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Listening To Families & Family Policy

Many families are faced with difficulties in modern Britain and face poverty and exclusion. Governments desperately try to have a family policy but only too often they do not listen to families themselves.

The role of family in society has always been important but in the modern world families have changed and there are many forms of families and family life. Unless we understand the diversity and needs of families then policy is going to fail.

At this meeting we want to try and address this issue by,

A) Looking at the diverse nature of the family unit in 21st Century UK

B) What this means for policy formation and

C) The importance of forming policy on the basis of the experiences of families themselves.

To help us with this we will have

Dr Katherine Rake OBE is Chief Executive of the Family and Parenting Institute, an independent charity that exists to make the UK a better place for families and children. Katherine was previously Chief Executive of the Fawcett Society and Lecturer in Social Policy at the London School of Economics, during which time she was seconded to the Cabinet Office. Katherine has advised the Prime Minister's Policy Unit, HM Treasury and other Government departments. In 2008, Katherine was awarded an OBE for services to equal opportunities, an Institute of Directors 'Good Director' Honour and the Social Policy Association's Annual Award for Outstanding Contribution from a Non-academic.

A series of digital stories in audio and video where families tell us about their situation and experiences and

Vicki Fitzgerald who will link what we have learn from the first speaker and the digital stories to policy formation. How do we develop policy in a way that good practice can be replicated on a large scale? Vicki is the Chief Executive of Gateway Family Services and has worked for the past 14 years on regeneration in Birmingham, with a particular focus on the development of people in local communities. Vicki led the development of new qualifications to equip the workforce to deliver high-quality services, which responds to increasing health inequalities.

This meeting will be associated with a series of webinars around family and family policy and we hope a meeting in January in the House of Commons where we will look at policy and how best to influence it through real life stories of families in a variety of different situations.

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  • angela

    There are excellent policies out there - makes inspirational reading and fills practitioners with hope. Then you try to put them into practice - and - unfortunately - the pot is apparently empty = restricted budget = limited resources = concerns .........

    1 · October 29, 2012

  • Frances G.

    agreed- also have family connections with Mexico and with Muslim communities , where my experience is similar... this is not a " country/ faith bashing" exercise, but something I've noticed and it has puzzled me too. Now that I don't have an immediate "family", I have more time/ energy for the wider community... maybe that has something to do with it? Just a suggestion! Sorry not to be able to attend tonight. Hope you all have a good meeting!

    1 · October 29, 2012

  • Nick S.

    I am a keen family man, and work and live closely with my own (just so you know where I stand!). But I've got a BUT. I lived for many years in Latin America (and have read about lots of other countries), and I worry that strong family ties seem to go hand in hand with bad government. People almost seem to choose between being responsible towards their families, and being responsible towards their community / nation as a whole. Mexicans (I'm generalising wildly here!) are wonderfully supportive of their family and friends, but by and large couldn't give a damn about the wider community or the nation. The English seem better in their national attitudes, but family ties can be very weak.

    So my interest is: how do we turn what seems to be either-or into both-and? How do we get people to love BOTH their families AND the community/nation/world in which they live?

    Beats the heck out of me!

    2 · October 15, 2012

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