Since the formation of the coalition government the Relationships Foundation has argued that there needs to be cabinet level leadership of family policy that is not solely linked to any one spending department. Family relationships are a significant influence on key government goals including greater wellbeing, improved social mobility and reducing the fiscal deficit. They are also an essential factor in educational attainment, public health, social care, welfare and criminal justice. Family relationships are in turn influenced by many policy areas. The Relationships Foundation therefore welcomes the establishment of the Task Force with the potential to ensure that government policy as a whole does enable stronger family relationships and more positive experiences of childhood.
Strengthening families and improving the lives of children is a long-term task, addressing long-term trends. It is therefore important that the taskforce sets in train an approach to policy for the duration of the coalition government and beyond. As well as seeking to identify and prioritise specific policy proposals the taskforce will therefore also need to consider these three factors.
- Clarity of outcomes so that it is clear what will constitute progress in this area over the next five years.
- The processes of government that help track progress in this area, increasing transparency and accountability, and enabling effective integrated responses.
- Mechanisms of empowering parents ‘so that they can better navigate this less forgiving, less supportive world’.
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