New pilot app offers support for separating parents
January 11, 2024

A new app which will enable parents to self-manage their separation is being launched today (Thursday 11 January 2024).

Separating better will help parents by equipping them with the practical information and emotional skills they need to put arrangements in place that work in the best interests of their children. During this pilot phase, the app is available in Northumberland and the Isle of Wight, ahead of a national launch this spring.  

The development of the app, by relationship experts at leading relationship research and innovation charity OnePlusOne, has been made possible thanks to funding from the Department for Work and Pensions’ (DWP) Reducing Parental Conflict Challenge Fund 2.

It will offer an accessible and sustainable solution to supporting parents to work through some of the practical steps of separation in order to co-parent effectively. Alongside practical tools which offer help with budgeting and legal arrangements, parents will also be able to create their own parenting plan, considering the different needs their children may have.

The app features a series of new videos showing typical co-parenting situations and the impact of poorly handled conflict on children. Using Behaviour Modelling Training techniques, these Work it out videos will help parents to learn better conflict management and communication skills, keeping their children’s best interests at the heart of their actions and decision-making.

During the pilot phase of the app, which runs for the next three months, parents using Separating better will be invited to offer feedback which will be used to make further improvements before free access for all is rolled out next year.

Verity Glasgow, CEO of OnePlusOne, said: “We are delighted to be piloting Separating better in Northumberland and the Isle of Wight. This app pulls together decades of research and expertise in supporting separating couples and equipping them with the necessary skills to co-parent effectively.

“Navigating the practical challenges of separating at an emotionally difficult time isn’t easy. We hope that the combination of emotional and practical support in the app will help parents to manage this process as smoothly as possible.”    

Alongside practical tips about parenting after parting, the app also features OnePlusOne’s emotional readiness assessment tool, a simple quiz grounded in research evidence which measures where an individual is emotionally following the breakdown of a relationship.  Understanding this is the key to identifying the different levels of support that might be needed during the separation process and beyond.

After completing the initial quiz, users of the app will have a better understanding of where they are emotionally on their separation journey and how this can affect their decision-making and behaviour.  

Councillor Jonathan Bacon, cabinet member for Childrens Services in the Isle of Wight, said: “It is good that the Island has been chosen to trial the new Separating better app and offer separated parents a tool that is available 24/7 on their phone, which can be accessed at times that suit them.

“I hope it will help to support families to develop healthy and productive communication and to develop better ways of dealing with conflict where it arises. By enabling improved relationships between separated parents, I hope the app will help to ensure that children’s futures are supported and avoid the negative impact that can arise from conflict.”

Councillor Guy Renner-Thompson, cabinet member for Inspiring Young People in Northumberland, whose portfolio also includes supporting families, said: “We are pleased to be working with OnePlusOne to pilot this innovative new app.

“We recognise the challenges that family life can bring and through our Family Hubs we’re investing in a wide range of support from conception right through a child’s journey to adulthood.

“Since we launched our hubs, as part of the Government’s trailblazer programme, we’ve introduced a suite of free resources available for residents that focus on the importance of healthy relationships.

“This app will be the latest addition to our digital offer and is a valuable resource that offers both practical and emotional support for parents, while focusing on the needs of the children.”

Separating better will be available nationally in spring 2024. OnePlusOne currently offers free relationship advice and support via its online relationship platform, Click or on the website See it Differently.