When working in the arena of safeguarding children and young people, it is inevitable that at times there will be professional disagreement between agencies. Whilst this is accepted, it is vital that such disagreements are not allowed to adversely affect the outcomes for children and young people. Professional disagreement is only dysfunctional if it is not resolved in a constructive and timely way. This protocol therefore, provides a process for resolving professional disagreements between agencies.
Disagreements can arise in a number of areas of multi-agency working, as well as within single-agency working, but are most commonly seen in relation to:
- Criteria for referrals;
- Outcomes of assessments;
- Roles and responsibilities of workers;
- Service provision; and
- Information sharing and communication.
Disagreements can relate both to decisions about individual children or specific processes. The protocol focuses on disagreements between agencies in relation to individual children and is applicable to all agencies, including the Voluntary, Community and Faith (VCF) sectors.