Policy guide to ensure new laws support strong and stable families

A new test was announced today (31 October 2014) to help support strong and stable families within the UK.  The test, which will subject new laws and policies to five set questions to determine their reflection of government ethos, are hoped to create legislation that will inspire stronger family life.

The guidance was drawn up in a consultation with family groups, purportedly aimed to make clear to all departments the need to fully understand how government policies support family relationships.

Work and Pensions Secretary, Iain Duncan Smith, who pioneered the guidance, said: “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 questions involved in the test include: “How does the policy impact families before, during and after couple separation?” and “How does the policy impact those families most at risk of deterioration of relationship quality and breakdown?”

Mr Smith added: “This is the truest representation of government on the side of hard-working families in Britain – demonstrating a clear and unqualified commitment to strengthening and supporting family life for our children and for generations to come.”

Meanwhile, Ruth Sutherland, Chair of the Relationships Alliance and Chief Executive Officer of Relate, said: “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 policymakers to put the interests of all families at the centre of their work.”

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Nigel is the Managing Partner and Head of Litigation and Dispute Resolution in the London office of Mackrell Turner Garrett.
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