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Multi-Agency Escalation Policy and Procedure

Principle of resolving difference of professional opinion

1.1 At all times the safeguarding partners will try to have in arrangements in place which outline how adults should be able to swiftly access support through any of the recognised safeguarding agencies and relevant partners. The purpose of this policy and procedure is to enable all professionals/ practitioners have the opportunity to exercise their judgement and to feel comfortable to exert professional challenge whilst providing the best possible service in a timely and safe way.

However, there are occasions when, partners must recognise the complexity of need and range of intervention/support will not always fit into a simple formula that leads to the ‘right solution’. Often there may be no right or wrong answer.

1.2 It is every professional’s responsibility to ‘problem solve’ within their sphere of expertise. Professionals need to feel comfortable to challenge peers and senior colleagues communication escalation to ensure resolving professional misunderstandings or disagreements can be resolved in a timely manner.

1.3 It is of vital importance that adults remain centre to the decision making and their voice is heard throughout, but they do not become entangled in professional disagreements and where such disputes do occur, they can be resolved with minimum delay.

1.4 The ultimate aim must be to resolve a difference of opinion at the earliest possible stage, as swiftly as possible, always keeping in mind that the priority must be keeping the adult safe. In the unlikely event of escalation process needs to be implemented, the role of the Salford Safeguarding Adult Board (SSAB) and the Independent Chair is one of mediation; decision making responsibility remains with statutory agencies.

1.5 In reaching resolution, it is essential that at all times, disputes are approached in a considerate manner and one which both respects and seeks to understand the views and concerns of others from their experience and perspective when engaging with the adult.

2.1 The purpose of this procedure is to create a transparent process to set out how professional disagreements should be dealt with between partner agencies with regards to practice in relation to an adult. Disagreement should be resolved through a person-centred discussion between the relevant agencies.  The escalation procedure outlines the process to be followed when professionals are unable to agree about what is in the best interests of the adult whilst managing risks/concern and ensuring the voice of the adult remains heard.

2.2 This process should be implemented where a resolution cannot be found, and the concerns need to be escalated to ensure that the adult is safeguarded and identified risks can be managed.

3.1 Problem resolution is an integral part of professional co-operation and joint working to safeguard adults. All agencies must work together in the interest of the adult and it is recognised that at times there are difference of opinion on how to manage safeguarding concerns and any identified risks. Every effort should be made to resolve disagreement as close to the point origin as possible.

3.2 At all stages of the escalation procedure actions and decisions must be:

  • Shared in a timely manner and a resolution should be sought within the shortest timescale possible to ensure the adult is safeguarded.
  • Recorded clearly identifying the name of the staff member/line managers/senior manager whom the discussion was held with and when. All records should be recorded and retained on the adult electronic file/agency database.
  • This policy and procedure does not replace or prevent day to day liaison between professionals across agencies or with supervisor or managers.
  • It is the responsibility of all agencies to ensure that their staff are supported to challenge and escalate appropriately when they have concerns or they disagree with another professional’s practice which they believe places, or could place, an adult at risk of harm or abuse.

3.3 Effective working together depends upon:

  • An open approach and honest relationships between partner agencies
  • A belief in genuine partnership and true integrated working.
  • A culture of transparency and feeling comfortable in positive challenge

4.1 This flow chart below shows an overview of the Escalation procedure. A downloadable version (PDF) of the flowchart is also available.

Screenshot of flowchart

PLEASE NOTE - if any professional believes the adult is an imminent risk of harm or abuse they should report the concerns to the emergencies services via 999 and make a safeguarding referral to Adult Social Care Contact Team on 0161 206 0604 or report the concerns online using the portal via

Appendix 1 - Professional Challenge-Outcome Resolution Notice Form

This document MUST be sent and stored electronically on the adult's electronic records.  

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