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2.7 Regional Procedure for the Resolution of Operational Issues between Agencies (both Within and Between LSCB's)

SCOPE

This procedure is for professionals who are working with children, young people and their families. It is a shared responsibility between agencies to effectively work together to ensure that children and young people are protected from harm and that their welfare is promoted. It is inevitable however that occasionally a consensus amongst professionals will not be reached. This procedure focusses upon how disputes between professionals can be addressed and sets out clear guidance regarding measures to be taken to resolve such conflict.

AMENDMENT

This chapter was amended in February 2014 as a result of local review. It has been amended throughout and appendices added. It should be re-read in its entirety.


Contents

  1. Key Principles
  2. Conflict Resolution

    Appendix 1: Escalation Policy for Resolution of Professional Disagreements in Work Relating to the Safety of Children Flowchart

    Appendix 2: Agency Report re: recording inter agency conflict and resolution on a service users file

    Appendix 3: Pro-forma for reporting conflicts which have been resolved at NSCB agency representative level to NSCB


1. Key Principles

  • To avoid professional disputes that put children at risk or obscure the focus on the child;
  • To resolve difficulties within and between agencies quickly and openly;
  • To identify problem areas in working together where there is a lack of clarity and to promote resolution via amendment to protocols and procedures.


2. Conflict Resolution

The following stages are likely to be involved:

  • Recognition that there is a disagreement over a significant issue which impacts on the safety and welfare of a child;
  • Where there is a disagreement, workers involved should notify their Line Manager of the disagreement at the earliest opportunity and attempts made by the workers to resolve the disagreement. This should be completed within 5 days;
  • If workers are unable to resolve the disagreement, a meeting must be convened between those involved. The meeting should be chaired by an independent person e.g. if a child is subject to a Child Protection Plan, the meeting should be chaired by the Safeguarding Standards Manager. Where a child is not subject to a Child Protection Plan, the meeting should be chaired by a Team Manager not directly involved in the case or the Designated Nurse for Child Protection. This should be completed within 10 days;
  • The purpose of the meeting is to identify the problem, and seek clarity about the disagreement and what you aim to achieve. Within this meeting, the roles and responsibilities of those involved will also be discussed and clarified and agree a plan to progress the situation;
  • Following the meeting, the Agency Report is completed to record the inter agency conflict and resolution and recorded on to the service users file. The report/minutes of the meeting must record steps taken to resolve the conflict;
  • The process should be completed within 20 days.

If a consensus amongst professionals cannot be reached regarding;

  • Case management;
  • The immediate safety of a child;
  • The long term plan to meet a child’s needs;
  • Where no service is currently being provided where it is felt there should be.

The matter must be escalated to the social worker’s/lead professional’s Senior Manager. The Senior Manager will contact their counterpart in the other agency in order to resolve the issue. Attempts at resolution must be within a time frame which clearly protects the child or children.

This process applies to agencies which are within or outside the Local Safeguarding Children Board’s geographical boundaries in the context of the provisions set out in Section 1, Key Principles.

Additionally, advice should be sought directly from the respective Designated Professional or Named Professional for the LSCB (s) in question.

If Senior Managers are unable to come to an agreement the issue will be escalated to the respective Directors/equivalents.

These steps must be reflected in the minutes of the meeting in which they have arisen. Any tasks identified in order to resolve the conflict must be recorded, assigned and timescales identified. In the event that a particular course of action is pursued without a consensus having been reached, the reasons should be made explicit and clearly evidenced in the minutes of the meeting.

Click here to view Appendix 1: Escalation Policy for Resolution of Professional Disagreements in Work Relating to the Safety of Children Flowchart.

Click here to access Appendix 2: Agency Report re: recording inter agency conflict and resolution on a service users file.

Click here to access Appendix 3: Pro-forma for reporting conflicts which have been resolved at NSCB agency representative level to NSCB.

End