New Report reveals Family Test largely ignored

A new report has revealed that only four out of 14 government departments can point to specific policies where the Prime Minister’s Family Test has been applied.

The families test: a review of progress one year on has been compiled by Relate, the Relationship Foundation and Families and Childcare Trust and is based on responses gathered from government departments.

The Department for Work and Pensions, the Department for Education, the Ministry of Defence and the Department of Business Innovation and Skills can all provide evidence of the test being applied to specific policies.

However key departments, such as the Department of Health and the Department for Communities and Local Government provided no real information about how widely the test was being used.

Although this does not automatically mean the test is not being used, because there is obligation to publish the results, it still suggests a comprehensive failure to consistently make use of the Family Test in policy making.

The Family test was introduced by the Prime Minister in October 2014 as a means of safe-guarding family life. The PM said at the time that he wanted it to be applied to every government policy.

However since then the evidence suggests the test has been little used and inconsistently applied leading to calls for it to be put on a statutory basis something CARE wholeheartedly supports.

In December last year, a private members bill in the name of Conservative MP Caroline Ansell which would enshrine the Family Test in law received its Second Reading in the House of Commons.

You can also read more from Relate Chief Executive Chris Sherwood here.

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