Escalation and Whistleblowing

So far in this course, we have focused on best practice in safeguarding and have largely assumed that everything is working together to protect children and young people. In the real world, however, safeguarding gets much more complicated. There can be difficulties for a whole range of reasons; some due to genuine challenges or restraints and others due to a lack of skill or competence.

When we are in a situation that is failing to protect a child, or where a child is being placed at risk, it is important that we take action to address the problems.


There are times when we personally do not have the authority to address the identified problem. Sometimes the problem is in our own organisation (internal) and at other times, we perceive that it is another organisation that is at fault.

If we find ourselves in a situation where we have done everything that we are able, but the difficulty has not been resolved, it can be tempting to just give up, but this will itself increase the risk to the child. The solution is to escalate the matter. When we escalate a matter, we raise it with someone who has more authority within the organisation.

If the concern is about a process or person within your organisation, you can raise the matter in the first instance with your line manager, or, if the concern is about them or involves them, with their manager or the setting manager.

If the concern is about an process or person in another organisation, you would speak to your line manager about the matter. There is a formal escalation process that is available on the Leicestershire and Rutland Safeguarding Children Partnership website:

Resolving Practitioner Disagreements and Escalation of Concerns (


Whistleblowing occurs when someone raises a concern externally about processes or conduct within their own organisation (i.e. the organisation they work for or an organisation they previously worked for).

Usually, concerns about matters within our own organisation should be dealt with by speaking to our line manager or to someone more senior in the organisation. Sometimes, however, we speak to managers or our Designated Safeguarding Lead and they refuse to act without good reason. On other occasions the employee is unable to raise the matter internally due, for example, to fear of the consequences.

In these extreme circumstances, the protection and well-being of the child is compromised. It is important that the well-being of the children is paramount in our minds and that we raise the concern. It may be possible and appropriate to raise the concern with the Local Authority, or the sector regulator (e.d. Ofsted, the Charity Commission etc.) There is also a Whistle-blowing line at the NSPCC.

Whistleblowing Advice Line | NSPCC

It should be remembered, however, that ideally, the concern should be raised internally if at all possible.

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