Implementing the Family Test – a review of progress one year on
Relationships Foundation, The Family and Childcare Trust and Relate, supported by 15 other charities, have reviewed the implementation of the Family Test in their new report.
While it is promising that some departments have begun to engage with the Family Test, it needs to be implemented meaningfully and transparently by everyone if it is to make a real difference. This is a flagship Government policy and the Prime Minister had committed to apply the test across all domestic policy. It is clear this is not happening. The Family Test is a valuable tool, which has the potential to focus departments across Government on the importance of family relationships to the health and stability of our society.
Along with giving the Family Test statutory footing, we want the Government and its departments to:
- Publish a record of their Family Test assessments.
- Publish an annual review reporting on its performance against agreed outcome measures.
- Develop and publish tools and resources to bridge the disconnect between the UK evidence base on family relationships and the Family Test process.
- Examine the feasibility of a local Family Test as decisions affecting families are increasingly devolved to local authorities and health bodies.
These steps would end any uncertainty about the purpose and status of the test. The Family Test can be a success as long as there is sustained emphasis on its importance from the top, continuing learning and development amongst the civil service, and constructive engagement from the full range of organisations with an interest in families. It will take time but the potential rewards are great.