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Frank Young is Editorial Director and Head of Children and Families at Civitas.

During the coming days, the Children’s Commissioner for England will open up her laptop and begin a new review on support for families across the public sector. Rachel de Souza, a former headteacher, has been given this task by ministers who are worried that public sector bosses have become so obsessed with identity politics that they have forgotten about supporting families.

Doing anything at all to this end is a vexed area for politicians. Even talking about it is difficult for our political elites. It is a taboo that runs deep through Whitehall and across our town halls.

But the British public take a more common sense approach: when the public are polled on their attitudes, most people recognise its importance. It’s only in Westminster that it is unspeakable.

So as a newly appointed commissioner, Dame Rachel should dare to be different. She should throw out the rule book and the usual voices, and lay down a challenge to our public sector to take families seriously.

Consider hospitals and the whole process of having a child. It’s a dad-free zone. A recent review found seven out of ten new fathers felt like a ‘spare part’ during the pregnancy period, and most had no conversations with health staff about their role.

This is an absurd situation. We’ve lost thousands of health visitors in the last ten years, but do almost nothing to help the very people in the family home who could offer support to new mums. It’s not trendy to advocate for dads, but it turns out that at birth almost all of them are in a relationship with the child’s mother, and almost nine in ten live under the same roof.

All very traditional – but guidance to children’s centres simply describes them as a hard-to-reach group. The Children’s Commissioner could be bold and turn attention to fathers instead of new state workers.

In a barmy example of bureaucratic madness, inspection criteria for much of our public sector related to children has removed any reference to fathers. Maternity services are under no obligation to recognise dads at all, having deleted the word ‘father’ altogether in favour of strange terms such as ‘birthing partners’.

The Children’s Commissioner should get a grip, and put the word back in. There are plenty of examples of charities stepping in to help new fathers: many of these charities complain that they get little or no support. We need to stop dads being a side show when it comes to new families.

Next, the Government’s ambition for family hubs needs to be sharpened with a clear idea of how these hubs will deliver on the cash being released to set them up.

Most parents turn to their phone for parenting advice or to seek out help. It’s puzzling why there isn’t a national online family hub. It wouldn’t be hard to set up, and would help parents link up with real life groups and help in their area. If we want to review how the public sector supports families, this is the obvious place to start.

One easy way to embed family hubs into the lives of families is to completely transform the way we deal with birth registration. Instead of town hall clerks printing birth certificates, registrars should be moved to a family hub and new parents pointed to support groups and advice on raising children. The Children’s Commissioner needs to turn birth registration upside-down, and make it more about families than printing a piece of paper.

Whitehall strategies now talk up the importance of family stability, but as the family breakdown capital of the world Britain needs to get serious about helping couples to stay together and usher in a new seriousness about parenting. It is no good just moving around services.

As Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Iain Duncan Smith set targets to reduce the number of children growing up in unhappy homes or seeing their parents split up. We binned these metrics years ago, but if the government is now serious about ‘stability’ we need to get back into the habit of measuring it.

We should expose the town hall bosses and public sector chiefs who ignore the families. David Cameron introduced a ‘family test’ to compel mandarins to think about the effect of new laws on family life, but it quickly disappeared.

It would be a mistake to junk it: instead, the Commissioner should set up a unit to police the application of this test, and extend it beyond Whitehall into all parts of the public sector. The Government should become a watchdog for families, and insist on a new test being applied, turn the heat up with a new ‘Test’ and police it properly. Name and shame authorities doing badly.

There is good reason to turn the spotlight back onto families. The public gets it – and it is time more public servants did too. The ridiculous taboo on mentioning family in policy needs to be broken: at the very least, the Children’s Commissioner could instil some common sense language back into public life by publishing a report that challenges the status quo and the Government’s silence on families.