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Supporting individuals
vulnerable to recruitment by
violent extremists

A guide for local partnerships

March 2010
Channel: Supporting individuals vulnerable to recruitment by violent extremists Page 2
Supporting individuals vulnerable to
recruitment by violent extremists

March 2010

Produced in partnership with the

Association of Chief Police Officers
© Crown Copyright 2010
The text in this document (excluding the Royal Arms and other
departmental or agency logos) may be reproduced free of
charge in any format or medium providing it is reproduced
accurately and not used in a misleading context. The material
must be acknowledged as Crown copyright and the title of the
document specified.
Where we have identified any third party copyright material
you will need to obtain permission from the copyright holders
ISBN: 978-1-84987-209-6

Channel: Supporting individuals vulnerable to recruitment by violent extremists


Supporting individuals vulnerable to recruitment by
violent extremists

Foreword 3

Part 1 Introduction 5

Part 2 The key elements 7

Part 3 Identification 9

Part 4 The Channel process 12

Part 5 Developing support packages 15

Part 6 Appraisal and review 16

Annex A Sharing information with partners 17

Annex B Freedom of Information 21

Contents Page 1
Part 1
Section 4

Channel: Supporting individuals vulnerable to recruitment by violent extremists Page 2


To reduce the risk from terrorism we need not only to stop terrorist attacks but also
to prevent people becoming terrorists. This is one objective of CONTEST, the UK
Government’s strategy for countering international terrorism.
The Channel programme has been developed to provide support to people at risk of
being drawn into violent extremism.
This document, which draws on best practice and lessons we have learned, provides the
police and local authorities with advice on the implementation of Channel. We have also
described both indicators and causes of violent extremism.
This document should be read in conjunction with other Prevent guidance including ‘The
Prevent Strategy: An Updated Guide for Local Partners’.
Violent extremism is a real and serious threat to us all – violent extremists actively seek
to harm us, to damage community relations and to undermine the values we share.
Channel is an important part of our response.

Debbie Gupta
Director, Prevent, Office for Security and Counter Terrorism, Home Office

DCC Craig Denholm

Association of Chief Police Officers

Neil O’connor
Director, Cohesion and Migration, Communities and Local Government

Foreword Page 3
Channel: Supporting individuals vulnerable to recruitment by violent extremists Page 4
Part 1 Introduction

1.01 The purpose of the Prevent strategy Purpose of this guidance

( is to stop
people becoming terrorists or supporting 1.05 The purpose of this guidance is to:
violent extremism. Prevent is one of the four • provide advice for local authorities
main workstreams of the overall UK strategy and the police on how to implement
for countering international terrorism, Channel type projects
known as CONTEST
( • explain why people may turn towards
terrorism and violent extremism and
1.02 Prevent is included in the describe indicators which may suggest
performance framework for local they are doing so
authorities, the police and other partners
• provide advice on the support that can
through National Indicator 35 (NI 35) and
be provided to protect those at risk of
the Analysis of Policing And Community
being targeted by violent extremists.
Safety (APACS) framework. NI 35, which
applies to all local areas in England, 1.06 This guidance should be used
requires authorities to develop a risk-based alongside:
action plan to tackle violent extremism.
• ‘The UK’s Strategy for Countering
1.03 The Prevent strategy has five International Terrorism (CONTEST)’
objectives. One of these is to “support which sets out the UK’s strategy for
individuals who are vulnerable to countering the threat from international
recruitment or have already been recruited terrorism
by violent extremists”. Channel provides a (
mechanism for assessing and supporting • ‘The Prevent Strategy: A Guide for Local
people who may be targeted by violent Partners in England’ and ‘The Prevent
extremists or drawn in to violent extremism. Strategy: An updated guide for Local
Channel is modelled on other successful Partners’ (
multi-agency risk management processes., which provide advice to
local Prevent partnerships on how to
1.04 All communities are affected by the deliver and manage Prevent, taking
threat from violent extremism but the into account developments in policy,
nature and extent of the threat will vary emerging lessons and good practice
across the country: local responses need to and recent publications
be appropriate and proportionate to local
circumstances. The greatest threat we • The Local Government Association
currently face is from terrorists who claim to (LGA) advice, ‘Leading the preventing
violent extremism agenda: a role
act in the name of Islam, and who
made for councillors’, which provides a
specifically target Muslims. Therefore,
broad overview of Prevent for all local
Prevent activity predominantly takes place
authorities (
in and with Muslim communities. But the
principles of Prevent work apply equally to • ‘Learning together to be safe’: the
other communities who may be the focus of Department for Innovation and
attention from violent extremist groups. Universities and Skills (DIUS) (now
part of the Department for Business,
Innovation and Skills) and Department
for Children Schools and Families
(DCSF) toolkits to help schools and
colleges contribute to the prevention of
violent extremism (

