End the postcode lottery for early intervention relationship support
June 12, 2024

The next government must take action to end the postcode lottery that families face when seeking support to improve relationships and resolve conflict. That is the message we have sent to political parties as they continue to campaign ahead of the general election.  

As the leaders of the political parties unveil their priorities for the country if they win the election on 4 July, OnePlusOne is calling for them to commit to supporting families at their very foundation, by encouraging healthy relationships which can cope with challenging times and allow adults and children to thrive.

Since the Covid-19 pandemic families have faced many challenges, such as changes to working or studying patterns, the way services are delivered, and increases in the cost of living. Where these contribute to stress, it can lead to higher levels of conflict.  

Over the past four years, we have seen an increase in demand for our services to help reduce parental conflict and support healthy relationships. Research has shown that when children are caught in the middle of destructive, unresolved family conflict, they can experience negative, long-lasting effects such as:

  • Mental health problems.
  • Low self-esteem.
  • Low educational attainment.
  • Addiction.

They may also experience issues with forming their own relationships later in life and have reduced general wellbeing.

We have been working with early help teams across England and Wales to support parents through key transitions and stress points. We have also been training frontline practitioners working in services such as education, healthcare, housing, policing, and the voluntary sector to help them identify when a family needs help early on, and support them to use our evidence-based interventions.

Our respected Reducing parental conflict (RPC) package equips parents with the skills and knowledge to manage stress and conflict at different stages of their life through three accessible online courses:

  1. Me, You and Baby Too – for new and expecting parents.
  1. Arguing better – for parents under stress.
  1. Getting it right for children – for parents separating parents.

Since April 2001, more than 10,000 parents between the ages of 16-60 have used these courses. And the evidence shows us that they work. Parents who use our interventions benefit from significant and consistent improvement in their relational wellbeing, including:

  • Improved relationship satisfaction.
  • Improved couple coping.
  • Improved co-parenting.
  • Reducing couple conflict.

Currently, this support is only available in local authorities who have the budget to invest in effective RPC programmes. Many are facing tough decisions about the services they can offer their local communities. We’d like to end this postcode lottery with national funding which allows us to make relational capability skills accessible for all.

With the wider economic and social costs associated with family breakdown and poor relational skills, it makes sense for any new government to continue the commitment to reducing parental conflict by investing in sustainable systems which deliver positive outcomes for families.  

We want to make it easier for people to get relationship support whenever they need it. By investing in an inclusive approach to early intervention, and helping people to build healthy relationships, we would see a wide range of benefits for children and adults.  

How we get on with others affects how we get on in life. Helping people to develop the skills they need to form and maintain healthy relationships is the foundation stone for securing better outcomes for families, workplaces and society. As politicians talk about their desire to improve lives and create opportunity we urge them all, regardless of party, to commit to securing widespread access to early intervention support and relational skills for all.