SEFTON LSCB Safeguarding Policies and Procedures Online Manual

    18.4 Local Support

    Last updated 18/05/2017

    (See also Section 7 for contact numbers)

    Sefton has a dedicated CHANNEL Co-ordinator who is a Police Sergeant based at Merseyside Police Headquarters. The Coordinator’s responsibilities are :

    • Managing cases through the Channel process in accordance with the Channel guidance and case management principles;
    • Increasing understanding of Channel amongst statutory and voluntary sector partners;
    • Establishing effective relationships with partners and organisations who can deliver support; and
    • Managing any risk associated with the individual’s potential involvement in criminality associated with terrorism.

    The primary responsibility of a Channel is to establish and maintain a multi-agency process that assesses those at risk of being drawn into terrorism.

    On receipt of a referral Channel police practitioners use their professional judgement, to make an initial assessment of its suitability for Channel. A review of the information available must show a concern that the individual is vulnerable to radicalisation.

    If this link is not present the case should not be managed under Channel and should exit the process. If the initial information shows a vulnerability that is not related to radicalisation then the case is not suitable for Channel and should be signposted to other more appropriate support services. This will ensure that only those cases where there is a genuine vulnerability to being drawn into terrorism are processed through Channel.

    At this stage Prevent Lead for Sefton and the SPOC is notified that a referral has been made.

    Vulnerability Assessment Framework - Channel assesses vulnerability using a consistently applied vulnerability assessment framework built around three dimensions. The three dimensions are:

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

    The three dimensions are assessed by considering 22 factors that can contribute to vulnerability (13 associated with engagement, 6 that relate to intent and 3 for capability). Completing a full assessment for all 22 factors requires thorough knowledge of the individual that may not be available at the point of the initial referral. The Channel Team are responsible for contacting other agencies and collecting information to build a clear picture of the individual. These factors taken together form a rounded view of the vulnerability of the individual that will inform decisions on whether the individual needs support and what kind of support package may be appropriate.

    Following the preliminary assessment and confirmation that the case is appropriate to continue through Channel, the referral is passed to the Local Authority Lead for Children's Services or Adult Services as appropriate, identifying the risk and the need for intervention and support.

    The Local Authority Lead will then in consultation with the SPOC, who will Chair the Panel and Channel Practitioners convene a multi- agency panel.

    The multi-agency panel, using their professional expertise, will develop a support package. This will be based on a review of the vulnerability assessment completed by the Channel police practitioner at the preliminary assessment stage, the needs of the individual and any risks posed to potential support providers.

    The Multi-agency panel members will share 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. The Panel may conclude that the individual is better suited to alternative support mechanisms or that further assessment indicates that the individual is not vulnerable to being drawn into terrorism. In such cases the Chair of the panel is responsible for confirming the recommendation and ensuring that the decision is properly recorded. All cases exiting at this stage should be reviewed at 6 and 12 months.

    If the Panel consider that support to reduce vulnerability of being drawn into terrorist-related activity is required, they devise an appropriate support package. This will take the form of a support plan setting out details of the statutory or community partners who will lead on delivery of the support by approved providers. All decisions will be properly recorded.

    The aim is to ensure an early identification of individuals’ vulnerabilities and promote a coordinated response, wherever possible within universal provision (Tier 1) or through targeted interventions (Tier 2) and in the case of children and young people the Early Help process. The emphasis should be on supporting vulnerable individuals, rather than informing on or ’spotting’ those with radical or extreme views.

    While the nature of the risk may raise security issues, the process should not be seen as different from dealing with the likelihood of significant harm or vulnerability due to the exposure to other influences.

    Consideration should be given to the possibility that sharing information about the concerns with the parents/carers may increase the risk to the child/adult at risk and therefore may not be appropriate at the referral stage

    Consideration should also be given to the need for an emergency response - this will be extremely rare but examples are where there is information that a violent act is imminent or where weapons or other materials may be in the possession of a young person/adult at risk or member of their family. In this situation a 999 call to the Police must be made.

    Where there is involvement as a result of the concerns, any provision of services should be subject to regular reviews until it is deemed appropriate to end the agreed response.