Introduction Page 5
• ‘Association of Chief Police Officers
Part 1 (ACPO) Prevent Strategy and Delivery
Plan’, which sets out the role and
responsibilities of the police in this area
• DCSF advice, ‘Working together to
safeguard children’, which sets out
how individuals and organisations
should work together to safeguard
and promote the welfare of children.

Channel: Supporting individuals vulnerable to recruitment by violent extremists Page 6

Part 2 The key elements

2.01 Channel uses existing collaboration 2.04 Channel coordinators must

between local authorities, the police, understand the communities they serve
statutory partners (such as the education and the challenges they face. It is vital that
sector, social services, children’s and youth communities are not seen only through a
services and offender management counter-terrorist perspective.
services) and the local community to:
2.05 Many coordinators are currently
• identify individuals at risk of being drawn from policing. But local authorities
drawn in to violent extremism and statutory partners can and should also
take on this role.
• assess the nature and extent of that
risk The multi-agency panel
• develop the most appropriate support
2.06 The role of the multi-agency panel is
for the individuals concerned.
to develop an appropriate support package
2.02 Channel programmes will benefit from to safeguard those at risk of being drawn in
a coordinator, a multi-agency panel and to violent extremism based on an
information sharing protocols. Brief details assessment of their vulnerability.
of each of these are given below.
2.07 The panel should be chaired by the
The Channel coordinator local authority and include statutory and
community partners and the Channel
2.03 The primary responsibility of a coordinator. Depending on the nature of the
Channel coordinator is to establish and case the panel may include representatives
maintain a multi-agency process that from the following:
assesses those at risk of being drawn in to
violent extremism and delivers an • police
appropriate response. • local authority Prevent Lead
The role of a Channel coordinator • schools, colleges and universities
• safeguard those at risk through • Youth Offending Services
effective partnership working by
establishing and maintaining a multi- • Directors of Children’s Services
agency panel to enable robust risk
• Common Assessment Framework
assessment and decision making
• develop strong relationships with
• health services
partners to increase understanding
of Channel and vulnerability to violent • UK Border Agency
• social workers
• establish effective relationships with
partners and organisations who can • housing
deliver support.
• prisons
• probation
• local communities, voluntary
organisations and charities.

The key elements Page 7

A multi-agency panel: the options of the Data Protection Act, the Human
Part 2 • a bespoke panel tailored to the needs Rights Act and the Common Law Duty of
of the individual case, including Confidentiality. In engaging with non-public
partners who can offer the appropriate bodies it is good practice to ensure that
support they are aware of their own responsibilities
under the Data Protection Act.
• an existing panel formed for other
referral mechanisms or the local 2.10 The information collected by
Prevent board. This avoids creating new organisations must comply with the relevant
structures and over-burdening partners national guidelines and/or legislation for
with the need to attend multiple the management of information. For the
meetings police, for example, these are outlined in
the Management of Police Information
• a Channel group, perhaps using single
(MOPI) 2006; in particular Section 7 which
points of contact at each agency;
attendance will be dictated by the relates to the review, retention and disposal
nature of the case. of information.

Sharing information

2.08 Channel is not a process for gathering

intelligence. But, in common with other
programmes, it does require the sharing of
personal information about people at risk.
Information sharing must be assessed on a
case by case basis and is governed by
legislation, the details of which are set out
in Annex A. It is good practice to have an
Information Sharing Agreement in place at
local level to facilitate this process and,
wherever possible, to be transparent about
this process.

2.09 The following principles should guide

Prevent information sharing:
Necessity and proportionality:
information should only be shared
where it is strictly necessary to the
intended outcome and proportionate to
it. Key to determining the necessity and
proportionality of sharing information will
be the professional judgement of the risks
to an individual or the public.
wherever possible the consent of the
person concerned should be obtained
before sharing any information about
them. In the absence of consent personal
information cannot be shared without
satisfying one of the gateway or exemption
conditions (see Annex A).
Power to share:
the sharing of data by public sector bodies
requires the existence of a power to do so,
in addition to satisfying the requirements

Channel: Supporting individuals vulnerable to recruitment by violent extremists Page 8

