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The Separated Parents Information Programme (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.
Due to the COVID-19 virus we are currently running all SPIP programmes online.

How it works

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 is the service for

Family Action run the service for parents in Greater Manchester, South Yorkshire, Liverpool, Cheshire and Merseyside. Our partner organisation Polaris (formerly Core Asssets Children’s Services) deliver the programme in Sheffield, West Yorkshire, Birkenhead, Chester and Crewe, Reading and Guildford.

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 directed by a court

If the Court has directed you to attend, Cafcass will send you a letter of introduction 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.


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.

The difference we make

What parents say

“It has helped me understand the effects that the separation between us may have had on our children.”

“Was good to talk to other people going through similar stuff. It was nice to know you’re not the only one.”

“Amazing. Very good at involving everyone and helping you to understand difficult situations.”

“Done extremely well considering the difficulties we’re all facing. I was put at ease and felt comfortable for the whole of the course.”

Parent comments April-July 2020

Downloads and further information

Cafcass list of SPIP providers by location

If you live outside the areas we cover you can find your local SPIP provider here.

Parenting Plan

The Parenting Plan is a written plan worked out between parents after they separate and it covers the practical issues of parenting. It can help clarify the arrangements you need to put in place to care for your children after separation, without having to go to court

Sorting Out Separation

An expert government-backed source of advice and online tools on a range of issues including financial and legal difficulties, parenting, health and housing.

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.

SPIP Factsheet

More information about the contact services we run in Peterborough Peterborough Contact Centre factsheet.

Contact us

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 local coordinator: Tracy Gore 07791382964