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Separated Parents Information Programme (SPIP)

SPIP is a course which helps parents understand separation from a child’s point of view and learn the fundamental principles of how to manage and reduce the impact of conflict on their children.

What happens on a SPIP

The course is a four-hour programme run during the daytime including at weekends or split over two consecutive evenings into two hour sessions. It is usually delivered to small groups of male and female parents, around six to ten, by experienced, trained and friendly facilitators. Former partners don’t attend the same session but it is important that both parents go on a programme.

The course provides a safe place to:

  • Learn what children need most when their parents are separating
  • Develop practical skills and ideas to improve communication and reduce conflict
  • Get support from parents in similar situations
  • Access additional support available to parents and children
  • Understand and reflect on the emotional impact of separation on parents

Who the service is for

Family Action run the service for parents in Manchester, South Yorkshire, Liverpool and Buxton. Our partner organisation Core Assets deliver the programme in Sheffield, West Yorkshire, Birkenhead, Chester and Crewe, Reading and Guildford, Reigate and Staines.

If you need to attend in another area please contact your local provider which you can find on the Cafcass national directory here.

Parents are either ‘directed’ by the Court to attend or choose to attend the course themselves independently. If court-ordered they are required to go. A Cafcass-funded service, there is no charge to these parents to attend. An interpreter service is available and we will provide additional support if you need it.

A SPIP is appropriate if there are no safeguarding concerns about children or parents.

How to access the service if the Court directs you to go

If the Court has directed you to attend, Cafcass will send you a welcome letter or email and forward your details to your nearest provider who will then contact you to book you a place on the programme. Cafcass expects you to attend within twenty days.  Your welcome letter will include a unique seven digit code which you’ll need to bring to the session to register your attendance.

We will send you confirmation with a map with local information including parking details. You’re also welcome to contact our team coordinators for directions or other local information.

For any queries contact our team at Head Office
T: 020 7241 7456 or 0207254 6251 (extension 6657) E: spips@family-action.org.uk
Open Monday- Friday 10.00-16.00. We receive a high volume of calls so please leave a voicemail if the line is busy. We will get back to you within two working days.

If you want local information about the programme contact our team coordinators
Greater Manchester and Liverpool: Tracy Gore 07791382964
South Yorkshire: Kim Warner 07587633163

How to access the service independently

Parents can choose to attend the course independently of the family courts to help with the difficulties separated families often face. This is known as a Dispute Resolution or DRSPIP. There is a fee to attend of £99.

If you contact us at spips@family-action.org.uk we will arrange a time to speak with you to ensure the programme is suitable for you. If it is, we will offer you a range of course dates and locations, confirm a date and send you additional information to help you understand how the course will help you.

What parents say about the programme

  • Very beneficial. The biggest thing I’ve learnt is everything that’s said and done affects my child.”
  • “It was nice to feel I’m not the only one going through this.”
  • “SPIP opens your mind to being more amicable.”
  • “Better than I expected!”

Evidence and impact

Of 100 parents who attended across Manchester and South Yorkshire

88% strongly agreed with the following statement: I have learnt things on the SPIP group that I will be able to use to make things better for my children

91% strongly agreed with the following statement: I have an improved understanding of the effect of parental conflict and how I respond and behave

Statistics from January 2017


Further support and information

Sorting out Separation is an expert government-backed source of advice and online tools on a range of issues including financial and legal difficulties, parenting, health and housing.


The Parent Connection, run by the leading separation research charity One Plus One, offers a free skills-based programme that complements the SPIP. It helps you work out what’s best for your children and manage conflict with your ex partner. Cafcass advise parents to access the course before or after the programme.

There’s also a listening room where you can chat live online to trained mediators, a discussion forum and a list of local mediation organisations.



The programme will give you ideas and signpost ways in which you can get help outside court.