The government has announced that in accordance with their
commitment to support strong and stable families, all new laws or government
policies will face a new ‘families test’.
There are 5 questions that all policy or legislation across government
must address before the policy or legislation can be put to ministers or
introduced to parliament.
The 5 questions are as follows:
All departments will have to document how they have met the
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?
The Department for Work and Pensions have said that it is
vital that the whole of government fully understood how its policies supported
strong family relationships and the test would allow its departments to identify
and take action to address any policies that could undermine them.
The DWP is also investing around £20 million on relationship
support to ensure family stability and to reduce the risk of relationship
breakdown, including piloting antenatal classes in 6 regions with a focus on
the father being involved in the child’s life.
Readers of this blog will know that our Alex Davies recently appeared on
Radio Kent speaking about the new law focussing on children’s needs after
divorce, and in particular that the family courts will presume that on
separation, each parent will play a role in the life of their child.
These reforms by the government seek to put the family at
the heart of policy development.
Claire is a solicitor in the family law team. You can telephone Claire direct on 01892
506191 or email Claire at firstname.lastname@example.org