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Escalating professional differences

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The WSSCB have produced a multi-agency WSSCB Escalation Policy 2017. This outlines what you should do when faced with a  professional disagreement.

This policy is accompanied by a Template to inform the WSSCB of escalations. Telling us about escalations enables us to identify common issues which lead to professional disagreements, and take action to prevent the issues arising in the future.

Contact details for Level 2 escalations (manager to manager) can be found below:

Escalation policy training slides are available for teams to use when considering their use of the Escalation policy

Occasionally situations arise when workers within one agency feel that the decision made by a worker from another agency is either not safe or not in the best interests of a child; this may relate to professional involvement in early help services, children in need, child protection or children looked after.

Effective working together depends on an open approach and honest relationships between agencies. Problem resolution is an integral part of professional co-operation and joint working to safeguard children.

Ensuring the safety of individual children is the paramount consideration in resolving any professional disagreement.

As professionals, we should always be curious about why decisions are made and question if we do not feel this is right. Whatever agency we are from, we should feel confident and able to challenge decision-making. We have a professional responsibility to promote the best multi-agency safeguarding practice and therefore raising such concerns is an entirely legitimate activity.

If we are on the receiving end of a professional challenge we should see this as an opportunity to reflect on our decision making.

.The WSSCB Escalation Policy 2017 provides workers with the means to raise concerns they have about decisions made by other professionals or agencies by:

  • Encouraging professional curiosity
  • Avoiding professional disputes that put children at risk or obscure the focus on the child
  • Resolving the difficulties within and between agencies quickly and openly
  • Identifying problem areas in working together where there is a lack of clarity and to promote the resolution via amendment to protocols and procedures

Resolution of the issues raised should be sought within the shortest possible timescale to ensure the child’s safety and best interests are safeguarded. Disagreements should be resolved at the lowest possible stage. However if a child is thought to be at risk of immediate harm, discretion should be used as to which stage is initiated.

Issues relating to looked after children should be taken up with the Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO), who has a role in  overseeing services for looked after children. For Child Protection conferences, make sure you utilise the Child Protection Chairs / Advisor