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Helping couples and families strengthen their relationships has been the guiding mission of Tavistock Relationships for over 65 years. The charity wanted help to understand the economic benefits of their Parents as Partners (PasP) programme, a free service that helps the whole family, not just the relationship between parents and their children.


Pro Bono Economics (PBE) matched Tavistock Relationships with an experienced economist from the Department for Education. PBE provided expert oversight of the project to show how PasP provides outstanding value for money and excellent benefits to clients.


The benefits of PasP outweigh the costs: £3.50 per £1 spent (central assumption). Returns could be higher if other beneficial impacts of the programme were valued in monetary terms (such as improved relationship quality, reductions in parenting stress and the reduced risk of child abuse and neglect). The PBE report estimated that benefits could rise to £7 per £1 spent if these benefits were factored in.


Couples and families in difficulty often experience depression, disruptive behaviour in children and are at a higher risk of falling into patterns of domestic violence. The PBE study highlighted the economic benefits of improvements in these three main outcomes. Follow-up evaluations show reductions in domestic violence and in children’s emotional and behavioural difficulties are sustained after clients finish the programme.

Lucy Draper (Head of Parents as Partners)

“The Parents as Partners (PasP) team found the experience of working with Pro Bono Economics immensely useful. We think about our work in entirely new ways. Whilst it’s still early days, the effectiveness of PasP has been fully established. We are looking forward to inviting PBE back in the future as we collect information from parents a year or so after leaving the programme.”

Dr. Allan Little (Department for Education)

“My experience as a volunteer has been unique, challenging and enormously enjoyable. I highly recommend volunteering with Pro Bono Economics. I hope this report will provide new insights into the value of couple relationships from an economic perspective, making a useful contribution to the development of the Parents as Partners programme.”