We are part of an exciting partnership project (with One Plus One and Best Beginnings) funded by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). With our partners we are creating an exciting new evidence-based digital programme which aims to give disadvantaged children the best start in life.

The programme is aimed at helping parents understand the impact of conflict on their babies, learn to cope with life’s stresses and improve communication within their relationships. The stress associated with the transition to parenthood can trigger a significant decline in relationship quality and increase low-level conflict at home. We know that this work fits with the agenda of many Local Authorities and this high-profile national project is a great opportunity for health visitors to further develop their therapeutic working skills alongside parents.


The programme is being run on a “test-learn-evaluate” strategy adapting an existing module. This is trialling a blended approach where parents will have access to a digital programme guided by health visitors across 3 sessions to maximise impact.

We are offering limited places for health visitors* to train with us as “Relationship Champions”, to be able to use this digital intervention with families in this guided method and share it onwards with their colleagues also.  We have already confirmed a number of places but are looking to fill gaps in some areas, e.g. we have places remaining in the North of England currently. Note: we are working to DWP guidance on areas to prioritise in England.

*previous applicants need not apply.


  • September 2019 – First training day – one day training in Leeds (17.9.19) or London (18.9.19)
  • Testing by participants with 3 families. Planning a date for cascade training in November 2019.
  • November 2019 – Second training day – one day training in Leeds (4.11.19) or London (7.11.19)
  • Following the second event, participants will begin cascading the training to 10 colleagues who will then also test with 3 families each.
  • The participant and their colleagues trained will be asked to provide data on the effectiveness of the innovative digital programme as feedback for the DWP project.
  • Support will be offered by iHV throughout the programme.


This is non-recurring funding, so it is a one-off offer of training as part of this wider programme with limited places available.

For more information and discussions about areas of priority please contact: [email protected] or 07539 117775.

How to apply

If you are interested in picking up a place on this interesting and innovative programme please:

Expressions of interest applications will close Friday 12 July 2019 – so don’t delay!

The Institute of Health Visiting (iHV) has published its preferred plan for the relationship of health visiting with the NHS in the next 10 years.


As the NHS writes its new 10-year plan, with a specific focus on children, prevention and mental health, the Institute of Health Visiting has published its own recommendations for strengthening health visiting services alongside.





Dr Cheryll Adams CBE, Executive Director, Institute of Health Visiting said:

“Health visitors have a vital role in delivering early preventative services for infants and children, and in supporting parents through the emotional challenges of early parenthood. Unless there is a plan to strengthen health visiting services alongside the new NHS 10-year plan, it will be impossible to deliver on many of what we expect to be its worthy ambitions. We hope that our rationale, and the recommendations in our new position statement, will be taken seriously by those writing the plan.

Dr Adams continued:

“Moving health visiting commissioning completely from the NHS to local authorities, in October 2015, has created many challenges for the quality of services that health visitors have been able to deliver, and for the essential relationships that health visitors need to have with NHS partners. Part of the challenge has come from cuts to public health budgets, but it’s more complex than that – the loss of close relationships with NHS services, in particular with general practitioners, has also been very unhelpful.

“Three years of the local authority commissioning model has seen a loss of around 20% of the workforce and worryingly high levels of grade mix.  Therefore, we are proposing a new joint NHS/Local Authority governance/commissioning model – this we hope will avoid such challenges for services to our most vulnerable members of society in the future.

Further recommendations

“Other recommendations include that every family should have at least nine universal contacts. This requires new investment into the profession, but that will be more than offset by savings in preventable treatment costs in later life. Nine core universal contacts being delivered by health visitors is becoming the norm for Welsh families, with Scottish families receiving eleven! This is based on the evidence of what can be achieved by providing robust health visiting services during the very early years – and English children shouldn’t be disadvantaged.”

Dr Adams concluded:

“Our position statement makes clear what we believe needs to happen to improve outcomes for children through strengthened health visiting – with a renewed focus on children’s services, improving mental health and prevention and reducing inequalities in the essential early years period. We are circulating it widely to decision makers and those concerned about giving every child the best start in life.”



New Parent Tips on looking after your relationship as new parents are published.

Having a baby is a wonderfully exciting time but it can also present some challenges to your relationship with your partner.

These parent top tips bring together a collection of evidence-based tips that new parents can put into practice today to help your relationship thrive.

New Good Practice Points for Health Visitors in supporting the couple relationship during the transition to parenthood have been published for our Associate members.

It is well established that new parents are more likely to ‘turn to’ someone like a health visitor when they first experience some kind of relationship problem. Health visitors are in a unique position to offer early preventative relationship support and promote family and relationship stability

The new GPP is found on the Relationships resources page (available to Associate members only).