Collection

Reducing Parental Conflict programme and resources

Information and resources for leaders, managers and practitioners helping to reduce the impact of potentially damaging inter-parental conflict on children.

Reducing Parental Conflict programme

There is strong evidence that conflict between parents – whether together or separated – can have a significant negative impact on children’s mental health and long-term life chances. Not all conflict is damaging, but where this is frequent, intense and poorly resolved it can harm children’s outcomes.

The Reducing Parental Conflict (RPC) programme is aimed at conflict below the threshold of domestic abuse. Find out more about the difference between parental conflict and domestic abuse.

The parental conflict indicator shows 12% of children in couple-parent families were living with at least one parent reporting relationship distress. The data also shows that parental conflict is twice as likely in workless couple-parent families compared to where both parents are working.

From 2015 to 2017, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) piloted the provision of expertise and evidence across 12 Local Authorities (LAs) in England to develop innovative strategies to promote relationship quality. This was the Local Family Offer trial.

The trial informed the development of the RPC programme, announced in April 2017 as part of Improving Lives: Helping Workless Families.

The RPC programme aims to promote improved outcomes for children, with a focus on disadvantaged families. Its objectives are to:

  • develop the evidence base on what works to reduce parental conflict, to inform future commissioning practice
  • help local areas integrate support to reduce parental conflict in local services for families

The programme funded LAs to undertake Strategic Leadership Support (SLS) activities and practitioner training, which resulted in the creation of resources. It has aimed to improve understanding that not all conflict is damaging, but where this is frequent, intense and poorly resolved it can harm children’s outcomes, and can be addressed as part of working with families. The next phase of the RPC programme has up to £11 million funding allocated to it, and will run from April 2021 to March 2022.

Who is this collection for?

This collection is for leaders, practitioners and other professionals working with parents experiencing conflict. The content has been created in collaboration with experts and staff in LAs. The resources are based on the strong body of evidence that conflict between parents – whether together or separated – can have a significant negative impact on children’s mental health and long-term life chances.

The practitioner training materials help LAs embed parental conflict support in their services for families, and build understanding and confidence in their workforce.

The content on these pages may reference external links to third-party websites, which go beyond DWP partners such as the Early Intervention Foundation What Works Centre. The links are not exhaustive and are included as examples of learning and resources available. DWP is not recommending a particular product or endorsing a third party, and is not responsible for the external content.

The importance of Reducing Parental Conflict

Find out what reducing parental conflict is and why it matters to children, families and services.

The Reducing Parental Conflict programme: context and activity

Read about how the Reducing Parental Conflict programme is integrating and delivering support across local areas in England from 2018 to 2021.

Resources to support leaders, managers and practitioners reduce parental conflict

Resources to help leaders, managers and other professionals raise awareness of the impact of parental conflict, including training and tools to help practitioners talk to parents about the importance of healthy relationships.

Reducing Parental Conflict programme: published reports and information

Find published reports and information that impact and inform Reducing Parental Conflict learning.

Published 18 January 2021
Last updated 6 April 2021 + show all updates
  1. Added 'Reducing Parental Conflict Challenge Fund: learning from the first phase' to 'published reports and information'.

  2. First published.