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Relationships Matter

This programme remains open for new referrals. Pathways are being delivered remotely using online media. 

Parental conflict, including parents who are together or separated, which is frequent, intense and poorly resolved, puts children's mental health and long-term life chances at risk.

The Reducing Parental Conflict Programme (RPC), or 'Relationships Matter' provides four, funded pathways of intervention. These programmes have been proven to improve family stability and improve outcomes for children, including:

Icon for pdf RPC Practitioner Leaflet [156.9KB] provides full details of eligibility and programme content. Watch our introduction to the programme video.

Icon for pdf Information for parents. [146.88KB]

The programme is open for referrals from professionals working with families in the following areas;

  • Gateshead
  • Newcastle upon Tyne
  • Sunderland
  • Northumberland
  • South Tyneside
  • Stockton on Tees
  • Hartlepool
  • Middlesbrough
  • Redcar and Cleveland
  • Durham. 

Making a referral

The Referral Stage Questionnaire (RSQ) is not just a form, it is a tool for practitioners to facilitate a discussion with both parents about their relationship. The RSQ has been described by parents as the first time that they have been asked about their relationship. The RSQ has been rigorously tested and researched, every question is there for a reason. 

Professionals can use this short video to help explain the aims and benefits of the programme.

We need an RSQ for each parent, along with the Participation Agreement signed by you (as link worker) and the parents. Scan all four documents and email to

Get advice and support by calling the Referral Gateway Team for a pre-referral discussion Monday - Friday, 9am-5pm on 0191 433 3355.  

Icon for pdf RSQ couple [574.81KB] 

Icon for pdf RSQ Separated [797.03KB] 

Icon for pdf RSQ Expecting Together [922.46KB]

Icon for pdf RSQ Expecting Separated [725.21KB] 

Icon for word RSQ Participation Agreement [46.62KB]

Involving both parents

The Relationships Matter programme is aiming to achieve a culture change across services working with families. We want to ensure that both parents are listened to and heard. Research suggests if only one parent is engaged, the other parent feels less involved and the intervention will be less effective.

Unstable relationships are not domestic abuse

The Relationships Matter Programme does not work with those in abusive relationships. The programme is for parents who are together or separated where there is not an imbalance of power, neither parent is fearful of the other and there are no specialist domestic abuse services working with the family. Workers should be clear about how to access local domestic abuse services and when to seek management oversight of this decision. 


From receiving your referral, the Referral Gateway has two working days to process the referral to Relate. Relate can take up to 10 working days to arrange an initial home visit and a further five working days to provide a start date. In total, from receiving a referral from you, to a start date being allocated, the timescale is 17 working days. 

Free provision 

The programme is free and fully-funded, including childcare, travel up to 90 minutes and interpretation costs. 

No impact on benefits

Although the Relationships Matter Programme is funded by the DWP, the programme sits within the national Reducing Parental Conflict Programme. It's supported by a range of government departments. The programme does not impact on people's benefits. 

The programme is open to all parents, working and non-working.

Professional referrals only

A referral needs to be completed/supported by a frontline practitioner working alongside the family. If you have any questions, please contact the Referral Gateway on 0191 433 3355.

Cases about to close

The programme should not be used as an 'instead of' intervention to enable case closure by a frontline worker. We would still require details of a practitioner from a universal service such as school, health visiting or nursery, to offer local support should a safeguarding issue arise and to ensure a (good practice) smooth hand-over to a service the family are familiar with. 

Promoting attendance

Frontline staff do not need to attend sessions with parents but we do ask that you attend an initial home visit with our family support staff and do whatever practicable to promote and support attendance. 

Feedback on progress

Relate or Changing Futures North East will only provide information on attendance and engagement. Clinical feedback cannot be provided. 


Parents, carers, those with a Special Guardianship Order (SGO), foster carers, adoptive parents, step-parents and grandparents. We do not accept referrals for intergenerational conflict, such as between a parent and grandparent. A parent of any age, including those aged under 18 years, can be referred into the Relationships Matter Programme.

Further information

Parental conflict: the impact on children from Innovation Unit on Vimeo.

Visit the Early Intervention Foundation's RPC Hub for research, resources and toolkits 

Icon for powerpoint EIF presentation on relationship conflict [15.39MB]

Tavistock relationships - a short guide to working with co-parents

Couple Connection 

One Plus One 


Marriage Care

National Mediation  

Citizens Advice - family 


You can also follow Relationships Matter on Twitter


Relationships Matter Webinar Series One

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