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Meier, R. (2015). The Relationships Alliance. Cpl. Fam. Psychoanal., 5(1):117-119.

(2015). Couple and Family Psychoanalysis, 5(1):117-119

The Relationships Alliance

Richard Meier

The Relationships Alliance is a consortium comprising Relate, Marriage Care, OnePlusOne, and The Tavistock Centre for Couple Relationships. It was formed in 2012 and is funded by the Department for Education (though responsibility for relationship support funding within government has recently moved to the Department for Work and Pensions).

With 2015 being an election year, the Relationships Alliance—whose raison d'être is to influence United Kingdom (UK) policy such that relationship support rises higher on the political agendas of all the main political parties—decided that it would publish a manifesto in the autumn of 2014 in order to set out a range of policy ideas which would, the Alliance hopes, take public policy about relationships “from the margins to the mainstream”.

In the spring of 2014, the four relationship support charities comprising the Alliance met to brainstorm what might go into the manifesto. This meeting was joined by Ellen Broome from the Family and Childcare Trust, and her input and experience were very helpful to the process.

As anyone who has given this area of policy sustained thought will have realised, the quality of the relationships which adults, and children, enjoy plays into a huge range of policy areas. These range from mental health (the links between relationship health and common mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety are well established at a research level, though very little acted upon at policy and practice levels) to physical health (the risk of suffering from cardiovascular events is higher the poorer the quality of one's couple relationship, for example); from employment (lack of support, for example, through undermining one's partner, is related to poorer likelihood of that partner finding employment) to the family court system (the impact on children's emotional well-being of poorly managed and entrenched conflict between separating and separated parents is now widely acknowledged).

Thus the task of formulating meaningful and achievable policies in this area of social policy is considerable.

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