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Britain — Family Friendly?

Published:4 November 2003
Fieldwork:24-28 April 2003
Source:NFPI
Keywords:Children, Family, Family friendly
(Click on keywords to find related Research)

Half of British parents (51%) feel the Government does not listen to the needs of parents and children, according to new research from MORI. The survey, commissioned by the National Family and Parenting Institute (NFPI), is for the report Making Britain Family Friendly.

The results from research carried out by MORI are among the key findings of the report:

  • 30% of parents linked "family-friendly" to being valued for bringing up children, compared to 17% who linked it to financial support
  • Half of parents (51%) believe that the Government does not listen to the needs of parents and children, while 23% disagree
  • More than half of parents (56%) believe the most important change in policy would be to make flexible working a right, not just a right to ask for
  • Parents' concerns about teenagers emerge, with putting more money into activities for teenagers named as the second most important policy to adopt (10%)
  • While most parents, broadly speaking, like where they live (74%), all could name areas where significant improvements were needed. More than half (56%) cited having more police on the streets as something that would improve their daily life, and a call for a 20 mph speed limit in residential areas as the next most important issue (34%).

Technical details

MORI Social Research Institute interviewed a representative sample of 1,391 parents throughout Great Britain across 195 sampling points, from 24-28 April 2003. All interviews were conducted face-to-face, in-home, using omnibus methodology. Data have been weighted to the known profile of the British population.

Topline Results

  • All figures in the main questionnaire are expressed in percentage terms based on 1,391 parents unless otherwise stated. Where they do not sum to 100%, this will be either due to computer rounding, a number of not stated answers or a multiple response answer. An asterisk (*) denotes a figure greater than zero, but less than 0.5%.
  • Interviews were carried out face-to-face in respondents' homes using CAPI between 24-28 April 2003.
  • Data are weighted to be representative of the adult (15+) population by gender, age, region and employment status.

Q1a From this list which, if any, of these situations applies to you at the moment?

Base: All respondents (2,080)

 %
I am a parent 48
I am a single parent5
I am a grandparent23
I have children aged 3 or under9
I have children aged over 3 but under 10 years old16
I have children aged over 10 but under 15 years old13
I have children aged over 15 years old25
I have no children at present but expect to have children at some point in the future12
I have no children at present and have no plans to have any in the future13
None of these10

Q1b Which two or three, if any, of these statements do you feel best describes the term 'family friendly'?

 %
Shops, restaurants etc geared towards meeting families' needs31
Parents being valued for bringing up children30
A society which supports families when things are going badly25
Acceptance of, and help for, families in public places25
A workplace geared towards meeting families' needs22
Good quality childcare20
A society where parents and children are listened to20
Local authority services geared towards meeting families' needs18
Provision of adequate financial support for families17
'Family friendly' is a phrase which applies to parents and young children15
Provision of good quality information to parents about bringing up their children10
None of these2
Don't know4

Q2a Thinking about services, please could you name one service or action which you would call 'family friendly'. It could be services or actions provided by businesses, shops, restaurants, leisure centres, employers, or by local authorities

 %
Local (authority) childcare, e.g. after-school clubs, or holiday play schemes10
Provision of local (authority) leisure facilities e.g. parks, playgrounds, swimming pools etc.9
Opening times and /or prices of local (authority) leisure facilities6
Local transport facilities, e.g. bus routes, siting of bus stops4
Provision of housing and/or housing services for families2
Consultation on local planning and developments1
Environmental issues, e.g. tackling litter, traffic calming, adequate street lighting1
Other — detailed split out to follow33
Don't know34

Q2b And which, if any, of these services or actions from a local authority which you have personally experienced, would you say are 'family friendly'?

 %
Provision of local (authority) leisure facilities e.g. parks, playgrounds, swimming pools etc.49
Local (authority) childcare, e.g. after-school clubs, or holiday play schemes36
Opening times and /or prices of local (authority) leisure facilities26
Local transport facilities, e.g. bus routes, siting of bus stops21
Environmental issues, e.g. tackling litter, traffic calming, adequate street lighting19
Provision of housing and/or housing services for families13
Consultation on local planning and developments7
None of these7
Don't know6

Q3a And please could you give me one example of a service or action which was not family friendly. Again, it could be services or actions provided by businesses, shops, restaurants, leisure centres, employers or by local authorities

 %
Local transport facilities, e.g. bus routes, siting of bus stops9
Environmental issues, e.g. tackling litter, traffic calming, adequate street lighting5
Consultation on local planning and developments5
Opening times and /or prices of local (authority) leisure facilities4
Provision of local (authority) leisure facilities e.g. parks, playgrounds, swimming pools etc.4
Local (authority) childcare, e.g. after-school clubs, or holiday play schemes3
Provision of housing and/or housing services for families3
Other — detailed split out to follow15
Don't know53

Q3b And which, if any, of these services which you have personally experienced, would you say are not family friendly?

