Strengthening Families & Communities
17th January 2022 - 20th March 2022
“The [Supporting Families] programme will continue to support recovery by helping children back to school, helping those who have lost their jobs get back to work, by helping young people avoid crime, protecting mental health and by tackling domestic abuse.” (Eddie Hughes MP, Minister for Supporting Families, 26 March 2021)
In Autumn 2020, CPF Groups called for the government to “do more to back long-term, stable relationships, particularly marriage and family life” and identified childcare cost & availability as the top barrier to in-work progression.
Over the past decade, government has been in a race to provide ever more hours of childcare to working parents of three and four-year-olds. This has been welcomed by parents, however there is relatively little support available for parents of younger and older children and little flexibility for parents to use this provision in alternative ways with traditional nurseries. With the rising cost of living, the continued importance of supporting families and the moral imperative of supporting parents (mostly mothers) to make choices for their families and careers, we need to take a fresh look at the role of the state in supporting families in the 21st century.
The government’s Supporting Families programme aims to:
Raise the ambition for vulnerable families, driving local services to work better together to build their resilience and help them to thrive.
Drive improvements to local partnership working and data use so that vulnerable families receive the right support, at the right time. This means investing more in good practice, overcoming barriers to data-sharing and involving the voice of families in service design and commissioning (that is, its operation and performance).
Update our eligibility and outcomes framework to ensure it continues to reflect the needs of families and provides flexibility for authorities to respond.
Help local areas to work towards stronger multi-agency, data-driven local partnerships by co‑designing a road map to achieving a mature local system of family support services and considering new incentives to help drive progress.
Using our national voice, alongside local and national networks to champion the case for early help, ensuring families get the support they need as early as possible before their problems escalate into crises and they need statutory support.
Questions for discussion
Poll: How well does the current provision support families across the country and the income distribution? (On a scale of 0-“not at all” through 5-“adequately” to 10-“as well as possible”)
What are the biggest weaknesses in the current government offer to support families?
Poll: How well do government policies match Conservative family values? (Same 0-10 scale as above)
In what ways might they be improved?
What single policy does your group think could most strengthen families and communities?
Is there any other observation you would like to make?
For further details, download the consultation brief.