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Honest conversations

Professionals are required to have honest conversations with parents/carers, children, and other professionals they come in to contact with. It can sometimes be difficult to navigate these conversations, and to convey what you need to say in an understanding and accepting way. It is important that we have honest conversations as avoiding doing so can have implications for safeguarding.

Barriers to having an honest conversation

  • Concerns of changing the relationship.
  • Unconscious bias – including personal views.
  • Trying to accommodate conflicting views.
  • Worry of the impact on them as a practitioner.
  • Fear of an angry confrontation.
  • Unsure of your knowledge base around the context.
  • Concern about getting it wrong.
  • Fear of not being able to respond to questions.
  • Over optimism – it will be all right.

What can help?

  • Planning the conversation in advance.
  • Choosing a time and place in advance to ensure privacy.
  • Understanding any communication needs.
  • Starting on a positive note.
  • Avoiding the use of jargon/ acronyms.
  • Recognising and acknowledging the emotion.
  • Recognising and challenge any justifications not to.
  • Understanding yourself – any unconscious bias.
  • Understanding the person – any diverse needs and how best to reach them, how the might feel/react.
  • Listening to the person’s response and ensuring you understand it in the way that it want meant.
  • Talking to the subject matter experts.
  • Using strengths-based language.
  • Using line management support/ supervision.
  • Being clear about next steps

Useful links

HSCP-Practitioner-Guide-Honest-Conversations-2021-01-15-1.pdf (

Having-Honest-Conversations-Tips.pdf (


You can access the HSCP learning from reviews training sessions here.

You can access the IOWSCP training here.