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Re-think: an approach to resolving professional concerns

Giving and receiving honest challenge about our work with families can be difficult and taking time to ‘slow down’ and consider how to go about hearing challenge is vital to ensure children and their families are kept at the centre of our work. Resolving concerns should be seen as an integral part of how we advocate for children and their families in Portsmouth.

The PSCP has developed a new ‘Re-think’ approach, whereby professionals reflect on a case either virtually, on the telephone or face-to-face to explore the current concerns and find resolutions. There is a 5-step model for this approach that can be found within the guidance, alongside three separate strategies to help the team around the family to progress together.

In many circumstances concerns can be resolved by simply have the right conversation with the right person at the right time, leading to action which is recorded and undertaken in a timely way. If there is a need for further exploration, Re-think can be a helpful strategy to bring professionals together. However, in circumstances where professional disagreements cannot be resolved through Re-think strategies the HIPS Escalation Protocol should be initiated.

The model for this conversation is the 5-step framework for restorative practice:

  • The current concerns – sharing perspective
  • How the professional network thinks and feels about the situation
  • How the professional network sees the impact and who / how they are affected
  • Together find ways forward to resolve the challenges
  • Record all agreed actions

Requesting Re-think can be a helpful way to move forward with decisions and / or a plan ensuring there is equality within the professional network. Hearing all perspectives before moving towards understanding impact and agreeing actions is an essential part of this strategy. Any professional within the network can request Re-think with the end goal being resolution of the concerns, whatever the concerns are. Re-think can be a strategy used on a one to one or in a group work setting to include the multi-agency network.

As the Director of Children and Families and Education says, ‘this “Rethink” process is another tool in our restorative toolbox, to help give structure and involve more people, where we need to take another look at what we are doing. It will keep us all safer, make sure we reach better decisions, make better plans and above all, keep more children safe and thriving’.

These strategies can be initiated / undertaken by all professionals using the key principles for resolving concerns. The below should not be viewed as a set way to do things but more like a range of strategies which may help and support the resolution of concerns.

Strategy 1 – You have concerns and the desired progress is not being made. There may be some professional disagreement e.g. in terms of tier of need, step up / step across / step down. If you are the Lead Professional go to strategy 2


  1. A restorative conversation with the lead professional to ‘unpick’ concerns – one to one Re-think
  2. Lead professional to call a meeting of professionals with the family to discuss concerns. If you are following statutory processes those processes need to be followed, e.g. call an early review meeting.
  3. If the lead professional does not agree with concerns raised – consult the HIPS escalation policy

Strategy 2

You have raised your concerns with the lead professional and a meeting with the family has not resolved the concerns / progress has not been made. Or you are the lead professional and there continues to be limited progress.


  1. A multi-agency (professionals only) Re-think reflection time is arranged, facilitated by the lead professional or their line manager; and / or
  2. A senior member of the team to attend the next review meeting to support different actions being agreed

Strategy 3

You have undertaken strategy 1 & 2 and there are still concerns regarding progress, it feels stuck, there is limited progress, and more help is needed.


  • A multi-agency (professionals only) Re-think is arranged, facilitated by an external facilitator

The PSCP encourages Re-think strategy 1 & 2 to be facilitated by the lead professional and / or their line manager and take place prior to an independent facilitator being requested. In scenarios whereby a Re-think strategy 3 is required you can request an independent facilitator by completing this form