cases, whether they are referred elsewhere or offered support under Channel, will be reviewed by the Channel Panel six months and twelve months following the closure of the referral.

Oversight and accountability

6.1 The Oldham Prevent and Protect Steering Group has oversight of Channel, and receives quarterly reports from the Channel Panel chair on the operation of Channel in Oldham. The Steering Group is accountable to the Oldham Community Safety and Cohesion Partnership, for ensuring delivery of work to prevent the involvement of Oldham residents in terrorism and extremism which can lead to terrorism.

6.2 As part of their oversight of safeguarding in Oldham, the Safeguarding Boards for Children and Adults will receive six monthly updates on the operation of Channel in Oldham. This will enable the Boards to provide strategic support and ensure that safeguarding protocols and processes are implemented effectively.

6.3 Oldham’s Channel Panel also participates in national and Greater Manchester peer assessment processes.

Advice and Support

7.1 Key Contacts

7.1.1 Reporting concerns about Terrorism

If you have a concern about Terrorism and it is an emergency, dial 999

If you consider anything to be suspicious or connected with terrorism, contact Greater Manchester Police on the non-emergency number 101 or the Anti-Terrorist Hotline on 0800 789 321.

Alternatively, you can complete a confidential on-line form

7.1.2 Are you worried that an adult, child or young person is susceptible to radicalisation into terrorism or extremism leading to terrorism?

If you are worried that an individual is at risk of being radicalised, you can seek advice from the Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub on:

  • 0161 770 7777 (Monday – Friday, 8.40am – 5.00pm)
  • 0161 770 6936 (at all other times). Urgent safeguarding concerns only.

The online Channel referral form is available on the Oldham Council website. When a referral is completed, copies are automatically e-mailed to the Channel team in the North West Counter-Terrorism Unit and the Child or Adult MASH as appropriate.

7.2 Training

7.2.1 The government has launched three new Prevent duty training courses, which are designed and appropriate, for staff working in sectors covered by the Prevent duty. These include education, health, local authorities, police, prisons, probation, and youth justice. Other sectors that are not covered may also complete this training. You do not have to complete all the courses and you should refer to your organisation's training requirements to determine which courses are appropriate for you.

The courses are as follows:

This training will provide an introduction to the Prevent duty, the forms of extremism and terrorism threatening the UK and develop your knowledge around the risks of radicalisation and your supportive role.

This course builds on the awareness course and will explain how to make a Prevent referral that is both informed and with good intention.

This course will give you an understanding of the full Channel process and the intervention options available.

Appendix A

List of partners required to co-operate with local Channel panels

Ministers of the Crown and government departments:

  • A Minister of the Crown.
  • A government department other than an intelligence service.

Local government:

  • A local authority (other than a local authority that is a member of the panel in question)
  • A person carrying out a function of a local authority by virtue of a directive made under section 15 of the Local Government Act 1999.

Criminal justice:

  • The governor of a prison in England and Wales (or, in the case of a contracted out prison, its director).
  • The governor of a young offender institution or secure training centre (or, in the case of a contracted out young offender institution or secure training centre, its director).
  • The principal of a secure college.
  • A youth offending team established under section 39 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998.
  • A provider of probation services within the meaning given by section 3(6) of the Offender Management Act 2007.

Education, child care etc:

  • A sixth-form college corporation within the meaning given by section 90(I) of the Further and Higher Education Act 1992.
  • The governing body of an institution within the further education sector within the meaning given by section 9I(3) of that Act.
  • A person who is authorised by virtue of an order made under section 70 of the Deregulation and Contracting Out Act 1994 to exercise a function specified in Schedule 36A to the Education Act 1996.
  • A person with whom arrangements have been made for the provision of education under section 19 of the Education Act 1996 or section 100 of the Education and Inspections Act 2006 (cases of illness, exclusions, etc).
  • The proprietor of:-
  • a school that has been approved under section 342 of the Education Act 1996
  • a maintained school within the meaning given by section 20(7) of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998
  • a maintained nursery school within the meaning given by section 22(9) of that Act
  • an independent school registered under section 158 of the Education Act 2002
  • an independent educational institution registered under section 95(I) of the Education and Skills Act 2008
  • a 16 to 19 Academy within the meaning given by section 1B of the Academies Act 2010
  • an alternative provision Academy within the meaning given by section 1C of that Act, or
  • a special post-16 institution within the meaning given by section 83(2) of the Children and Families Act 2014.
  • A person who is specified or nominated in a direction made in relation to the exercise of a local authority’s functions given by the Secretary of State under section 497A of the Education Act 1996 (including that section as applied by section 50 of the Children Act 2004 or section 15 of the Childcare Act 2006)
  • A person registered under Part 2 of the Care Standards Act 2000 in respect of:-
  • A children’s home as defined in section I of the Act
  • A residential family centre as defined in section 4 of that Act
  • A fostering agency as defined in that section, or
  • A holiday scheme for disabled children, within the meaning of the Registered Holiday Schemes for Disabled Children (England) Regulations 2013 (S.I. 2013/1394)
  • The governing body of a qualifying institution within the meaning given by section II of the Higher Education Act 2004
  • A person registered under Chapter 2, 2A, 3 or 3A or Part 3 of the Childcare Act 2006
  • A body corporate with which a local authority has entered into arrangements under Part I of the Children and Young Persons Act 2008
  • The governing body or proprietor of an institution (not otherwise listed) at which more than 250 students, excluding students undertaking distance learning courses, are undertaking:-
  • Courses in preparation for examinations related to qualifications regulated by the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation
  • Courses of a description mentioned in Schedule 6 to the Education Reform Act 1988 (higher education courses)

Health and Social Care:

  • A clinical commissioning group established under section 14D of the National Health Service Act 2006
  • An NHS Trust established under section 25 of the National Health Service Act 2006
  • An NHS foundation trust within the meaning given by section 30 of the National Health Service Act 2006


  • A chief officer of police for a police area in England and Wales (other than a chief officer who is a member of the panel in question).