Part 3 Identification

3.01 Channel is a response to the Material

significant threat to this country from Al The following may be relevant:
Qa’ida affiliated, influenced and associated
groups and to the attempts by these groups • possession of violent extremist
literature and imagery in hard copy or
to recruit people from within Muslim
digital form (e.g. so called ‘beheading
communities. But the principles of Prevent
videos’ or amateur film of terrorist
apply equally to other communities who
may be targeted by other violent extremist
groups; the Channel process itself may be • attempts to access, become a member
(and has already been) used locally to of or contribute to violent extremist
assess and support people vulnerable to websites and associated password
radicalisation and violent extremism for protected chat rooms
other reasons. • possession of material regarding
3.02 This section provides examples of weapons and/or explosives
indicators that might suggest vulnerability • possession of literature regarding
to violent extremism and which may military training, skills and techniques.
therefore be useful in the Channel process.
It should not be assumed that the Online communities are important in the
characteristics and experiences set out radicalisation process and enable ready
below necessarily indicate that a person is access to radicalising material which may
not be available in the offline world. Digital
either committed to violent extremism or
content can be made very attractive and
may become a terrorist.
persuasive and can be quickly and widely
3.03 It is also important to emphasise that shared between young people.
the following activities may involve illegality.
Behaviour and behavioural changes
It is not the purpose of Channel to provide
Relevant changes may include: withdrawal
an alternative to the criminal justice system
from family, peers, social events and
for those who have been engaged in illegal
venues; hostility towards former associates
activity. Channel is about early intervention and family; association with proscribed
to protect and divert people away from the organisations; and association with
risk they may face before illegality occurs. organisations which hold extremist views
Indicators that stop short of advocating violence in
this country.
Expressed opinions Personal history
These may include support for violence The following may be relevant:
and terrorism, the leadership of terrorist
organisations and uncompromising • claims or evidence of involvement
rejection of the principle of the rule of in organisations espousing violent
law and of the authority of any elected extremist ideology in this country or
Government in this country. overseas
• claims or evidence of attendance at
military/terrorist training in the UK or
• claims or evidence of involvement in
combat/violent activity, particularly on
behalf of violent extremist non-state

Identification Page 9
• low level criminality, including some 3.06 But there is no single route to violent
Part 3 violence, is also commonly seen in case extremism nor is there a simple profile of
histories of convicted terrorists. those who become involved. For this
reason, any attempt to derive a ‘profile’ can
be misleading. It must not be assumed that
3.04 A large amount of research has been these characteristics and experiences will
conducted on factors which can lead people necessarily lead to individuals becoming
to become involved with terrorism and violent extremists, or that these indicators
violent extremism. This has been are the only source of information required
summarised in recent Government to make an appropriate assessment about
publications on CONTEST and Prevent (1.06 vulnerability.
above). 3.07 Channel coordinators and local
3.05 The decision of an individual to authorities should use their networks to
become involved in violent extremism may highlight the importance of protecting those
reflect the following causes: who are susceptible to being drawn into
violent extremism and to raise awareness
• exposure to an ideology that seems to about how coordinators and the local
sanction, legitimise or require violence, authority can offer support. They should
often by providing a compelling but develop effective links between those
fabricated narrative of contemporary coming into contact with vulnerable
politics and recent history
individuals, such as the education sector,
• exposure to people or groups who can social services, children’s and youth
directly and persuasively articulate that services, offender management services
ideology and then relate it to aspects and credible community organisations. It is
of a person’s own background and life recommended that these organisations
history provide a single point of contact.
• a crisis of identity and, often, 3.08 Organisations who might identify and
uncertainty about belonging which then refer people vulnerable to violent
might be triggered by a range of further extremism include:
personal issues, including experiences
of racism, discrimination, deprivation • local authority
and other criminality (as victim or
perpetrator); family breakdown or • police
separation • schools, colleges and universities
• a range of perceived grievances, some • Youth Offending Services
real and some imagined, to which
there may seem to be no credible and • Children’s Services
effective non violent response.
• Common Assessment Framework
• health services
• UK Border Agency
• social workers
• housing
• prisons

Channel: Supporting individuals vulnerable to recruitment by violent extremists Page 10

• probation
Part 3
• local communities
• voluntary groups
• charities.

