Delivering a Government Office for Family Policy –
A brief overview:
Family policy doesn’t easily fit into a single department. Advocates for family policy have historically called for a ‘Cabinet level Minister for family’, the CSJ has constantly backed these calls. This short report by the Centre for Social Justice builds on this historic recommendation with a more detailed recommendation for a Government Office for Family Policy, using the Government Equalities Office as a template.
As this report and previous work by the CSJ shows, poor family functioning and family breakdown impacts on almost all parts of government and doesn’t fit neatly into a single department.
The Family Test was introduced to help government officials think about family in policy making, but the government acknowledges that it has failed to become embedded within policy conversations and advice to Ministers. There is a long way to go before the government is successfully able to deliver family policy and this report argues that is a consequence of the structure of government being unsuited to addressing family as a policy issue. We make the case that the Government Equalities Office provides a template for a new Government Office for Family Policy with a similar remit to provide policy support across government.
The new Government Office for Family Policy would be led by a Minister with a place in Cabinet to ensure they are able to affect cross-governmental delivery, this responsibility would be affixed to another departmental brief in the same way the current Secretary of State for Work and Pensions is also the lead minister for the Government Equalities Office. Having political leadership at a Cabinet level is important in our political system for driving change.