Appendix B

List of possible indicators which might be present during the radicalisation process

Please note that the following is not an exhaustive list, and all or none may be present in individual cases of concern.

Vulnerable people experiencing these factors are not automatically at risk of radicalisation, and every case needs to be judged in relation to the individual circumstances.

  1. Possible indications that an individual may have been radicalised include:
  • Is the person known to have joined an extremist organisation, or been in contact with extremist recruiters?
  • Does the person sympathise with, or support, illegal (proscribed) groups e.g. through attending meetings, distributing literature or fundraising?
  • Does the person support groups with links to extremist activity, even if they are not illegal e.g. through attending meetings, distributing literature or fundraising?
  • Has the person expressed support for terrorist attacks, extremist causes or their leaders either verbally or in writing?
  • Is the person using extremist narratives and ideology to explain personal disadvantage?
  • Does the person justify the use of violence to achieve political or ideological goals?
  • Have there been significant changes to the person’s appearance and/or behaviour which indicate that they identify with groups with extremist views?
  • Is there reason to believe that the person either has taken part, or is planning to take part, in extremist training?
  • Is the person known to have possessed, or is actively seeking to possess and/ or distribute, extremist literature or related materials?
  • Has the person been a perpetrator of hate crime?
  • Is there a pattern of regular or extended travel within or outside the UK which, together with other signs, might suggest the person is taking part in extremist training or activity?
  • Has the person sought to disguise their true identity? Have they used documents or cover to support this?
  • Is there evidence to suggest that they are accessing the internet for the purpose of extremist activity? (e.g. are they part of closed network groups, accessing extremist material, contacting associates covertly via Skype/e-mail etc)
  1. Possible indicators that an individual may be exposed to radicalising influences are:
  • Does a significant adult or other person in the individual’s life have extremist views or sympathies e.g. their parent, spouse, partner or close friend?
  • Does the person associate with people known to be involved in extremism - either because they mix with known individuals or because they go to locations where these individuals are known to operate?
  • Does the person possess, or are they seeking to access, violent extremist literature or material likely to incite racial/religious hatred or acts of violence?
  • Has the person accessed violent extremist websites, especially those with a social networking element?
  • Has the person travelled for extended periods of time to international locations known to be associated with extremism?
  • Is there evidence of any other sources of extremist ideological, political or religious influence on the person from within or outside UK?
  1. Possible indicators that an individual may be seeking answers about their identity are:
  • Does the person demonstrate conflict and confusion about their personal identity? For example, are they feeling disconnected from their cultural / religious heritage and uncomfortable with their place in the society around them?
  • Is the person searching for answers to questions about their identity, faith or belonging?
  • Does the person demonstrate a simplistic or flawed understanding of religion or politics?
  • Does the person reject UK values and institutions?
  • Has the person come into conflict with their family over religious beliefs / lifestyle / dress choices?
  • Has there been a significant shift in the person’s behaviour or outward appearance that suggests a new social / political or religious influence
  1. Possible sources of frustrations or resentment that might make individuals more vulnerable to radicalisation are:
  • Has the person experienced any trauma in their lives, particularly any trauma associated with war or sectarian conflict?
  • Has the person witnessed, or been the victim of, racial or religious hate crime or sectarianism?
  • Does the person have a strong sense of grievance or feelings of injustice about their own experience? For example, do they feel that they have been discriminated against or disadvantaged because of who they are, or that they have suffered as a result of aspects of Government policy.
  • Does the person experience, or feel that they experience, a lack of meaningful employment appropriate to their skills?
  • Is the person a refugee or other foreign national awaiting a decision on their immigration / nationality status?
  • Does the person feel that people like themselves are threatened or systematically disadvantaged or discriminated against?
  • Have international events in areas of conflict and civil unrest had a disproportionate impact on the person resulting in a noticeable change in their views or behaviour (beyond the emotional impact generally experienced by people observing the suffering of individuals e.g. the deaths of children in areas of conflict)?

(Absence of) resilience factors 

  1. Factors that might reduce individuals’ resilience to radicalisation are:
  • Does the person have insecure, conflicted, or absent family relationships?
  • Does the person display a lack of affinity or understanding for others, or social isolation from peer groups?
  • Does the person have low self-esteem or feelings of failure?
  • Is the person socially isolated, with a lack of friends/support networks?
  • Does a young person spend a lot of time alone, or out unsupervised?
  • Does the person have any learning difficulties or mental health support needs?
  • Has the person experienced rejection by their family, peers or social or faith group?
  • Has the person disassociated from an existing friendship group and become involved with a new and different group of friends?
  • Does the person have a previous history of involvement in crime, experience of imprisonment, or problems with resettlement/reintegration having come out of prison?