Barnet Safeguarding Partnership Resolution Policy
If a child is in immediate danger please call 999
- 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.
- Problem resolution is across all partner agencies
- Occasionally situations arise when workers within one agency feel that the actions, inaction or decisions of another agency do not adequately safeguard a child. This inter-agency policy defines the process for resolving such professional difference and should be read alongside the London Child Protection Procedures and relevant internal policies on escalating matters of concern.
1.3 Disagreements can arise in a number of areas, but are most likely to arise around:
- Levels of need
- Roles and responsibilities
- The need for action
- Progressing plans and communication.
1.4 Where professionals consider that the practice of other professionals is placing children at risk of harm, they must be assertive, act swiftly and ensure that they challenge the relevant professionals in line with this policy.
The safety of individual children is the paramount consideration in any professional activity.
- Resolution should be sought within the shortest timescale possible to ensure the child is protected.
- As a guide, professionals should attempt to resolve differences through discussion within one working week or a timescale that protects the child from harm (whichever is shortest).
- Disagreements should be resolved at the lowest possible stage
1.5 Any worker who feels that a decision is not safe or is inappropriate can initially consult their supervisor/manager to clarify their thinking if required. They should be able to evidence the nature and source of the concerns and should to keep a record of all discussions.
2. Stages of Resolution
2.1 Stage One: Discuss with the other worker
2.2 The people who disagree have a discussion to resolve the problem. This discussion must take place as soon as possible and could be a telephone conversation or a face to face meeting. It should be recognised that differences in status and/or experience may affect the confidence of some workers to pursue this unsupported.
2.3 Stage Two: Escalate
Please refer to the following for how to escalate an issue in the case of:
- Barnet Children’s Services
- Barnet Police
- Barnet Health agencies
- Barnet Schools
First line of escalation
“Duty officer” An Inspector or on duty in charge of the uniform response shift (24/7). For a specialist unit this may be the “Detective Inspector (DI)” but they have less coverage. In their absence it would default to the Duty Officer. If the police team dealing is not Barnet the Duty Officer would be expected to deal with this on their behalf. The contact details for them will be available from the officer dealing with the case / incident.
Second line of escalation
Between 0700hrs and 2100hrs the on duty / on call member of the “Senior Leadership Team” for Barnet. Their contact details will be available via the Duty officer . This may within office hours go to the Safeguarding lead.
Between 2100hrs and 0700hrs the Night Duty Superintendent who will be covering all of North London. The contact details will be available via the Duty Officer
Third line of escalation
The Borough Commander for Barnet police.
Where there it is believed that the response from a school does not meet the safeguarding requirements for a child, the appropriate person to escalate to is, in the first instance, the Head Teacher. In schools where the Head Teacher is also the Designated Safeguarding Lead, complaints should be directed to the Safeguarding Governor or Chair of Governors. If concerns have still not been resolved the school complaints/escalation procedure should be utilised. In cases where the matter is urgent or if the school is not responding in accordance with its policy contact either the Barnet Cambridge Education School Safeguarding Officer or the school’s Learning Network Inspector.
Barnet Family Services
For children accessing early help services, professionals should raise concerns at Team Around the Child meetings or other multi-agency planning meetings. For children subject to Child in Need, Child Protection or Child in Care Plans, concerns can be shared at the child’s multi-agency review meetings or via the Independent Reviewing Officer or Conference Reviewing Officer. Professionals should always consider the impact of professional disagreements on families attending meetings.
The following stages of resolution and escalation should be followed for children referred to, or open to Barnet Family Services
Open Cases: by contacting the allocated social worker or lead professional
New Referrals: by contacting the MASH Social Worker
Out of Hours: by contacting the Emergency Duty Team (5pm – 9am Monday to Friday, weekends and Bank Holidays)
First line of escalation
Open Cases: by contacting the allocated social worker’s or lead professional’s Team Manager
New Referrals: by contacting the MASH Team Manager
Out of Hours: by contacting the Head of Service on Duty (5pm – 9am Monday to Friday, weekends and Bank Holidays)
Second line of escalation
Open Cases: by contacting the service area Head of Service
New Referrals: by contacting the MASH Head of Service
Third line of escalation
Open Cases or New Referrals: by contacting the relevant Family Services Operational Director
Where there it is believed that the response from a health agency does not meet the safeguarding requirements for a child, the appropriate person to escalate to is in the first instance the Head of Safeguarding for the Provider organisation concerned and the Designated Nurse and Doctor NHS Barnet CCG.
If an acute safeguarding situation occurs Out of Hours which requires an immediate health assessment the Duty Paediatric team at the Hospital local to the child should be contacted.
For Barnet Hospital, the Duty Paediatric Team can be contacted through the hospital switchboard on 0208 216 4600.
2.4 Stage Three: Resolution by Senior Leaders
2.5 Escalate at the time until the matter is resolved satisfactorily or it becomes impossible to escalate further. If it cannot be resolved satisfactorily or there is a need to escalate to the Director of Children’s Services, Borough Commander or Chief Operating Officer for the CCG, also notify the safeguarding chair via: BarnetSCB@barnet.gov.uk
2.6 The independent chair can be called upon to mediate on behalf of any of the partners where senior leaders are unable to resolve a situation.
2.7 There is a requirement for the record of any escalation to be placed on a child’s record.
3. Additional Notes
3.1 The Independent Chair will send out a summary of the issues monthly to all heads of units. At the safeguarding Executive Group the trends and patterns and responses are considered
3.2 The Safeguarding Chair will provide an annual thematic review of issues and action taken to resolve these in order to ensure that children are kept safe.
3.3 Where issues are raised with partners from other authorities, including other local authorities, please follow the procedures as identified across stage 1. If you are unable to resolve the issue the Independent Chair can be approached to liaise with the relevant senior leaders in the other authority.