Joint professional escalation and resolution protocol

Escalation and resolution steps

Step 1 direct professional to professional discussion

Differences of opinion or judgement should be discussed amongst frontline professionals.  Attempts should be made to achieve a shared understanding and agree on a local resolution.  The resolution should align with the plan or ensure a plan is developed if needed.

Care should be taken to agree a way of managing conflict.  This will allow ACYPs and their families to understand the issues under discussion. An acknowledgement must be provided immediately.  Within 48 hours (two working days) of the initial discussion, an agreed action plan should be developed.  It must detail how the conflict will be resolved and include clear timescales.

Step 2 direct manager to manager discussion

If step 1 does not resolve the issue, each professional should discuss the issue with their line manager or safeguarding supervisor. The line manager should review the concerns and ensure that they are justified and meet the purpose of this protocol.

The two line managers should then liaise to try to reach a resolution. This discussion must occur within five working days of step 1. They may consult senior managers within each organisation if this would assist resolution. An agreed plan of action must be developed, including clear timescales.

Step 3 direct SLO or equivalent to SLO or equivalent discussion

If steps 1 and 2 do not reach a resolution, the agencies' senior liaison officer or equivalent (SLOE) should be contacted immediately.  They will liaise with the other agency's SLOE or assist in resolving the conflict as appropriate. A mutually agreeable action plan, including timescales, should be in place within 48 hours (two working days). For children SLO contact details use our find a liaison officer search.  For adult SLOs' contact details email

Step 4

a) Urgent resolution required, LSAB or LSCP independent chaired meeting

Sometimes, the SLOs or equivalent cannot resolve the issue causing conflict between professionals and agencies.  A meeting should be convened with an independent chair selected from the LSAB or LSCP partner organisations.  The director who holds safeguarding responsibility for each respective agency will be consulted on the meeting.

The meeting will be a forum where the agencies can discuss the case and conflict issue.  It will be chaired and minuted with the resolution agreed and recorded. The meeting should take place as soon as possible with a date set within one working day of step 3.

b) Non-urgent and, or lessons learned

SLOs can advise that the learning points from a non-urgent case be referred for interagency consideration to:

  • LSAB
  • LSCP significant incident review group

At this point, the group may make recommendations for:

  • individual agencies to review performance and, or involvement
  • LSAB policy and procedural review and development
  • LSCP review via the policy, procedure, education and training subgroup (PPET)

At every discussion stage the actions should occur within the stated timescales.  They must be followed up in writing between the agencies and in the single agency record.

Outside of working hours

All statutory agencies have an on-call manager and director system. Staff are advised to use the on-call process if escalation requires urgent resolution, and it is outside of Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.