Identification Page 11
Part 4 The Channel process



or refer to alternative support

• Determine referral is not malicious, misinformed, or
involves illegality
• Maintain proper record



not appropriate
• Determine suitability (alternative support mechanisms)
• Collective assessment of risk
• Review panel decisions at 6 and 12 months


seek endorsement
• Collective assessment of support needs based on risk and
• Develop action plan
• Identify and procure appropriate support package
• Review progress
• Make recommendations to senior partners involved in the
Preliminary Assessment for endorsement

Delivery of support

Channel: Supporting individuals vulnerable to recruitment by violent extremists Page 12

4.01 This diagram shows the different • the risk the individual faces of being
Part 4 stages within the Channel process: drawn in to violent extremism

Screening referrals • the risk the individual poses to society.

4.02 Any referral received should initially 4.07 The preliminary assessment ensures
be screened by the Channel coordinator that only cases appropriate for Channel
and his or her line manager. A referral continue to the next stage for a needs
should not continue through the Channel assessment and the development of an
process if: appropriate support package.

• it is malicious or misguided 4.08 The Channel process is not for people

in custody. Individuals under the care and
• the person’s engagement with the welfare of the National Offender
process would compromise or interfere Management Service (NOMS) will be
with ongoing investigations into illegal managed by NOMS. Where people are
being released into the community, and
• it is clear the person is not vulnerable there are concerns about their vulnerability,
to violent extremism. NOMS will consider whether the individual
should be included in or should exit the
4.03 The vulnerability indicators outlined in Channel process.
Part 3 can act as a general guide when
assessing referrals. However, it must not be 4.09 In some cases it may not be
assumed that these characteristics and appropriate for an individual to continue
experiences will directly lead to individuals through Channel because they are involved
becoming violent extremists, or that these in a different statutory support mechanism,
indicators are the only basis on which to such as Multi Agency Public Protection
make an appropriate decision at this stage. Arrangements (MAPPA) or child protection
arrangements. Channel should not replace
4.04 It is important to ensure that good those referral systems. In such cases,
records are kept at all stages of the process. ownership of the case will rest with the
All information and decision making should relevant statutory support mechanism and
be recorded throughout each stage of the the referral may exit the Channel process.
Multi Agency Public Protection
Preliminary assessment Arrangements (MAPPA)
4.05 The preliminary assessment is led by The Criminal Justice Act (2003) places
the Channel coordinator and will include his a duty on the Responsible Authority –
or her line manager and senior statutory police, probation and prison services
partners (such as the local authority, the – to ensure that MAPPA are established
police, offender management services, in their area for the assessment and
children’s and youth services and the management of risk of all identified
education sector (see paragraph 2.07)). MAPPA offenders (see MAPPA Guidance
4.06 At this meeting partners should protecting-the-public/supervision/mappa).
collectively assess the risk and decide These three organisations work together
whether the referral: to put robust arrangements in place to
manage people who pose a serious risk
• is vulnerable to violent extremism and of harm to others on their release from
therefore appropriate for Channel. custody. Close involvement of other
• should be referred to a different partner agencies such as social services,
support mechanism. local authority housing, health services
and youth offending teams assist in the
• should exit the process. process. Once an offender has been
referred into MAPPA, it is the responsibility
In assessing the risk, consideration should
of the MAPPA agencies to undertake a
be given to:

The Channel process Page 13

rigorous risk assessment and construct 4.14 In assessing referrals, the panel may
Part 4 a risk management plan to minimise the conclude that the individual is better suited
potential danger an offender poses. to alternative support providers, or that
further assessment indicates that the
4.10 If the referred individual is under the
individual is not vulnerable to being drawn
age of 18, or where the local authority has a
in to violent extremism. In such cases, the
legal duty of care, the Channel coordinator
panel should make their recommendations
must liaise with the local Common
to the senior partners involved in the
Assessment Framework (CAF) coordinator
preliminary assessment meeting.
or social care office in Children and Young
People’s Services. For referrals of children 4.15 All cases exiting Channel at this stage
and young people statutory arrangements should be reviewed at 6 and 12 months,
for safeguarding children must take from the point at which they exit the
precedent. See process, by senior managers involved in the
everychildmatters for more information. preliminary assessment.
Case History: Learning from partners 4.16 If the panel considers that support to
A referral was received from the Local reduce vulnerability to violent extremism is
Authority Youth Offending Service (YOS) required, they should devise an appropriate
who were concerned about an individual’s support package. This should take the form
offending history and general vulnerability. of an action plan setting out details of the
Further research with local authority statutory or community partners who will
partners revealed the individual had lead on delivery of the support (see below).
links to street gangs and was committing Consideration must also be given to
gang-related crime; however, there was potential risks posed to the provider of any
no information to suggest the individual
support package. The action plan should
was in any way exhibiting violent extremist
highlight identified behaviours and risks
behaviour. The case was not suitable for
this process and was referred to an agency that need to be addressed. This will assist in
more suited to deal with his vulnerability. case reviews and evaluating the
effectiveness of the support package.
Multi-agency panel

