Work with us

Dialogue First was set up to analyse and respond to the shortcomings of family law services to prioritise child and adult mental wellbeing at a time of relationship breakdown. It led to the development of a new dispute resolution model called Lawyer-Supported Mediation.

The company is run by Marc Lopatin, trained family mediator and former risk management consultant and Jayne Carrington, former Managing Director of Right Corecare Ltd (EAP).

From Q2 2017, Dialogue First will be convening a vanguard group of major employers and professional membership bodies to take part in a ground-breaking initiative to evaluate the impact of distressed relationships on workplace productivity and performance. The initiative – covering the UK – will respond to the impacts, risks and gap analysis outlined in our slides entitled: Couples in Crisis: The hidden risk to workplace wellbeing.

The evaluation will be independently conducted by the Psychology School of the University of Liverpool. Combined with supplemental management information compiled by Dialogue First – about the effectiveness of both early stage intervention and ongoing provision – participating partners will receive comprehensive anonymised feedback about all employees passing through the Dialogue First gateway. Employees that decline any provision after accessing the gateway will also be invited to take part in the evaluation.

The gateway will offer access to the following:

  • A free legal consultation about divorce/separation
  • Access and signposting to relationship support
  • A call back from Dialogue First to discuss options and next steps

Innovation partner
To ensure a sufficient volume of employees access the gateway – and help validate the nationwide evaluation – Dialogue First will work free of charge with each referral partner to optimise early stage intervention by collaborating with internal and external stakeholders to design the gateway.

Partnership working is a pre-requisite for participation and a key learning of our recent workplace pilot with five major EAPs and Royal Mail. Data collected during this period revealed employee utilisation of EAP provision is extremely low. Even more so for relationship failure. A key outcome therefore is an end to the reliance on EAP provision as a panacea solution and the seeding of early stage intervention across multiple pathways.

Among those employees that did contact their EAP during the pilot, we observed how the imposition of HRMC’s EAP restrictions (P11D) effectively prohibits the prospect of more specialist and on-going support. EAP providers routinely channelled presenting employees into one-to-one counselling knowing that the only alternative was a one-off, 15-minute legal information phone call with a non-lawyer and then only after triage screening for eligibility.

Managing risk
In response, Dialogue First has configured a first response model that leverages Customer Relationship Management (CRM) technology. As well as being able to signpost on for relationship support, Dialogue First uses its CRM to follow-up at appropriate intervals, signpost employees back into employer-paid provision (e.g. EAP short-term counselling) and sensitively can reach out to an employee’s partner.

We hope your organisation will consider being an early adopter of this new and relevant innovation. The evidence that relationship breakdown is a hidden risk to employee health and wellbeing is compelling. By the same token, existing support systems and providers are not joined up or currently addressing the problem. No additional funding on your part is required; simply the optimisation of existing investments and services, leading to a better choice for at risk employees. 

*For more information about joining the nationwide evaluation, please call Dialogue First founder Marc Lopatin on 033 0223 1188 or complete our the short callback form.

The approach is already changing lives and is a must-have for employers committed to workplace wellbeing.

Jeremy Todd, chief executive of national charity Family Lives