Policy and Politics: Question Time - Cheryl Turner, head of public policy, Relate

Why are you lobbying Parliament?

We've produced a policy manifesto for the run-up to the General Election to spell out the importance of adult relationships in families. The system at the moment focuses on parents and parenting skills, which we applaud, but we believe it's not the whole picture. What we know from our 140,000 clients is that the health and well-being of the child is very dependent on the health and wellbeing of the adult couple relationship, and we want the Government to take that seriously.

How are you going about it?

We've sent our manifesto to our 82 centres round the country with a request for them to use it in the run-up to the election and a briefing on how to work with MPs. We want to do it locally because that's where things happen in an election. But we've also sent it to ministers, shadow ministers and about 50 MPs and peers. We've also had meetings with Annette Brookes of the Lib Dems and Theresa May of the Conservatives. The children's minister Margaret Hodge knows our agenda but we would also like to meet her.

What response are you getting?

We've had about 20 letters from MPs and peers saying they're happy to endorse our manifesto and asking what they can do. There have been phone calls as well, so it's really positive. We've met three or four peers and done briefings on sex and relationship education, which was quite timely because there was an Ofsted announcement last week that covered its concerns about the lack of consistency in teaching the subject.

Will you get a change in the law?

The only actual change in the law we're seeking is to make sex and relationship education compulsory in schools, and we think the tide is changing on that because of the Government's high priority for young people and families.

We think the Government will do it. We also want relationship support to be available to people on Legal Aid when they are separating or divorcing. That could be either mediation or counselling.

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