 %
Local transport facilities, e.g. bus routes, siting of bus stops24
Environmental issues, e.g. tackling litter, traffic calming, adequate street lighting19
Consultation on local planning and developments18
Provision of local (authority) leisure facilities e.g. parks, playgrounds, swimming pools etc.13
Opening times and /or prices of local (authority) leisure facilities11
Provision of housing and/or housing services for families9
Local (authority) childcare, e.g. after-school clubs, or holiday play schemes8
None of these19
Don't know12

Q4a I'm going to read out a short list of statements. For each one I read out, I'd like you to say to what extent you agree or disagree with each, using this card.

 Strongly agreeTend to agreeNeither agree nor disagreeTend to disagreeStrongly disagreeDon't know / No opinion
 %%%%%%
Britain is a more family friendly society than it was ten years ago938152296
People in this country are more anti-children than in Europe12341522611
Companies target children too much, to market their products52327612
Shops and restaurants don't provide enough family friendly facilities, for example, baby-changing and play areas1734132746
The Government doesn't listen to the needs of parents and children 1734202035
Being a family friendly employer isn't good for business4131236287
My local neighbourhood is a good place for families to live264811951

Q4b In your opinion does British business place more importance on women…?

 %
bringing up children9
Working26
being able to do both49
None of these7
Don't Know10

Q5a The Government could bring in policies about parents and children in society. On this card is a list of some possibilities. Could you tell me which, if any, of them you think the Government should adopt? First of all, please tell me which you feel is most important for the government to adopt?
Q5b And which do you feel is second most important for the government to adopt?
Q5c And now could you tell me which you feel is the least important for the government to adopt?

 Q5aQ5bQ5c
 Most ImportantSecond most ImportantLeast Important
 %%%
Bringing in a right to flexible working for parents (not just the right to ask)25114
Putting more money into activities for teenagers10114
Paid leave for mothers e.g. the right to take some paid time off to look after children892
A ban on TV advertising aimed at children81021
Investing in more services to support families — for example, children's centres773
Paid leave for fathers e.g. the right to take some paid time off to look after children697
Cheaper public transport for everyone (parents and non-parents)687
Increasing child benefit548
Provision of good quality childcare for children under 10581
Giving priority to families, for housing provision542
A year's paid maternity leave4411
More frequent public transport2510
Putting money into play provision for children under 10243
None of these227
Don't know459

Q6 Thinking about life in your local community, from this list which, if any, do you think would improve your and your family's lives on a day-to-day basis?

 %
More police on the streets56
Bringing in a 20mph speed limit on residential roads34
Lowering the cost of leisure facilities26
Affordable after-school activities25
Cheaper public transport24
Collection of / More frequent collection of street litter / Road sweeping23
More frequent public transport21
Parks wardens and maintenance of parks21
Being consulted on developments in your local area20
Friendly neighbours20
Holiday play schemes18
Redesigning local roads to give priority to pedestrians and cyclists, rather than motorists17
Increasing availability of / access to leisure facilities16
Improved street lighting14
Having family members to call on for support10
Local crèche provision, e.g. in shopping centres10
Community wardens5
None of these3
Don't know2

Q7a 'Family support services' is a phrase which people use to describe a wide range of different services which help families as their children grow up. Which, if any, of these have you personally ever used?
Q7b And which, if any, would you personally consider using now, regardless of whether or not you have used them before?
Q7c And which, if any, would you not consider using?

 Q7aQ7bQ7c
 Ever UsedWould considerNot consider
 %%%
Health visitors583516
Parent and toddler playgroups432617
Parent education classes71925
Children's centres72121
Parent support groups e.g. National Childbirth Trust71228
Parent drop-in centres51428
Sure Start, that is a government scheme to help parents with children under 541524
Home Start, that is a befriending scheme from parents, for parents with children under 521227
Newpin, that is a scheme for parents with infant children that provides support such as play groups and counselling, and is run by professionals11425
None of these295062
Don't Know200

Q8a Which, if any, of these ways of obtaining information about parenting and family support…? Do you currently personally find useful?
Q8b Would you personally find useful, that you do not use at the moment?
Q8c Would you personally not find useful?

 Q8aQ8bQ8c
 Currently find usefulWould find usefulWould NOT find useful
 %%%
Friends3664
Family3563
Doctor's surgery / Doctor3473
School/Playgroup2154
Local libraries19105
The internet191312
Leaflets1358
The 'phone, e.g. helplines8610
Information from Government768
Local services for parents, e.g. parent support groups585
In-store leaflets or touch screen kiosks5514
The local Children's Information Service495
None of these273029
No preference61414
Don't Know3710
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Christian Jenner
t: 020 7424 4371
Vicki Shotbolt
t: 020 7424 3460

NFPI
w: www.nfpi.org

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