Government implements test to judge how ‘family friendly’ new laws will be
From today all new laws and policies approved by the government will have to pass a ‘families test’: a set of five questions that will assess how the new rule supports strong and stable families in the UK.
The five questions will be as follows:
- What kind of impact might the policy have on family formation?
- What kind of impact will the policy have on families going through key transitions such as becoming parents, getting married, fostering or adopting, bereavement, redundancy, new caring responsibilities or the onset of a long-term health condition?
- What impacts will the policy have on all family members’ ability to play a full role in family life, including with respect to parenting and other caring responsibilities?
- How does the policy impact families before, during and after couple separation?
- How does the policy impact those families most at risk of deterioration of relationship quality and breakdown?
Announcing the test today, Iain Duncan Smith, the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions said that government support for strong families was a way to cut the cost of social problems and build a strong economy.
The five question test was formulated in conjunction with various families groups.
Iain Duncan Smith announced:
“Families are the foundations of society – and we know that strong and stable families can have a huge impact on improving the life chances of our children. So in order to build a stronger society and secure Britain’s future we must ensure we support them, and the relationships on which they are built. Today we are bringing this issue centre stage with a new test that will ensure every policy government introduced is assessed for its impact on the family.”
The Chair of the Relationships Alliance welcomed the announcement: “We very much welcome the implementation of the family test, which was announced at our Relationships Summit in August. This is an important step towards putting families and relationships at the heart of public policy, something we have been campaigning passionately for. We are proud to have supported the development of the test and we look forward to seeing it in action, helping policy-makers to put the interests of all families at the centre of their work.”
What is the Relationships Alliance?
The Relationships Alliance consists of the following organisations: Relate, Marriage Care, OnePlusOne and The Tavistock Centre for Couple Relationships
Its vision is a future in which strong and stable couple, family and social relationships form the basis of a thriving society.
The ‘families test’ was first mentioned by David Cameron in August 2014 at the Relationships Summit. You can read the full text of his speech here.
A guide has been produced for civil servants gives information on how the test should be implemented in practice.
It will apply to domestic policy- and law-making only.