Here’s a good question: when is a policy impact assessment not a policy impact assessment?
Answer: when you’re the Prime Minister around 10 months out from a General Election and want something to say about helping families.
This morning, as part of a suite of announcements related to families, the Independent is reporting David Cameron wants:
all government departments will have to assess the impact of policy on “supporting family life”. The assessment will sit alongside similar current tests for cost-effectiveness, equality and the environment, and Mr Cameron stressed that if they failed, they would “not be allowed to proceed”.
All very laudable, of course. But here’s what David Cameron had to say about equality impact assessments in a speech to the Confederation for British Industry in November 2012 (as noted by Neil Crowther):
We have smart people in Whitehall who consider equalities issues while they’re making the policy. We don’t need all this extra tick-box stuff… So I can tell you today we are calling time on equality impact assessments.
Today’s family impact assessment therefore begs at least 2 further questions to the title of this post:
- What’s the difference between families and equality?
- Are the people in Whitehall dealing with families stuff less smart than the people dealing with equalities stuff?