Case study: Brighton & Hove City Council
October 20, 2020

After taking part in training provided by OnePlusOne aimed at reducing parental conflict, Brighton and Hove City Council became one of the first local authorities to ask us for bespoke help to tackle the taboo of talking about relationships.

The training OnePlusOne provided was to help practitioners support parents using relational capability skills. The employees trained were those who have regular contact with families, such as those working in early years family support, children’s centre, nurseries and housing, family coaches and health visitors.

The council, already recognised as high performing for its work in the field of reducing parental conflict and supporting families, wanted to take what they had learned out into their local communities. Their aim was to make it easier for residents to talk about relationship issues and equip community workers and volunteers with the tools they needed to be ready to help when a conversation turns to having problems at home.

Stephen Woodward, parental relationships co-ordinator for Brighton and Hove City Council said:

“We have many highly-trained professionals supporting local families in need of extra relationship help, among a range of other issues, and they often use the online resources (already) provided by OnePlusOne. 

But, we know that in reality many people are more likely to talk to friends or acquaintances within their social networks, or people trusted in their community, than they are to approach a professional. That’s why we asked for OnePlusOne’s help to produce our Getting On Better relationship cards. We wanted to provide our residents with some simple relationship advice that could be used to help them help themselves and each other, without professional training.”

The Getting On Better cards were originally produced in physical form and tailored to be a stand alone resource which could be used by parents or practitioners as a self-help tool. As a result of Covid-19, the authority – like elsewhere in the country – has seen an increase in cases of family conflict and so far, around 200 packs of cards have been posted out to local teams, projects or directly to parents’ homes, to support them in recognising and managing conflict in their relationship.

The cards can also be viewed online and have been well-received by the local community and professionals alike.  The council are now planning to launch online questionnaires that will offer recommended courses to parents in need of support, such as OnePlusOne’s Me, You and Baby Too programme, or Coping with Stress and Alcohol resource.

 “The cards really opened up subjects that we avoided talking about.” (Mum of 3)
 “The cards are easy and clear to use and don’t necessarily need a ‘professional’ to go through them with the parents, although subsequent discussions are really helpful.” (Brighton and Hove early years family support worker)
“They are sparking conversations which can be a little heated at times, but we are hoping to learn lifelong skills from them.”  (Dad of 2)

OnePlusOne has nearly 50 years’ experience in relationship research, taking the evidence of what works and producing content to support the creation and maintenance of healthy relationships.

Verity Glasgow, co-director of OnePlusOne, said: 

“Working with Brighton and Hove to create their Getting On Better cards, using the evidence from our own behaviour modelling training programmes, provided a great opportunity for us to explore how we can adapt our materials to suit different needs.  

We know that many people find it difficult to talk about their relationship problems, and at a time when many parents are under more strain than ever, it’s important to continually look for ways to provide support where and how it’s needed most.

The council’s innovative approach to publish our evidence-based advice on cards to share with their local community, supported further by links to digital resources, demonstrates a real commitment to supporting parental relationships and we are proud to have been a part of their project.”

At OnePlusOne we have been experimenting with blended practice for a number of years, bringing face-to-face practice and digital interventions together; enhancing face-to-face interactions through digital interventions. This work has increased in significance as Covid-19 has increased the demand for online relationship support services.  

We have a range of online resources available for parents and practitioners to use free of charge, ranging from support programmes for new parents to help managing parental conflict and stress.