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The Family Relationships (Impact Assessment and Targets) Bill is a private member’s bill introduced by Lord Farmer (Conservative) in the House of Lords on 29 June 2017. It is scheduled to have its second reading on 23 February 2018.

The Bill would require government departments (and other public bodies designated by statutory instrument) to publish ‘Family Impact Assessments’ (FIAs) setting out an assessment of the impact of a policy proposal on families and family relationships. Secondly, it would require the Secretary of State to publish objectives and targets for promoting “strong and stable families” and for the government to report on its progress towards meeting these objectives.

In October 2014, the Coalition Government published guidance for government departments to consider the impact of policies on families and family relationships (the ‘Family Test’). The Explanatory Notes to the Bill states the principles of FIAs contained within the Bill are based on this guidance. Lord Farmer has expressed concern about the status of the Family Test and that results are not required to be published. In January 2018, Kit Malthouse, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, said that the Department for Work and Pensions was “working hard” to embed the Family Test across Government. It was offering advice to other government departments that were instituting it and the Government would continue to “push [it] forward”.

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