Home » Professionals » Resolving professional differences

Having different professional perspectives within safeguarding practice is a sign of a healthy and well-functioning partnership. These differences of opinion are usually resolved by discussion and negotiation between the professionals concerned. It is essential that where differences of opinion arise they do not adversely affect the outcomes for children and young people, and are resolved in a constructive and timely manner.

Differences could arise in a number of areas of multi-agency working as well as within single agency working. Differences are most likely to arise in relation to;

  • Criteria for referrals
  • Outcomes of assessments
  • Roles and responsibilities of workers
  • Service provision
  • Timeliness of interventions
  • Information sharing and communication

If you have difference of opinion with another professional, remember:

  • Professional differences and disagreements can help us find better ways improve outcomes for children and young people
  • All professionals are responsible for their own cases, and their actions in relation to case work
  • Differences and disagreements should be resolved as simply and quickly as possible, in the first instance by individual practitioners and /or their line managers
  • All practitioners should respect the views of others whatever the level of experience. Remember that challenging more senior or experienced practitioners can be hard
  • Expect to be challenged; working together effectively depends on an open approach and honest relationships between agencies
  • Professional differences are reduced by clarity about roles and responsibilities and the ability to discuss and share problems in networking forums

If a professional cannot resolve the difference at their level, they should liaise with their manager and follow the steps outlined in the Portsmouth Protocol for Resolving Professional Differences