Troubled families scheme ‘making good progress’

Good progress is being made in implementing the 'troubled families' programme, according to the coalition government. Figures gathered from local authorities in England show that between April 2012 and January 2013 62,000 families were identified as coming within the scope of the programme, with their names and addresses included in a database. The government's target is to identify and 'turn around' the lives of 120,000 families by 2015.

The figures released by the government have been collated from data submitted by upper-tier local authorities in support of claims for result payments under the programme. They do not constitute official statistics.

Key points

  • 23,000 families are already being worked with under the programme, with intensive interventions in place to tackle issues such as truancy, youth crime, anti-social behaviour and unemployment.
  • Local authorities reported having successfully turned around the lives of 1,675 troubled families after just nine months of the programme – ahead of expectations. 'Turning around' means the children in a family are regularly in school and not committing crime, or the adults are in work – thereby qualifying the local authority for a £4,000 incentive payment.
  • However, many authorities have yet to report any successful interventions. These include Birmingham, which has more than 4,000 families to help; Kent, with over 2,500; and Liverpool, with 2,100.

Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles said: 'This programme is getting to grips with some of the hardest to help families in the country and in doing so will help bring down the costs they incur to the taxpayer and the damage they do to communities'.

The coalition government also announced a package of measures designed to boost the employment prospects of troubled families. The package includes: a new 'delivery agreement' between Jobcentre Plus and local authorities to give intensive employment support to whole families; a new network of 150 'troubled families employment advisers' in the 94 local authorities with the highest numbers of troubled families; and better data sharing between Jobcentre Plus and local authorities so that advisers know which troubled families need employment help and can track their progress and address their needs more effectively.

The notion of a class of 120,000 'troubled families' has been criticised as 'deeply flawed' – see article by Professor Ruth Levitas on this website.

SourceTroubled Families Programme: Progress at December 2012 and Families Turned around at January 2013, Department for Communities and Local Government | Delivery Agreement: Putting Troubled Families on the Path to Work, Department for Communities and Local Government/Department for Work and Pensions
LinksReport (spreadsheet) | Delivery agreement | DCLG press release | Action for Children press release | Family Action press release | LGA press release | BBC report | Inside Housing report | Public Finance report