Welcome to the start of November and our question for this week.
Our Prime Minister David Cameron has just unveiled more details of plans to make all laws and policies “Family Friendly”. Having announced these plans in August of this year, we now have a clearer understanding of what making law and policy in the UK “Family Friendly” means.
The “Families Test” will require all Whitehall Initiatives to be measured against the impact they will have on the “formation of stable families”, parenting, caring duties and the risk of family breakdown or separation.
Civil servants handling initiatives will be asked to consider the following questions during the early stages of policy formulation before putting it to ministers and Parliament:
- What impact will policies have on family formation?
- What impact will policies 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 impact will policies have on all family members’ ability to play a full role in family life, including with respect to parenting and other caring responsibilities?
- What impact will policies have on families before, during and after couple separation?
- The impact on families most at risk of deterioration of relationship quality and breakdown?
No further details have been released at this time to explain how this would work in practice, what happens if the policy or law does not meet the Test and how binding these questions are in terms of enforcement of the “Families Test”.
Our question to you then, is this: do you think the proposed “Families Test” is a brilliant idea which will make the UK more family friendly, or just a box ticking exercise which is nothing more than a shoddy attempt at buying votes as we run up to election time?