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Funding: New Innovation Fund to support Separated Families

Introduction

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will shortly be launching a new £14m Innovation Fund across Great Britain. It will support separated families and help them to collaborate in the best interests of their children. This note provides information about our plans for the Innovation Fund and an opportunity to express interest in attending a bidder event during the week commencing 23 July 2012.

Background

The Government believes that strong and stable families are essential to a strong and stable society. When families do separate they should be offered the help and support required to enable them to work together in the best interest of their children.

Following the publication of the Green Paper – Strengthening families, promoting parental responsibility: the future of child maintenance, and advice from an external expert Steering Group, we are in the process of developing a web application which will provide online information and support to separated, separating parents and divorcing couples. This will be supported by telephone and face to face support in 2013 for parents that cannot access the web or need more intensive support.

Additionally, Government is committed to enabling the development of other initiatives to help separating and separated parents to collaborate. We are doing this via an Innovation Fund to Support Separated Families across Great Britain. Up to £14 million will be allocated over two bidding rounds: the first round will begin with the publication of the procurement documentation during week commencing 16 July 2012 and the contracts will go live early in 2013. The second bidding round will begin early in 2013 with contracts going live in autumn that year.

Key objectives of the Innovation Fund: Support for Separated Families

The two key objectives of this new Innovation Fund are to:

  • Increase the number of children benefiting from child maintenance arrangements by reducing conflict and improving collaboration between separated and separating parents. This will be achieved by developing effective interventions that help parents work together to make their own arrangements and avoid using the Courts or the Child Support Agency.
  • Test a wide range of interventions to understand what is effective in encouraging collaboration and reducing conflict amongst separating and separated parents. We will develop an evidence base of the most effective interventions across the spectrum of help and support available i.e. from intensive couple therapy to web based guidance and support.

Who can bid for this Innovation Fund?

We will welcome bids from public, private and voluntary sector organisations, either on their own or as part of a partnership with others. We know that voluntary sector bodies have a wide range of skills and expertise in working with separated families and would therefore particularly encourage them to bid, either as a main bidder or as a partner/sub-contractor.

It is essential that the organisation(s) who deliver the services to the separated parents (either the main contractor or sub-contractors) have previous appropriate experience of working with separated and separating parents.

Other information

We will accept bids for up to a two year contract period – we expect the precise length of contract to vary depending on how long each project needs to be tested. Bids must not exceed £1.5 million in total, with no minimum levels. Bids based on a particular locality can be anywhere in Great Britain.

All projects funded by this Innovation Fund will be fully evaluated so that we can learn lessons and build our evidence base as well as considering wider replication of the interventions that work best.

Following publication of the full procurement documentation (Business Link website) during week commencing 16 July 2012, we will be holding events in London (24 July), Cardiff (25 July) and Edinburgh (27 July) to explain the Innovation Fund requirements more fully and to answer questions from interested bidders. If you are interested in attending one of these events you can register your interest now by e-mailing your name, contact information and event location preference to: [email protected].

This article was taken from – http://www.dwp.gov.uk/supplying-dwp/what-we-buy/general-goods-and-services/innovation-fund-separated-fam/