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7.2 Resolution of Professional Disagreements

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Dissent at Enquiry Stage

7.2.1

Disagreements over the handling of concerns typically occur when:

  • The referral is not considered to meet eligibility criteria for assessment by Children's Social Care;
  • Advice is sought and a social worker has concluded that a referral is required, however the professional does not want to make a referral;
  • Children's Social Care concludes that further information should be sought by the referrer before the referral is progressed;
  • Children's Social Care believe that a Child and Family Assessment can be started without invoking child protection procedures;
  • Children's Social Care considers that child protection procedures must be invoked and the referrer does not;
  • Children's Social Care and the Safeguarding Investigations Unit place different interpretations on the need for a Section 47 Enquiry / criminal investigation.
7.2.2

If the professionals are unable to resolve differences through discussion and/or meeting within a time scale, which is acceptable to both of them, their disagreement must be addressed by more experienced / more senior staff.

7.2.3

With respect to most day-to-day difficulties, this will require a Children's Social Care team manager liaising with her/his equivalent in the relevant agency, e.g.:

  • A detective sergeant in the Safeguarding Investigations Unit;
  • A senior health visitor / nurse / GP;
  • Designated Teacher.
7.2.4

If agreement cannot be reached following discussions between the above 'first line' managers the issue must be referred without delay through the line management to the equivalent of service manager / detective inspector / head teacher.

7.2.5

At any stage advice should be sought from designated/named/lead officer/ child protection adviser or other designated professional such as the designated doctor or nurse.

7.2.6

Records of discussions must be maintained by all the agencies involved.

Dissent with decision to call a Child Protection Conference

7.2.7

A request to convene a Child Protection Conference may be made by a senior staff member of any of the member agencies and should be made and responded to in writing to either a Service Manager or a Child Protection Adviser.

7.2.8

A decision not to convene a conference must be confirmed in writing to the requesting agency/ies giving reasons.

7.2.9

Where there remain differences of view over the need for a conference in a specific case, every effort will be made to resolve them through discussion and explanation.

7.2.10

As a last resort the decision to hold the conference will be made by the senior child protection manager following discussion with the relevant LSCB members.

Professional Dissent at Child Protection Conference

7.2.11

If the chair of a conference is unable to achieve a consensus as to the need for a Child Protection Plan or the discontinuing of a plan, (s)he will make a decision and note any dissenting views.

7.2.12

The agency or individual who dissents from the chair's decision must consider whether (s)he wishes to further challenge the decision.

7.2.13

If the dissenting professional believes that the decision reached by the chair places a child at (further) risk of Significant Harm, it is expected that (s)he will formally raise the matter with the senior child protection manager.

7.2.14

The senior child protection manager will review available documentation, liaise with the conference chair and either:

  • Uphold the decision reached by the conference chair;
  • Require the conference be re-convened.

Dissent regarding the Implementation of the Child Protection Plan

7.2.15

Concern or disagreement may arise over another professional's decisions, actions or lack of actions in the implementation of the Child Protection Plan, including Core Group meetings.

7.2.16

In the first instance the line managers of the professionals involved should always address concerns at a local level.

7.2.17

If agreement cannot be reached following discussions between the above 'first line' managers the issue must be referred without delay through the line management to the equivalent of service manager / detective inspector / head teacher.

7.2.18

At any stage advice should be sought from designated/named/lead officer/ child protection adviser) or other designated professional such as the designated doctor or nurse.

7.2.19

Records of discussions must be maintained by all the agencies involved.

Where Professional Differences Remain

7.2.20

In the unlikely event that the issue is not resolved by the steps described above and serious professional disagreements remain unresolved /or the discussions raise significant policy issues, the matter should be raised with the professional leads for safeguarding and child protection within the agencies involved and include the senior child protection manager.

7.2.21

Records of challenges should be kept for statistical purposes by the Chair of the LSCB and included in the annual report.


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This page is correct as printed on Friday 18th of August 2017 04:32:07 PM please refer back to this website (https://sussexchildprotection.procedures.org.uk) for updates.
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