On 16 October 2014 in the House of Lords, Baroness Tyler of Enfield – chair of the MEAM coalition – led a debate on the government’s Social Justice Strategy. She set out three ways in which the government can support people facing social injustice caused by multiple needs:
- Listening to the voices of people with multiple needs, and those who work with them
- Making local areas accountable for effective, coordinated services
- Adapting the best elements of the ‘Troubled Families’ programme – with strong input from the voluntary sector – to provide a new national focus on locally-delivered support for individuals facing multiple needs
Responding on behalf of the government, Lord Nash – Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Schools – acknowledged Baroness Tyler’s proposals and undertook that the government “will consider these points carefully”.
In a wide-ranging debate, members of the Lords discussed how to break the cycle of injustice across generations; provide support to young people regardless of their background or the challenges they face; and provide leadership in the face of public dissatisfaction about political institutions.
Lord Kirkwood of Kirkhope endorsed Baroness Tyler’s proposal that the government’s Troubled Families initiative – which promotes locally-delivered support for families experiencing multiple problems– could be adapted to focus local areas on the needs of individuals.
In closing, Baroness Tyler urged the Lords to be courageous in their approach to securing social justice for those who need it most. Labour spokesperson Lord McAvoy endorsed Baroness Tyler’s call for MPs, peers and parliamentary candidates to listen to the voices of people with multiple needs.
Over the coming months, Voices from the Frontline will be engaging with all the Lords who spoke in the debate as part of its work. To find out more, visit the project’s webpage.