The Tavistock Institute for Human Relations was the lead partner in an evaluation of relationship support interventions between August 2011 and January 2014, funded by the Department for Education.
The evaluation focused on three specific types of intervention: two forms of marriage preparation; a brief relationship education session delivered mainly to mothers; and couple counselling provided by four different organisations. It showed that these services could improve people’s well-being, communication with their partner or the quality of their relationship. Improvement on all three of these was especially marked after using couple counselling. In addition, the study included a cost-benefit analysis, which suggested that by reducing the risk of couples separating marriage preparation and couple counselling both offer excellent value for money with a cost benefit ratio of around 11:1 – in other words every £1 spent on marriage preparation classes or couple counselling might save the public purse around £11.00.
The government would like to see more people benefiting from these interventions and, in the case of couple counselling, using it before problems become severe and entrenched. The final report contained some recommendations on how this might be achieved.
Further details about the evaluation can be found here, along with a link to download the full report.