4.11 Following the preliminary

assessment, and confirmation that the case
is appropriate to continue through Channel,
the referral should pass to the multi-agency

4.12 Using the vulnerability indicators (set

out in part 3) and their professional
expertise, the panel will develop a support
package based on the earlier risk
assessment, the needs of the individual
and any risks posed to potential support

4.13 Multi-agency panel members may

consider sharing personal information with
each other, for the purposes of Channel,
subject to a case by case assessment of
necessity, proportionality and lawfulness.
Wherever possible, the informed consent of
the individual should be obtained (see
paragraph 2.09 above).

Channel: Supporting individuals vulnerable to recruitment by violent extremists Page 14

Part 5 Developing support packages

5.01 This section provides guidance for the • faith guidance: helping an individual
coordinator and the multi-agency panel on to develop their knowledge of religion,
developing a support package for those to better challenge the claims of some
individuals identified as vulnerable to being violent extremist ideologies
drawn into violent extremism. • civic engagement: exploring political
5.02 Providers of support can include engagement, civil challenge, human
statutory and community partners. The rights, social justice and citizenship
panel must discuss and decide how to • working with support networks:
connect the referred individual with the engaging family and peers to provide
support provider. The level of information help for the person concerned
shared with and about the individual to
enable effective assessment and, if • mainstream services: education;
employment; health; and housing.
appropriate, delivery of any support
package should be determined on a case by 5.06 Many of these services may already
case basis. All decision making should be be provided in a local area. Where the
clearly documented and in line with the multi-agency panel identifies gaps in
guidance on the sharing of information (see provision they should liaise with their
Annex A). Government Office or local authority Prevent
lead or Prevent partnership to identify how
5.03 The multi-agency panel is responsible
the gap can be addressed.
for ensuring delivery of the action plan but
not for managing or funding the support 5.07 Those providing support to vulnerable
provider(s). The Government Office and people need to be credible with the referred
local authority Prevent leads for each area individuals and to understand the local
will have information on Prevent-specific community. They have an important role
support services that are available. In some and their reliability, trustworthiness and
circumstances it may be appropriate to commitment to the shared values which
make referrals to mainstream local underpin CONTEST itself need to be
provision such as education and established. Multi-agency panels should
employment services. make the necessary checks to be assured
of the suitability of support providers,
5.04 The type of activities included in a
including Criminal Records Bureau checks
support package will depend on risk,
for those seeking to work with young people
vulnerability and local resources. To
and vulnerable adults.
illustrate, a diversionary activity may be
sufficient for someone who is in the early 5.08 In all cases, service and support
stages of radicalisation to violence, whereas providers should be linked in with other
a more focussed and structured one-on-one local partners, perhaps through the Local
mentoring programme may be required for Strategic Partnership or the Community
those who are already radicalised. Safety Partnership. This will ensure that
support packages for individuals are
5.05 The following support programmes
coordinated, complementary and properly
might be considered:
monitored. The local authority Prevent lead
• counselling: providing advice and should also be involved, to keep track of
support in dealing with a range of and support community-based services in
personal issues that could create particular.

