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What to do if you are worried about a child

Escalation Policy and Guidance

Caring for and ensuring the safety of children and adults can be complex or challenging. It can involve several different professionals who may all have different views and contributions to make.  Sometimes situations arise when workers within one organisation may believe or consider that the actions, inactions or decisions of another do not adequately safeguard a child or adult.  Learning from local and national safeguarding case reviews has highlighted the need for a clear escalation policy that all practitioners feel confident to use.

The agreed Pan Berkshire Escalation Policy is available on our Pan Berkshire Child Protection Procedures Manual. The local links to the ‘Resolving Professional Disagreement and Escalation’ page are below.

West Berkshire



Professionals in all agencies including schools have a duty to act proactively and assertively to ensure that a child’s welfare is the paramount consideration. The Local Safeguarding Partners recognise that good practice will sometimes include constructive challenge between workers. Therefore, when a professional disagrees with the practice of another professional on the grounds of the child’s welfare they should work with the colleague to first seek to understand the rationale for the decision. However, if concern still exists for the child’s safety and wellbeing the professionals concerned should work collaboratively and proactively to find a solution for the child. This policy provides workers, Designated Safeguarding Leads and managers with the means to raise concerns they have by:

  • Avoiding professional disputes that put children at risk or obscure the focus on the child;
  • Resolving the disagreements between agencies quickly and openly;
  • Identifying problem areas in working together where there is a lack of clarity and promote resolution via amendments to multi-agency protocols and procedures.

Local Approach - Guidance and Support

In Berkshire West, the leadership in our partnership recognised that we needed additional guidance in our local approach to escalation and recognised the barriers that practitioners can face.  As a result, we have produced solution focused guidance to underpin the procedure, a presentation to explain the process, and tools to support practitioners.  This guidance reiterates that escalation is a positive response to an unresolved issue, and a part of day-to-day practice.  A PowerPoint presentation, with an accompanying script, is available for use in team meetings to support an open and honest approach to escalation. The links to the documents are below.

Please contact BWSCP@brightfuturesforchildren.org if you have any questions regarding this policy.

Download Related Documents:

BWSCP Local Escalation Protocol - September 2022

Making Escalation work in Berkshire West (PowerPoint)

BWSCP Local Escalation Protocol - script to accompany presentation

7 Minute Briefing Professional Escalation(2018)


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