Quick Exit

Escalating Concerns

Differences of opinion, concerns and issues can arise for practitioners at work and it is important they are resolved as effectively and swiftly as possible. Having different professional perspectives within safeguarding practice is a sign of a healthy and well-functioning partnership. These differences of opinion are usually resolved by discussion and negotiation between the practitioners concerned. It is essential that where differences of opinion arise they do not adversely affect the outcomes for children, young people or adults and are resolved in a constructive and timely manner.

Differences could arise in a number of areas of multi-agency working as well as within single agency working. Differences are most likely to arise in relation to:

  • criteria for referrals
  • outcomes of assessments
  • roles and responsibilities of workers
  • service provision
  • timeliness of interventions
  • information sharing and communication
  • decisions on a case.

Safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility

Safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility and front-line staff need confidence in talking with each other about decisions that have been made, discussing any concerns regarding those decisions and where there is not agreement; escalating those concerns as appropriate.

Remember, equally important is the culture of how we work; and it is vital that front-line staff are encouraged to remain professionally curious and to raise issues where they feel that their concerns for children and young people aren’t being addressed.

Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people is a responsibility shared by all agencies. Whilst the local authority is allocated a ‘lead’ role in coordinating responses to risk, or causes, of significant harm to children and young people, effective intervention is dependent upon inter-agency planning and multi-agency service responses.

All agencies are responsible for ensuring that their staff are supported and know how to appropriately escalate and resolve inter-agency concerns and disagreements about a child or young person’s well-being and the response to safeguarding needs.

The three Safeguarding Children Partnerships have developed procedures to be used when resolving professional disagreements relating to safeguarding needs of children and young people. These procedures are not designed to replace the statutory complaints processes established within individual partner agencies.

You can access the Escalation procedures at the Pan Bedfordshire Interagency Child Protection Procedures.

Ofsted whistleblowing policy

Ofsted has updated its whistleblowing policy. Previously it only covered safeguarding in local authority children's services. The new policy covers all matters relating to the inspection and regulation of children's social care: establishments, agencies and providers.

If you believe a child is or children and young people are at immediate risk of harm, you should refer your concern to the relevant children’s social care department of the local authority area where the child/young person lives or report this to the police. This includes children living in or supported by agencies that are run independently of the local authority. Further information on the safeguarding of children can be found in ‘Working together to safeguard children 2018’.

If you would like to read more, please click here.

NSPCC Whistleblowing Advice Line

The NSPCC has a Whistleblowing Advice Line which has been developed to provide support to employees wishing to raise concerns over how child protection issues are being handled in their own or other organisations.

The NSPCC Whistleblowing Advice Line can be reached on 0800 028 0285.

If you would like to read more, please click here.

Whistleblowing Procedure for Maintained Schools

Every maintained school should have a whistleblowing procedure that protects staff members who report colleagues they believe are doing something wrong or illegal, or who are neglecting their duties. Information for employees on ‘blowing the whistle’, including a definition of whistleblowing has been published by the Department for Education and is available here.

Governing bodies of maintained schools are responsible for agreeing and establishing the school’s whistleblowing procedure. All schools should base their whistleblowing procedures on the procedure of the local authority.

Read more on the guidance here.

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