Developing support packages Page 15

Part 6 Appraisal and review

6.01 The Channel coordinator is a period of working with the boy they
responsible for regularly liaising with the became satisfied that he did not actually
support provider and for assessing progress hold extreme and violent views. He was,
with the multi-agency support panel. however, vulnerable in other ways. The
boy went into the care of foster parents
6.02 If the panel is satisfied that the risk and his school attendance and behavior
has been successfully reduced or managed subsequently improved. The support
they should recommend that the case exit provider remains in contact with him.
the process. A closing report should be
Case history: community based
completed as soon as possible setting out
the evidence for the panel’s
recommendations. The recommendations A boy was referred by his school; they
will need to be endorsed by the senior had concerns about his behaviour which
managers involved in the preliminary included comments he had made about
wanting ‘to go to Iraq and kill Americans’.
A community youth group, that provides
6.03 If the panel is not satisfied that the social activities along with ideological
risk has been reduced or managed, the mentoring, challenged the boy’s violent
case should be reconsidered. A new action feelings towards non-Muslims. By
plan should be developed and alternative following a set programme which included
support put in place. If the risk has educational support, Islamic education,
mentoring and working with the boy’s
increased the case must be referred back to
mother to reinforce the work being
senior managers involved in the preliminary
carried out, the individual now appears
assessment as soon as possible. to be more resilient to being drawn into
6.04 All cases should be reviewed at 6 and violent extremism. He continues to be a
12 months, from the point at which they exit regular attendee at the youth group.
the process, by senior managers involved in Key contacts:
the preliminary assessment. All decisions
and actions should be fully recorded. Home Office
Case history: providing support
A member of the public told a Association of Chief Police Officers
Police Officer from their local Safer
Neighbourhood Team of their concerns
Communities and Local Government
about a 15 year old male who had recently
converted to Islam. The information was
initially vague and uncorroborated but
the member of the public believed that
the boy was prepared to give his life for
his religion. Further research failed to
reveal information indicating extremist
tendencies, but did reveal violent behavior
and street gang affiliation. A panel meeting
was held and the subject was referred
to provider specialising in working with
young converts. Provision of support was
conducted through a series of one to one
meetings and group activities. Through
this interaction the providers explored the
boy’s interpretation of Islam and following

Channel: Supporting individuals vulnerable to recruitment by violent extremists Page 16

Annex A: Sharing information with partners

Principles of information sharing whether discussion of a case is possible

with anonymised information, for example,
Effective information sharing is key to the referring to “the young person” without
delivery of Prevent, so that partners are the need to give the individual’s name,
able to take appropriately informed action. address or any other information which
This will sometimes require the sharing of might identify them.
personal information between partners;
this is particularly the case for Objective 3 Each case should be judged on its own
of the Prevent Strategy, where sharing of merits, and the following questions should
information will be central to providing the be considered when sharing information:
best support to vulnerable individuals.
• what information you are intending to
Key principle pass
Partners may consider sharing personal • to whom you are intending to pass the
information with each other for Prevent information
purposes, subject to a case by case basis
assessment which considers whether the • why you are intending to pass the
informed consent of the individual can be information (i.e. with what expected
obtained and the proposed sharing being outcome)
necessary, proportionate and lawful.
• the legal basis on which the information
Any sharing of personal or sensitive is to be passed.
personal data should be considered
carefully, particularly where the consent
of the individual is not to be obtained. The default should be to consider
The legal framework within which public seeking the consent of the individual to
sector data sharing takes place is often share information. There will, of course,
complex, although there is a significant be circumstances in which seeking
amount of guidance already available. It the consent of the individual will not
is considered good practice to have an be desirable or possible, because it
Information Sharing Agreement in place will prejudice delivery of the intended
at local level to facilitate the sharing of outcome, and there may be gateways or
information. In addition to satisfying the exemptions which permit sharing to take
legal and policy requirements (see below), place without consent. If you cannot seek
there are some principles which should or obtain consent, or consent is refused,
guide Prevent information sharing. you cannot share personal information
Necessary and proportionate without satisfying one of the gateway or
exemption conditions. Compliance with
The overriding principles are necessity and the Data Protection Act and Human Rights
proportionality. It should be confirmed by Act are significantly simplified by having
those holding information that to conduct the subject’s consent. The Information
the work in question it is necessary to Commissioner has indicated that consent
share the information they hold. Only should be informed and unambiguous,
the information required to have the particularly in the case of sensitive
desired outcome should be shared, personal information. If consent is sought,
and only to those partners necessary. the individual should understand how their
Key to determining the necessity and information will be used, and for what
proportionality of sharing information purpose.
will be the professional judgement of
the risks to an individual or the public.
Consideration should also be given to

