All professionals need to work together in order to make sure that the children and young people remain safe, however there will be times when disagreements arise. There is an agreed escalation policy (PDF, 396KB) for escalating issues to ensure that this does not impact on outcomes for the child or young person.
The purpose of the escalation policy is to ensure partner agencies have a quick and straightforward means of resolving professional disagreements (sometimes known as dispute resolution).
Effective working together depends on resolving disagreements promptly to the satisfaction of workers and agencies and in the best interests of children and families.
At no time must professional disagreement detract from ensuring a child is safeguarded. The child’s welfare and safety must remain paramount throughout.
When working with children and their families professional disagreement can be positive, as challenge allows for review and can foster creative ways of working, however, if a resolution is not reached then this can impact negatively on positive working relationships and consequently on the ability to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. Discussions took place with practitioners from across the partnership and the timeliness and effectiveness of frontline management responses at Stage 2 of the escalation process was identified as the most significant obstacle in achieving effective, evidenced challenge. This stage of the process now includes a timescale for responses to support frontline managers to identify what issues require their immediate attention and those issues that are less urgent. This will help to create shared understanding about the priority level of an issue and expected timescales for responses. Please see below:
1. When escalating concern a practitioner and their manager will assess if this is a safeguarding issue which requires a response within 24 hours; or if it is a less urgent matter within 10 working days. Examples of less urgent matters would include non provision of meeting notes, copies of plans etc.
2. The next step is to telephone the frontline manager with a response time already identified. If the frontline manager is not available a message must be left identifying that the call is in relation to a professional safeguarding challenge along with the required response time.
3. The telephone call will always be followed up with an email copied to both the frontline manager and to a central inbox identified for their team (appendix 5). The subject line should state ‘Professional Safeguarding Challenge’ along with the required response time. The rationale for a response within 24 hours to be evidenced by the individual raising the need for escalation. Frontline managers must then commit to respond within the agreed timescales
4. If resolution is not achieved using this process then the more formal escalation process will be entered into.
To increase practitioner confidence to use this process Professional Challenge training is being delivered by the CESCP.
See the SPOC (single point of contact) list (PDF, 99KB) for Partnership Challenge and Escalation
For further guidance see the Professional Challenge 7 Minute Guide