The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has developed a national offer of parental relationship support, including face-to-face provision, workforce training and the development of tools to support practitioners when working with families, and a central ‘what works’ infrastructure to support local delivery.
DWP is seeking to increase effective provision to tackle parental conflict and improve outcomes for children. Between 2015 and 2018, they funded local areas to pioneer approaches to increasing support for family relationships through the Local Family Offer Programme.
A national Reducing Parental Conflict (RPC) Programme, announced in 2017, invests £39 million until 2021 to support both the supply and demand for evidence-based interventions at a local level.
The RPC Programme is built around the following key components:
- testing the UK effectiveness of eight face-to-face interventions for workless families, delivered through four regional contracts in the South West, London, East of England and the North East
- strategic leadership support for every local authority area to plan for reducing parental conflict, using a new Planning Tool
- training for the relationship support workforce to deliver interventions in order to increase the supply of evidence-based help
- training and guidance for the frontline workforce, to improve identification and effective referral to appropriate support
- exploring the potential of digitally delivered support, particularly around key life events known to increase the risk of conflict
- regional support to embed addressing parental conflict, delivered through a team of Regional Integration Leads (RILs) with experience of local public service delivery
- two funds, an Innovation Fund and a National Infrastructure Fund, to test support for families where parents misuse alcohol
- a Challenge Fund to test approaches to providing digital support to families, including particular groups of disadvantaged families
- a ‘what works’ function, to help local commissioners understand the evidence on why addressing parental conflict is important and how to address it
- a national evaluation, to continue building the evidence base.
Who’s my RIL? Check the RPCP regions map
- Helen Armstrong, North West: firstname.lastname@example.org, 07741 835 903
- Jacqui Frisby, London: email@example.com, 07747 761 619
- Emily Ingle, South West and Midlands: firstname.lastname@example.org, 07557 815 037
- Diana Robertson, North East: email@example.com, 07741 688 356
- Chris Tuke, South East: firstname.lastname@example.org, 07747 476 102
Healthy relationships between parents are an important focus for early intervention and local family services. The quality of the relationship between parents, specifically how they communicate and relate to each other, has a significant influence on effective parenting and child outcomes.
In early 2019, DWP offered every top-tier local authority in England the opportunity to apply for a strategic leadership grant to strengthen their strategic capability to reduce parental conflict. A requirement of the grant was for each local authority to complete the RPC Planning Tool which was designed by EIF. Local authorities were required to hold a multi-agency stakeholder workshop (and if interested an online survey) to consider their current position on tackling parental conflict, including identifying system strengths, priorities and actionable areas for development.
The first stage of the process is now complete. Of the 148 local authorities who accessed the strategic leadership grant 145 completed planning tools. The planning tools outlined how the local authorities planned to utilise their strategic leaderships grants and highlighted innovative ideas across the country including:
- a joint response by a number of local authorities in the midlands who collaborated and pooled their resources to employ someone to lead a regional approach
- creative awareness raising activity including production of Z card leaflets for practitioners and families, and the commissioning of a film to outline the impact of parental conflict from a parent’s perspective
- other local authorities have focused the majority of the grant on securing staff time to ensure the agenda has consistent and focused leadership locally, whilst some have prioritised using a portion of the grant to complete needs analysis work to understand how parental conflict fits into the local context.
Local authorities will be asked to complete a second planning tool reviewing progress in 2020.
If you have any questions, please contact your Regional Integration Lead.