Working together effectively to safeguard and promote the welfare and well-being of children and their families is essential to achieving good outcomes for the children and young people of Rotherham.
On occasion, there will inevitably be some areas of disagreement or concern between professionals or organisations in relation to responsibilities, opinions, decisions, responses and actions and how these are impacting on progress and positive outcomes for individual children and their families. In order to promote and maintain effective multi agency working, it is vital that these concerns and disagreements are discussed in a timely, open and transparent manner and that appropriate challenges are made.
Providing or receiving challenge from another professional can sometimes be difficult for those parties involved but if it is undertaken appropriately and is always in the best interest of the child, it will provide positive opportunities to reflect, review and revise opinions, approaches and decisions in the work with a child and their family; as well as supporting the development of professional confidence and competence.
Resolving professional differences about practice should be seen as an opportunity to learn and develop both from each other as individuals and as organisations; it is about improving outcomes and providing accountability to children.
Wherever possible, all efforts should be made to resolve these issues at the lowest possible level within and between organisations or agencies, as it is at this level that the child and their family's circumstances and needs are known.
This Practice Resolution Protocol does not replace existing reporting and accountability mechanisms or processes that already exist and are in operation within and between organisations.
It can be used in any relevant practice area that relates to:
- Notifications, Contacts, Referrals (including the use of threshold criteria);
- Assessments of Need and Risk and Care Planning;
- Service Provision (including visits and direct work with the family);
- Reviewing Care Plans for Looked After Children;
- Decisions made at Multi Agency Meetings, including Child Protection Conferences and Core Groups – see Section 4, Challenging Practice Issues that Arise in Child Protection Conferences.