The Challenge Fund is now open for applications - begin here.

Reducing Parental Conflict Challenge Fund

As part of the Reducing Parental Conflict Programme, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is launching a £2.7 million Challenge Fund that will provide grant funding to innovative projects, to gather learning on what works to reduce parental conflict.


The RPC Challenge Fund will allocate grants through two strands:

  • A Digital Support for Families strand: £1.6 million is available to provide grant funding to innovative projects that will test what works digitally to support and maintain engagement with disadvantaged families to reduce parental conflict.
  • A Support for Disadvantaged Families strand: A further £1.1 million is available to test what works to support disadvantaged families that are at greater risk of parental conflict, where there is limited existing evidence.

We expect the fund to be very competitive and only the strongest initiatives will be awarded grants.

Eligible bidders could include local authorities; digital organisations; organisations from the public and private sector; voluntary and community organisations; and social enterprises. We welcome applications from partnerships which possess the relevant skills and experience.

Initiatives should be well planned and ready to start in April 2019 and be fully delivered by March 2020.

The key objective of the Challenge Fund is to build a broader evidence base of what works in reducing parental conflict. Evidence will inform future policy and practice and help local areas support a greater number of disadvantaged families at risk of parental conflict.

Building on activity undertaken so far by the Reducing Parental Conflict Programme, the Challenge Fund will gather learning where:

  • there are currently no firm answers;
  • parents are living in the same household or living separately; and
  • conflict is below the threshold of domestic abuse.

Digital Support (£1.6 million available)

Through the Challenge Fund, by providing grant funding for digital innovation, we are seeking to enable more families that are experiencing parental conflict to self-identify and address the conflict they are experiencing earlier.

DWP will provide grant funding for innovative digital initiatives, to learn more about what engages parents online to help reduce parental conflict. Grant participants will be asked to develop support based on user need which targets digital support at those parents with low digital skills and who live in low income and workless households.

The Challenge Fund will invest in initiatives that best demonstrate how they will test and learn what is most effective in supporting parents to reduce the conflict in their relationship by:

  • placing material where disadvantaged families go on line
  • developing support material based on users’ needs
  • engaging and maintaining engagement

Initiatives should avoid duplicating existing online provision and the Challenge Fund cannot fund new websites.

Applicants must be based within the United Kingdom to submit applications to the Digital Support strand. Initiatives will be required to focus on an English audience although this support will be available to families living elsewhere within the United Kingdom.


Support for Disadvantaged Families (£1.1 million available)

Support for Disadvantaged Families initiatives will test and learn from new or emerging approaches to supporting disadvantaged families with an increased risk of parental conflict.

The Challenge Fund will seek learning on what works to support disadvantaged families by funding innovation where there is little current evidence. For example, this might include innovation to promote better integration or join-up of local services, or targeted interventions for families. We are also interested in innovation which explores how supporting parents to reduce their conflict can reduce the number of parents going to court when they separate.

As a key aim of this fund is to encourage innovation, we will not fund activity which is already taking place unless there is a strong case for doing so.

Applicants and activity must be based in England.

Upper tier local authorities interested in applying to the Challenge Fund should note the restrictions listed in the Guidance.


Fund application materials

Download the documents below to find out more about both Challenge Fund strands. Please read all of the documents carefully before applying to the Fund.


How to apply – now open

The Challenge Fund is now open for applications.

Please read this section carefully before you begin.

Before being given access to the online application form you will need to complete a self-assessment and eligibility check. The self-assessment will help you to identify quickly whether your application is likely to meet the Challenge Fund criteria.

If you complete the self-assessment and the Challenge Fund is right for you, then you can submit some basic information about your organisation and idea.

We will use the information you provide to determine whether your organisation and initiative are eligible and a good fit for the Challenge Fund. We are not at this point assessing the relative strength of initiatives and what you tell us will not affect our assessment of any full application you later submit.

After you have submitted your eligibility check, within three working days, we will tell you whether you are eligible to apply or we will contact you if we need further information.

If you are invited to apply you will be sent a link to the full application form. Applications must then be submitted by 5pm on 15 February.

To allow the maximum time to complete a full application we would encourage you to submit your eligibility check as early as possible. The latest you can submit an eligibility check is 5pm on 8 February, but if you submit close to this date, you would have very little time to complete your application.

Click here to begin your self-assessment and submit an eligibility check.

If you have any questions about applying to the Challenge Fund please contact us using the Contact Page.


Fund Timetable

We expect the following timetable.

Stage Date
Guidance and criteria is published 3 January 2019
Applicants can complete a self-assessment and eligibility check, the mandatory first stage of applying to the Challenge Fund 11 January to 8 February 2019
Deadline for submitting full applications 15 February 2019 (5pm)
We aim to notify applicants of the outcome of their application by 31 March 2019
Successful applicants begin delivering initiatives April 2019
Ongoing delivery and learning reports submitted April 2019 to March 2020
Activities and costs funded by the Challenge Fund must finish by 31 March 2020
Evaluation and final reporting due by 10 April 2020

Ecorys UK in partnership with Family Lives will be running the grant fund on behalf of DWP.