Annex A: Sharing information with partners Page 17

Power to share should consider ways to share the
Annex A information which needs to be shared to
The sharing of data by public sector bodies enable partners to provide the necessary
requires the existence of a power to do so, response. Consideration about whether it
in addition to satisfying the requirements is appropriate for an individual to be vetted
of the Data Protection Act, the Human should be decided at a local level and
Rights Act and the common law duty of on a case-by-case basis, depending on
confidentiality. Some statutes confer an requirement and necessity.
express power to share information for a
particular purpose (such as section 115 of Legislation and guidance relevant to
the Crime and Disorder Act 1998). More information sharing
often, however, it will be possible to imply
a power to share information because Although not an exhaustive list, the
it is necessary for the fulfilment of an following acts and statutory instruments
organisation’s statutory functions. The may be relevant. The original legislation
power to share information arises only as can be found at the Statute Law Database
a consequence of an organisation having (
the power to carry out an action which is Data Protection Act (DPA) 1998
dependent on the sharing of information.
The DPA is the principal legislation
Having established a power to share governing the process (including
information, it should be confirmed collection, storage and disclosure) of data
that there are no bars to sharing relating to individuals. The Act defines
information, either because of a duty of personal data (as information by which
confidentiality or because of the right an individual can be identified (ether
to privacy enshrined in Article 8 of the on its own or with other information))
European Convention on Human Rights. and sensitive personal data (including
Finally, it will also be necessary to ensure information about an individual’s health,
compliance with the Data Protection criminal record, and political or religious
Act, either by meeting the processing views), and the circumstances in and
conditions in Schedules 2 and 3, or by extent to which they can be processed.
relying on one of the exemptions (such The Act also details the rights of data
as section 29 for the prevention of subjects.
crime). Further details of the overarching
All of the eight Data Protection Principles
legislation and some potentially relevant
(which are listed in Part 1 of Schedule 1
gateways are set out below.
to the Act) must be complied with when
Where non-public bodies (such as sharing personal data but the first data
community organisations) are involved in protection principle is particularly relevant.
delivery of Prevent work, you may need to The first data protection principle states
pass personal and sensitive information that personal data shall be processed:
to them and your approach to information (1) fairly, (2) lawfully (meaning that there
sharing should be the same – i.e that it is is the power to share and other statutory
necessary, proportionate and lawful. In and common law obligations must be
engaging with non-public bodies to the complied with), and (3) only if a condition
extent of providing personal information, in Schedule 2 and, if sensitive personal
it is good practice to ensure that they are data is involved, Schedule 3 is met. All
aware of their own responsibilities under three of these requirements must be met
the Data Protection Act. to comply with the first data protection
principle. The DPA cannot render lawful
Vetting any processing which would otherwise
be unlawful. If compliance with the Data
Sharing information to prevent violent
Protection Principles is not possible,
extremism should not be impeded by
then one of the exemptions (such as the
issues surrounding vetting. If there is a
prevention of crime under section 29 of
requirement for the sharing of material
the Data Protection Act 1998) may apply.
above restricted level the need for vetting
need not be a barrier. Practitioners

Channel: Supporting individuals vulnerable to recruitment by violent extremists Page 18

Data Protection (Processing of Sensitive working within or under contract to NHS
Annex A Personal Data) Order 2000 organisations.
This Statutory Instrument (SI 2000/417) Gateways, exemptions and
specifies further conditions under which explicit powers
sensitive personal information can be
processed, including conditions where the Crime and Disorder Act 1998
processing must necessarily be carried
Section 115 confers a power to disclose
out without the explicit consent of the
information to a “relevant authority” on
data subject. Of particular relevance to
any person who would not otherwise have
Prevent are paragraph 1 (for the purposes
such a power, where the disclosure is
of prevention or detection of crime),
necessary or expedient for the purposes
and paragraph 4 (for the discharge of
of any provision of the Act. The “relevant
any function which is designed for the
authority” includes a chief officer of
provision of confidential counselling,
police in England, Wales or Scotland, a
advice, support or any other service).
police authority, a local authority, a health
The first data principle states that personal authority, a social landlord or a probation
data shall be processed fairly and lawfully, board in England and Wales. It also
meaning that other statutory and common includes an individual acting on behalf
law obligations must be complied with, of the relevant authority. The purposes
and that the DPA cannot render lawful of the Crime and Disorder Act include,
any processing which would otherwise be under section 17, a duty for the relevant
unlawful. Schedules 2 and 3 of the Act authorities to do all that they reasonably
provide the conditions necessary to fulfil can to prevent crime and disorder in their
the requirements of the first principle. area.

