Eric Pickles and Iain Duncan Smith have announced plans to do more to get some of England’s hardest to help families back to work.
The communities and work and pensions secretaries are to more than double the number of specialist employment advisers in the government’s expanded Troubled Families programme.
The number of welfare to work specialists seconded from Jobcentre Plus directly into councils’ troubled families teams will go from 150 to over 300 from April this year as part of efforts to turn around the lives of up to 400,000 tough to tackle households.
The new £10 million investment, jointly funded by both the Department for Communities and Local Government and the Department for Work and Pensions, will build on the success of the current programme which has now seen over 8,000 members of troubled families hold down a job for 3 months or more, a 6-fold increase on the previous year.
In total over 85,000 families with an average of 9 serious problems have had their lives turned around by the government programme, with children back in school, youth crime and anti-social behaviour significantly reduced and the £9 billion annual cost to the taxpayer down too.
From April the programme will be expanded to work with a further 400,000 families and tackle a wider range of problems such as mental health, debt and domestic violence, as well as an additional focus on families with children under 5. But getting adults back to work will continue to be a big priority for the programme.
Communities and Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles said:
The Troubled Families programme works because it takes a tough love, no nonsense approach to some of the hardest to help households, but provides real practical support too.
The success of the programme shows that we should have ambitions for everyone to work as part of our long term economic plan, reducing costs to the taxpayer but giving hope and a sense of pride and purpose back to families too. That’s why I’m delighted that we are doubling the number of Jobcentre Plus advisers working directly in troubled families teams, putting rocket boosters under our plans to expand this brilliant programme.
Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith added:
With big falls in unemployment and record numbers of people in work, it’s vital everyone gets to benefit from this country’s economic recovery, no matter how difficult or chaotic their lives have been up until now. That’s why we are doing even more to help some of the hardest to help families to turn their lives around as part of the government’s long-term economic plan.
Through the expertise of our Jobcentre Plus work coaches we will help people to address a wide range of problems which might be holding them back from getting on in life so that they can, ultimately, move into work and have the security of a regular wage.
Funded by £10 million from the Department for Communities and Local Government and the Department for Work and Pensions, the number of Jobcentre Plus specialists seconded directly into local authorities’ troubled families teams will increase from 150 to 307 from April 2015.
Working with existing troubled families teams in councils, the employment advisers will give intensive support to whole families and track the progress made to get them into jobs. The practical support includes CV writing, job interview skills and highlighting training opportunities and job vacancies in the area. They will also put families in contact with local employers, demonstrating that there are opportunities for everyone to get into work.
The Troubled Families programme applies to England only. Local authorities are paid up to £4,000 on a payment-by-results basis for turning around troubled families. The government’s £448 million 3-year budget for 2012 to 2015 is drawn from 6 Whitehall departments who all stand to benefit from the public sector working more effectively with troubled families.
Troubled families are defined as those who:
- are involved in youth crime or anti-social behaviour
- have children who are excluded from school or regularly truanting
- have an adult on out-of-work benefits
- cost the public sector large sums in responding to their problems, an estimated average of £75,000 per year without intervention
Turning around troubled families means:
- getting children back into school
- cutting youth crime and anti-social behaviour across the whole family
- getting adults into work
- reducing the costs to the taxpayer of tackling their problems
Figures published in December 2014 showed that, as at the end of October 2014, over 85,000 troubled families had had their lives turned around and for over 8,000 this includes meeting the continuous employment criteria of an adult in the home moving off benefits and into work for at least 3 consecutive months, or at least 6 months if they were previously on Job Seekers Allowance.
See full details of the government’s payment by results framework for troubled families.
The Understanding Troubled Families report showed that families within the programme have an average of 9 different serious problems including health and mental health, domestic violence and debt.
At the Spending Round 2013 it was announced that the Troubled Families programme would be expanded to work with up to 400,000 more families from April 2015, funded by £200 million from 6 government departments in 2015 to 2016.
The expanded programme will target a wider range of problems including health and mental health, domestic violence and debt, as well as having an additional focus on families with children under 5. As with the current programme it will operate on a payment by results basis and continue to focus on school attendance, crime, anti-social behaviour and worklessness.