Press release

More than 105,000 troubled families turned around saving taxpayers an estimated £1.2 billion

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The Communities Secretary has hailed the life-changing impact of the government’s Troubled Families programme, which has now turned around more than 105,000 of the hardest to help households in England.

Eric Pickles told MPs today (10 March 2015) that 105,671 complex families had benefited from the support provided by local authority teams by February, putting the programme firmly on track to achieve the Prime Minister’s goal of turning around 120,000 by the end of the parliament.

As well as getting children back into school, putting adults in employment or on a path back to work and cutting youth crime and anti-social behaviour across the whole household, the new figures showed that the programme had already saved taxpayers an estimated £1.2 billion, from a maximum government investment of £448 million.

The average gross cost saving to the taxpayer per troubled family was £12,000, more than twice the average cost of the programme’s intervention at £5,493, according to a new report which studied costs and benefits across 7 areas. In Manchester, for every £1 invested in the programme, £2.20 in gross benefits have been realised.

Pickles praised the role of councils in the programme, who have now had payments-by-results made for over 90% of the families the Prime Minister pledged to turn around.

He also made clear that the success of those in the programme – who have an average of 9 serious problems each including debt, drugs and domestic violence – showed that no one was beyond help.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said:

The Troubled Families programme has been a triumph and I am proud that we will deliver the Prime Minister’s ambition to turn around the lives 120,000 of this country’s hardest to help families. It has worked because it has been bold and unafraid of getting tough with those who need it most. It has also provided a long-term solution by tackling the root causes of the very complex problems these families face.

This innovative approach has not only saved the taxpayer over a billion pounds but had life changing results for the families involved by giving them a hand up when they needed it most.

Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander said:

The success of the Troubled Families programme in turning around the lives of more than 105,000 families so far while saving taxpayers an estimated £1.2 billion in the process is proof that we can do more with less. It shows that by working together at local level, public services can deliver better results for the most vulnerable people.

That’s why we’ve already expanded it into the next Spending Review period, and I look forward to seeing the principles underpinning this life-changing programme extended across public services to help more people with multiple and complex needs.

Head of the Troubled Families programme Louise Casey CB said:

Behind these figures are real people in every part of the country whose lives have changed for the better. Families with nine serious problems each were never going to be easy to turn around, so all credit to the councils and other services who have committed to this programme, the many hundreds of frontline staff who have given their all to these families and most of all to the families who have had the courage to change and given themselves and their children a better chance in life than they had before.

Further information

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

‘Turned around’ means that:

  • all children have been back in school for a year when they were previously truant or excluded
  • and youth crime and anti-social behaviour has been significantly cut across the whole family
  • or an adult in the home has moved off benefits and into work for three consecutive months or more

See full details of the government’s payment by results framework for troubled families.

The figures from local authorities on progress within the government’s Troubled Families programme have been collated from the latest quarterly returns submitted to DCLG’s Troubled Families team from all 152 upper tier local authorities in England in February 2015. These do not constitute official statistics.

There are 117,910 families targeted under the government’s Troubled Families programme. For rounding purposes, however, the target is usually referred to as 120,000.

The Benefits of the Troubled Families Programme to the Taxpayer: report gives detailed examples of savings that have been made and costs that have been avoided for many parts of public services in 7 ‘exemplar’ local authority areas as part of the Troubled Families programme.

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 2015 onwards.

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