Support setting up and running a forum

On this page you can find support on the day-to-day running of a parent carer forum, including advice on setting up a forum in your area.

Parent Carer Participation Handbook

The parent carer participation handbook [PDF] is useful for anyone involved in running a forum.

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The handbook includes information on all aspects of running a forum including:

  • Getting started, policies, governance
  • Finances including paying parents
  • Working as a team, managing conflict
  • Reaching and consulting with parents
  • Working with local authorities & health to improve  services

Co-production and campaigning guidance

The conditions of their grant mean that parent carer forums can't take part in campaign activity. However, that doesn't mean that forums can't support local and national campaigns with their knowledge and experience.

We've produced guidelines to explain how Contact supports campaign groups and parent carer forums, and to help parent carer forums find ways to work with local campaign groups

Find out more in our co-production and campaigning guidelines.

Advising Communities subscription

Advising Communities works to advise and support community organisations, charities and public-sector bodies across the UK with a team of in-house community advisers and lawyers. They provide a range of services including advice and information, affordable legal services, training and consultancy and quality standards. These services help organisations understand and tackle often complicated legal, technical and regulatory challenges. 

Contact and the NNPCF have arranged a complimentary subscription to Advising Communities' advice and information service during 2018-19 for all Department for Education (DfE)-funded parent carer forums. This includes a comprehensive Knowledge bank of Information, with over 150 information sheets and template documents. As well as this, you are also able access Expert Email Advice on legal and technical issues.

If you're in a DfE-funded forum, your Advising Communities subscription can be activated by following the link provided by your regional adviser, and if you haven't yet registered with them it is a straightforward process - ask your adviser to re-send the link to you. When registering, specify that you're a parent carer forum, as Contact has paid your subscription for this financial year.

Templates for forums

Forums developing policies might find it it helpful to adapt these templates.


Governance documents


Other policies and procedures


Financial management

Further information on the Grant Application and Monitoring process can be found on the ' Parent carer participation grant and monitoring' page.


Examples of forum policies

East Sussex Parent & Carer council - financial policy [PDF]

Sheffield Parent carer Forum - financial policy [PDF]

Salford Family Forum - financial policy [PDF]

Webinars for parent carer forums

We produce and upload new webinars regularly on topics to help forums with their structure and governance, developing their reach and capacity and increasing their knowledge of laws and policies that affect families of disabled children.

Our webinar resources are free for you to explore any time.  Details of upcoming webinars are regularly updated on our Learning and Event Page and recordings of webinars can be found on our Resources page.