Archbishops’ Commission on Families & Households launches Call for Evidence


This blog is written by a member of the independent Commission. These views do not necessarily represent the views of the Archbishops' or the Church of England.

The Archbishops’ Commission on Families and Households (FHC) launches its Call for Evidence today.

The Commission has been charged by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York to report on the current pressures facing families and households and to make recommendations about how they can be helped to flourish. The Commission will highlight the good and the positive in what’s working well and how that can be built on, drawing on Christian theology and tradition.

This is a formal engagement exercise, lasting for six weeks and is an important stage in the FHC’s work and will be used to gather factual evidence, lived experiences and information to shape the work of the Commission and contribute to the findings of a report to be published in November 2022.

The FHC has four key themes that it wants to explore in-depth. The Commission wants to listen to and hear from people and organisations who have experience relating to the challenges and hopes for:

  1. Promoting the well-being of children and young people in stable loving homes

  2. Building and sustaining strong couple relationships and reducing conflict in families and households

The Commission will draw on:

  1. The theology underpinning our understanding of family life and relationships
  2. The social history of families and households in order to understand the changes in family life, including for those living alone, in single-parent households, with extended family, or in community living arrangements.

Commenting on the Call for Evidence, the Commission Chair, Professor Janet Walker OBE said:

“The Commission is launching this Call for Evidence to understand the immense social, cultural and economic changes that shape our lives today, including the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, and to document the challenges faced by people living in all kinds of circumstances. This understanding will help us to consider how the church and the government can provide the best possible support to assist everyone to thrive and prosper. We wish to listen to and hear from as broad a range of people as possible: individuals and members of the general public from all walks of life, aged 18 and over, and different groups and organisations. We welcome responses from people from different

faith backgrounds and those with no faith, whose lived experiences can provide the rich understanding of everyday life.”

The Rt Revd. Paul Butler, Bishop of Durham, and Co-Chair of the Commission added:

“The insights and reflections we receive in response to this Call for Evidence will be vital for our work over the coming months. We look forward to taking the evidence gathered and going out into communities in October and beyond to listen and learn in greater depth from the people and groups who have written to us.”

About the Call for Evidence

The Commission launched its Call for Evidence in October 2021, inviting individuals and organisations to respond to a range of questions, offering their views, perspectives and experiences on families and households. We received 391 responses and we are grateful to everyone who shared their time and insights.

The briefing papers in this section reflect the range of responses the Commission received. They do not represent the views of the Commission nor of either Archbishop, but indicate the issues raised by members of the public and representatives from organisations, which will help to inform the Commission’s further evidence-gathering activities and areas of focus. The Commission is undertaking a range of activities, including engagement with Church of England Dioceses, meetings with politicians and policymakers, visits to community organisations and projects, and listening events with children and young people.


About the Families & Households Commission

In March 2021, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York established a Commission on Families & Households. The origin of this Commission lies in Archbishop Justin Welby’s 2018 book ‘Reimagining Britain: Foundations for Hope”. Building on a key chapter ‘Family – caring for the core’, the Commission aims to articulate and address the pressures and challenges facing families and households, drawing on Christian theology and tradition, whilst also highlighting the good and the positive in terms of what works well and how that can be built on.

The overarching aim is to offer practical and deliverable recommendations to the church and the government to enable families and households to thrive and prosper as the cornerstone of every community in our society. In particular, the Commission will consider the enormous and far-reaching impacts of the coronavirus pandemic on families and households. The final report will be published in November 2022.