Useful information for parents, carers and professionals

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All families need a helping hand at some stage of their child’s life. Don’t be afraid to seek help when you need it.

Whether you’re looking for some advice or in need of some one-to-one support there’s a service that can help.

If you can’t find what you’re looking for, contact the Family Information Service who will be able to point you in the right direction.

Local resources

Portsmouth has six Family Hubs. Follow the link for contact details and a programme of activities.

Your rights as a working parent

One of the main concerns parents face when returning to work can be ‘how will I juggle family life and a job?’

This section will talk you through your rights as a working parent and help you to understand what happens when your child is off school sick or your working hours aren’t manageable.

Don’t be afraid to make use of your family-friendly rights at work.

Preparation and good childcare arrangements will allow you to focus on your job, but you still have the right to time off to deal with certain family matters. It can be hard to be fair to your employer, your family and yourself.

Your rights

  1. You have the right to return to your same job on the same terms and conditions, unless that’s not practical – in that case, you have the right to be offered a similar job on terms and conditions at least as good. If this doesn’t happen, you can claim unfair dismissal.
  2. If your job has become redundant, you should be offered a suitable alternative vacancy. If there is no suitable alternative, you may be entitled to redundancy pay.
  3. You should benefit from any general pay rises or improvements in terms and conditions that apply to your job and occurred while you were on leave.
  4. You build up holiday entitlement while on maternity leave in the same way as if you had been at work.

Flexible working requests

Flexible working is a way of working that suits an employee’s needs, for example being able to work certain hours or work from home.

Anyone can ask their employer to work flexibly, but certain parents have a legal process available to them known as a ‘statutory application.’

You can make a statutory application if you have worked for your employer for at least 26 weeks.

Your employer must seriously consider your request but can turn it down if there are genuine business reasons for doing so. To make a statutory application:

  1. Write to your employer.
  2. The employer should request a meeting within 28 days to discuss the application.
  3. The employer must make a decision within 14 days of the meeting and inform the employee.
  4. If the employer agrees to flexible working they must give the employee a new contract.

First, consider which pattern of work would suit you best. For example:

  • Part-time work – this, of course, reduces your pay.
  • Change in hours – for example, flexi-time, staggered hours (8am to 4pm instead of 9am to 5pm) or shorter hours. If you work less, you will be paid less.
  • Compressed hours – working the same hours but to a different pattern, for example 8am to 6pm four days a week instead of 9am to 5pm five days a week.
  • Term-time working – being able to take unpaid leave during school holidays.
  • Working from home – this could be for part of or the whole working week.
  • Job-sharing – splitting your job and pay with someone else.

ACAS provide free information and advice to employers and employees to help prevent or resolve workplace problems. If you think you’ve been treated unfairly contact ACAS or use their online help tool.

Advice, courses and discussion groups for parents

The council offers a range of help for parents, including one-to-one advice sessions, workshops and seminars, which you can book directly by contacting your local family hub.

Further details on available discussion groups can be found below.

For more information, email

Please include your full postal address including postcode and contact numbers on any enquiry.

Triple PFamily Lives and the Family and Parenting Institute are external organisations offering support to parents.

Parenting advice

There is a parenting surgery facility offering parents opportunities to raise ongoing issues and discuss options regarding additional parenting support.

For more information, email

Triple P Discussion Groups

A two and half hour session with crèche, giving opportunities to focus on specific areas of child behaviour.

For children from 5 years to 11 years, topics include:

  • Dealing with disobedience
  • Managing fighting and aggression
  • Developing good bedtime routines

For older children from 12 to 15 years the focus can be:

  • Getting teenagers to cooperate
  • Coping with teenagers emotions
  • Building teenagers’ survival skills
  • Reducing family conflict

Triple P primary – online

An interactive web-based course, undertaken on home (or library) computer with remote monitoring and one telephone review with a parenting practitioner. The course aims to promote positive parenting  practices including: the use of positive attention and praise; strategies to avoid problems in high-risk situations and effective discipline for misbehaviour.

Parents receive log on details and complete relevant self-assessment questionnaires. Suitable for families of children attending primary school.

Local activities, groups and events for children

We’re lucky in Portsmouth to have a wealth of groups, clubs and activities to attend. With hundreds of events each year and lots of parks and outside space to enjoy for free, you and your children need never be bored.

For information on local groups and activities contact the Family Information Service.

Browse Visit Portsmouth for details of events taking place throughout the year.

If you’ve a low income you may be entitled to a free Portsmouth Leisure Card which will give you discounts for a range of facilities and services across the city.

Keep an eye out for our holiday activity guides to ensure you don’t miss out on the fun while the children are off school. Look for the link on our homepage during the run-up to the end of term.