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Prevent Guidance

Related guidance


This chapter was refreshed in March 2024 and links added to additional guidance in Further Information.

March 11, 2024

This guidance refers to the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 (the CT&S Act), which sets out the duty on local authorities and partners to provide support for people susceptible to supporting terrorism or becoming a terrorist.

The Channel Panel is crucial to preventing terrorism; this Panel is chaired by the local authority and provides a multi-agency approach to managing the risks of those susceptible to supporting terrorism or becoming a terrorist.

The Prevent Strategy, published by the Government in 2011 and refreshed in 2018, is part of our overall Counter-Terrorism Strategy, CONTEST. The aim of the Prevent Strategy is to reduce the threat to the UK from terrorism by stopping people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism.

The 2018 Prevent Strategy has three specific strategic objectives:

  • Tackle the causes of radicalisation and respond to the ideological challenges of terrorism;
  • Safeguard and support those most at risk of radicalisation through early intervention, identifying them and offering support;
  • Enable those who have already engaged in terrorism to disengage and rehabilitate.

“Safeguarding vulnerable people from radicalisation is no different from safeguarding them from other forms of harm” – The Prevent Strategy.

Extremism: The vocal or active opposition to our fundamental values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs. We also include in our definition of extremism calls for the death of members of our armed forces.

Terrorism: The use or threat of action, both in and outside of the UK, designed to influence any international government organisation or to intimidate the public. It must also be for the purpose of advancing a political, religious, racial or ideological cause.

The Prevent Duty is concerned with all forms of terrorism and extremism. It also includes some forms of nonviolent extremism:

  • Extreme Right Wing;
  • Islamist;
  • Extreme Left Wing;
  • School Massacre;
  • Involuntary Celibate (Incel).

From the 1st July 2015, under section 26 of the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015, the Prevent Duty requires that, in the exercise of their functions, specified authorities have “due regard to the need to prevent people from becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism”.

This places a duty on:

  • Schools;
  • Registered Childcare Providers;
  • Local Authorities; and
  • Other specified institutions to prevent people being drawn into terrorism and extremism.

The Prevent duty sits alongside Working Together to Safeguard Children and Keeping Children Safe in Education statutory guidance.

Local authorities have a statutory duty to safeguard children, young people and adults. The Children Act 2004 places duties on a range of organisations and individuals to ensure their functions (including any that are contracted out) to have regard to the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. It covers schools, colleges, universities, health, local authorities, police, and prisons.

Working Together to Safeguard Children is relevant; this sets out the legislative requirements and expectations in individual services to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. Local authorities are required to have Local Safeguarding Children Partnerships (HSCP) and Safeguarding Adults Boards (HSAB) in their area, which provide strategic leadership.

It is essential that statutory partners ensure that children, young people and adults are protected from harm. Whilst the Channel provisions are aimed at preventing terrorism, the way in which Channel is delivered may often overlap with the implementation of the wider safeguarding duty, especially where vulnerabilities have been identified that require intervention from social care, or where the individual is already known to Children’s Services.

Channel is a programme which focuses on providing support at an early stage to young people and adults who are identified as being susceptible to supporting terrorism or becoming a terrorist. The programme uses a multi-agency approach to protect people by:

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

Channel Panels assess the extent to which identified individuals are susceptible to supporting terrorism or becoming a terrorist, and where appropriate, arrange for support to be provided. When assessing Prevent referrals, local authorities and their partners should consider how best to align these with assessments undertaken under the Children Act 1989. The Children Act 1989 promotes the view that all children and their parents should be considered as individuals and that family structures, culture, religion, ethnic origins and other characteristics should be respected. Local authorities should ensure they support and promote fundamental British values, of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs (Working Together to Safeguard Children).

Prevent referrals are carefully assessed to see if they are suitable for Channel. For those cases where it is assessed there is a risk of radicalisation, a multi-agency Channel panel chaired by the local authority will meet to discuss the referral and decide on what tailored package of support can be offered to the individual (Factsheet: Prevent and Channel).

A referral to Prevent can come from anyone who is concerned about a person they know who may be at risk, whether a family member, friend, colleague or concerned professional (through their normal safeguarding process).

If a person, child or adult is at immediate risk, report this to the Police through 999 and follow the school’s child protection procedure where appropriate.

NOTICE - Are you worried that a child is at risk of extremist behaviour or radicalisation?

  • Observe concern, listen to disclosure;
  • Record concern on organisations safeguarding recording form;
  • Talk with Prevent Designated Safeguarding Person in line with localised process.

CHECK - Speak with the child / young person to get a better understanding of what they are saying.

If appropriate check with parent unless it could put the child / young person at further risk of harm:

SHARE - If Practitioner still has concerns, make referral:

  • Complete Prevent Referral and send to Hertfordshire Prevent at;
  • Remember: consent is NOT needed when making Prevent referrals;
  • Consent will be sort if concern is adopted by the Channel Panel;
  • Update your organization's recording systems.

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Last Updated: March 11, 2024