Human Rights Act (HRA) 1998 Common law powers

Article 8 of the European Convention on Because the range of partners with whom
Human Rights (which is given effect by the the police deal has grown – including
HRA) provides that “everyone has the right the public, private and voluntary sectors,
to respect for his private and family life, there may not be either an implied
his home and his correspondence”, and or explicit statutory power to share
that public authorities shall not interfere information in every circumstance. This
with “the exercise of this right except such does not necessarily mean that police
as is in accordance with the law and is cannot share the information, because
necessary in a democratic society in the it is often possible to use the common
interests of national security, public safety law. The decision to share using common
or the economic well-being of the country, law will be based on establishing a
for the prevention of disorder or crime, for policing purpose for the activity that the
the protection of health or morals, or for information sharing will support, as well as
the protection of the rights and freedoms an assessment of any risk.
of others”.
The Code of Practice on the Management
Common law duty of confidentiality of Police Information (MoPI) defines
policing purposes as: protecting life and
The key principle built up from case law
property, preserving order, preventing
is that information confided should not
the commission of offences, bringing
be used or disclosed further, except as
offenders to justice, and any duty or
originally understood by the confider, or
responsibility of the police arising from
with their subsequent permission. Case
common or statute law.
law has established that exceptions can
exist “in the public interest”; confidentiality Local Government Act 1972
can also be overridden or set aside by
Section 111 provides for local authorities
to have “power to do any thing…which is
The Department of Health has produced a calculated to facilitate, or is conducive or
code of conduct concerning confidentiality, incidental to, the discharge of any of their
which is required practice for those functions”.

Annex A: Sharing information with partners Page 19

Local Government Act 2000
Annex A Section 2(1) provides that every local
authority shall have the power to do
anything which they consider is likely to
achieve the promotion or improvement
of the economic, social or environmental
wellbeing of the area.

National Health Service Act 2006 and

Health and Social Care Act 2001
Section 251 of the NHSA and Section
60 of the HSCA provides a power for the
Secretary of State to make regulations
governing the processing of patient

Offender Management Act 2007

Section 14 of the OMA enables disclosure
of information to or from providers of
probation services, by or to Government
departments, local authorities, Youth
Justice Board, Parole Board, chief officers
of police and relevant contractors,
where the disclosure is for the probation
purposes (as defined in section 1 of the
Act) or other purposes connected with the
management of offenders.
Existing guidance

Information Sharing – Guidance for

Public Sector Data Sharing – Guidance on
the Law.
Information Commissioners Office
Guidance on Interpretation of the DPA
Confidentiality NHS Code of Practice
Caldicott Guardian Manual

Channel: Supporting individuals vulnerable to recruitment by violent extremists Page 20

Annex B Annex B: Freedom of Information

All local areas need to have in place, and individual force FoI departments. In
or access to, arrangements to support line with established good practice, all
those vulnerable to being drawn in to FoI requests received by a police force,
violent extremism. It is advised that all regarding Channel should be forwarded to
local areas and police forces follow the the relevant police force FoI department.
recommended approach to dealing with They will liaise with the ACPO FoI Central
FoI requests. Referral Unit that will coordinate a
All recorded information held by a
public authority is covered by the right Partners
to information under the Freedom of
Information (FoI) Act. Within the Act there To achieve a consistent approach in
is a presumption in favour of disclosure to responding to FoI requests, and to protect
enhance greater openness in the public third parties, all local partners who receive
sector and thus enable members of the an FoI request should notify the local
public to better understand the decisions Channel coordinator. The coordinator is
of public authorities and ensure that responsible for the management and
services provided by the public sector maintenance of information related to
are seen to be efficiently and properly Channel cases and will be responsible
delivered. We want, as far as possible, for consulting with the ACPO FoI Central
to be open and transparent about the Referral Unit or the National Prevent
Channel process. Delivery Unit (ACPO); they will advise if
any further consultation is necessary,
The Act recommends that it is good for example, with central government
practice to consider the implications of the departments.
release of the information on third parties
when complying with FoI legislation. Key FoI police contacts:
In the context of Channel third parties
may include local and national delivery ACPO TAM Prevent Delivery Unit
partners and referred individuals. The National Channel Coordinator, ACPO TAM
section 45 Code of Practice of the FoI Prevent Delivery Unit 10 Victoria Street,
Act facilitates consideration by public Westminster, London, SW1H 0NN
authorities of the interests of third parties
and stakeholders who may be affected
by any decision to disclose information 0207 084 8711
by setting standards for consultation.
All public authority partners involved in ACPO FoI Central Referral Unit
Channel may be subject to FoI requests.
If an FoI request is made all information
will need to be assessed against FoI 0844 8929 010
legislation to see if it is disclosable or not.
All requests for the release of information
held must be assessed on a case by case
Police forces

ACPO FoI Central Referral Unit is

a department that facilitates the
dissemination of guidance and advice
in relation to FoI requests received by
the police. There are existing protocols
between ACPO FoI Central Referral Unit

Annex B: Freedom of information Page 21

Published by the Home Office, March 2010
© Crown Copyright
ISBN: 978-1-84987-209-6