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Louisa Gothard
Louisa Gothard
Senior Solicitor, Head of Family Law
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Family Law Panel awarded specialist support and investment
Date:11 MAR 2016
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Journals Manager + Online Editor
The Family Law Panel, a nationwide consortium of experts dedicated to supporting families in navigating the legal process, has been awarded a specialist social venture investment to help it grow and realise its full potential. 

The Family Law Panel (FLP), managed by the Community Interest Company, OnlyMums and OnlyDads has been accepted on to the Seedbed Accelerator programme run by the School for Social Entrepreneurs.

The Seebed programme is a new type of social accelerator programme, funded by the Cabinet Office, that offers intensive support and investment for early-stage social ventures in the South West.

The interview process concentrated on FLP would benefit wider society, as well as being able to demonstrate a financially sustainable model.

Rebecca Giraud, co-director of FLP said:

'Running the OnlyMums and OnlyDads websites means over the years we have had contact with many thousands of men and women going through divorce/separation. The emails we receive have common themes – my ex won’t mediate, I don’t see enough of my children, through to rather more desperate pleas for support and direction from victims of domestic abuse. The Family Law Panel (FLP) is our best response to these calls for support from the public.

During the development stage, 18 months ago, we took advice from some of the bigger firms of family solicitors and mediators on how the Family Law Panel might best operate. We were informed the key would be to direct people to nearby professional help, to give people the confidence to do so by making the initial service free of charge, and to make it as accessible as possible. 

These essential criteria have now been built into our mobile-friendly website. It now offers the public the opportunity to make contact with professional support via phone, email, social media and encrypted live chat. Keeping up with the latest information technology available is key.'

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Speaking of the business model, Bob Greig added:

'That bit is simple! Professionals pay an annual subscription to be a member. We have placed strict limits on the number of professionals in each postcode area in order that the service doesn’t become saturated in certain parts of the country. We also wanted to make the choosing who to contact easier for the user. In turn, we share the FLP initial free “triage” service with other parenting groups and organisations to build extra traffic. We recognise family law professionals run commercial operations so the more traffic they get, the more chance they have of gaining clients.'

During the forthcoming series of Seedbed workshops and tutorials Rebecca and Bob will be concentrating in particular on developing the training and research element for members of the FLP.

Bob continued:

'Dr Angharad Rudkin (Southampton University) and member of our Steering Group has been asked to bring forward initial thoughts on how the best research on families can be made more accessible to the FLP professional membership.

Enabling the public to gain initial family law direction, free of charge from the best qualified, best informed professionals is a worthwhile cause.' 

For more information follow OnlyMums, OnlyDads and the Family Law Panel on Twitter or visit: www.onlydads.org | www.onlymums.org | www.thefamilylawpanel.org
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