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FOI 0125 2019/20 Prevent Referrals

Freedom of Information Request: 0125 2019/20

For each financial year (April 2017 – March 2018 and April 2018 – March 2019 or as close to these time frames as possible), please provide: 

A) The number of Prevent referrals made by your Trust

B) The number of your Trust’s Prevent referrals that have been discussed at the Channel Panel

C) The number of people that your Trust referred under Prevent who received Channel support


For A), B) and C) can you please provide where possible the numbers distributed by:

  • Whether the referral was made by a mental health service/department, or a non-mental health service/department
  • The ethnic groups of the referred people
  • The religious/faith groups of the referred people
  • The type of concern


The Trust does hold this information, however, following review we have come to the decision to withhold the information under sections 24 (1) and 31 (1) (a) of the Freedom of Information Act.

Section 24 (1) provides that information is exempt from disclosure if it is required for the purpose of safeguarding national security. National security is not limited to the security of the UK, its military defence and its systems of government. The term includes co-operation with other states in combating national terrorism and guarding against actions targeted at other states which may impact on the UK and its citizens. The requested information is therefore covered by this exemption. Section 31 (1) (a) covers all aspects of the prevention and detection of crime. It covers information held by public authorities without any specific law enforcement responsibilities, particularly where such information was provided by the public authority to a law enforcement agency as part of an investigation. It furthermore covers information which renders anyone, including the public authority itself, more vulnerable to crime. The information you requested is information which is disclosed to law enforcement agencies for the prevention and detection of crime. Its disclosure would undermine such efforts and has the potential to put the public at greater risk as further explained below under the ‘public interest’ section.

In reaching our decision, we have also considered the public interest test.

Considerations in favour of disclosure

  • The Prevent programme is high profile and it is important for the public to understand how it is operated and if it is being used effectively by the NHS.


  • It is in the public interest to understand what action the government is taking to protect communities.

Considerations against disclosure

  • There is a serious terrorist threat to the United Kingdom, and placing this information into the public domain could potentially put national security at risk by either jeopardising or negating efforts to prevent acts of terrorism and terrorist related crime.


  • Disclosure may reduce the effectiveness of Prevent as a counter-terrorism strategy and ultimately lead to increased risk of crime and risk to the public.


  • Releasing specific information would increase fears around the identification of individuals and partners involved in the process – irrespective of whether identification actually takes place.


  • The public interest favouring disclosure assumes that referral locations are in fact in the areas of greatest risk and threat. This assumption may lead to unwanted wider assumptions being made about the level of radicalisation and terrorist activity taking place in a particular location. This could raise alarm and lead to an increased risk of community tensions and public order issues.


  • This information, put together with other information already in the public domain could allow a detailed picture of Prevent and Channel engagement to be drawn across the country. This may reveal a pattern across the country which may then be used to undermine the Prevent and Channel programmes.


  • It could undermine our ability to identify and protect vulnerable people referred into the programme.


  • It could reveal information about communities which can be misinterpreted and this can be presented in a way which is not conducive to serving the public interest in fostering safe and communities.


The Trust recognises that there is a public interest in the disclosure of information which facilitates the accountability and transparency of public bodies for decisions taken by them. However, there is also a public interest in safeguarding national security and protecting the ability of public authorities to detect and or prevent criminal activity.  Having undertaken the public interest test, the Trust has concluded that the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the requested information.

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