David Cameron’s Family Test needs ‘real teeth’

A Family Test advocated by the Prime Minister is unlikely to make a meaningful difference unless it is made statutory and given “real teeth”, a coalition of family groups has said.

David Cameron said in 2014 that a Family Test would ensure domestic policies were “examined” for their impact on the family.

But a report backed by organisations including the Relationships Foundation found that Government departments’ responses had been “patchy”.

Proactive

The groups contacted 14 departments and received replies from ten, including the Treasury and the Ministry of Justice.

The Family Test is unlikely to achieve meaningful traction on policy unless it is given real teeth.

Family Test report

In their report on the issue, the organisations said the Government is taking “proactive steps to implement the Family Test”, but it was currently impossible to know what effect it was having on policy.

Warning of a “real risk” that families would not be placed, as intended, at the “centre of policy making”, the groups called for a strengthening of the test.

Traction

“The Family Test is unlikely to achieve meaningful traction on policy unless it is given real teeth.

“The Family Test should be given a clear statutory footing so that policy makers must always apply it when appropriate”, the groups said.

Relate, the Family and Childcare Trust and the Relationships Foundation produced the report, with 15 other organisations also giving their support.

Disappointment

Last year Fiona Bruce MP expressed her disappointment at the Government’s lack of effort on the Family Test.

Mrs Bruce said she and other MPs were “challenging the Government to stay true to the word they gave” on the issue.

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