Press release

PM praises Troubled Families programme success

The Prime Minister has praised the Troubled Families programme as new figures showed the scale of its unprecedented success.

  • 116,654 of the most troubled families turned around so far
  • truancy, youth crime and anti-social behaviour cut
  • innovative programme to work with up to 400,000 more families from this year

The Prime Minister has praised the work of the government’s life-changing Troubled Families programme, in bringing opportunity to every part of society, as new figures showed the scale of its unprecedented success.

Three years ago David Cameron set councils the challenge of joining up local services so that an estimated 120,000 families with an average of 9 different problems were dealt with in a more effective way by May. In a speech in the north west on Monday he announced that the programme had succeeded in turning around 99% of the actual number of families targeted.

This means that all children who were truanting or excluded have been back in school full-time for 3 terms and youth crime and anti-social behaviour have been significantly cut across the whole family. In addition, an adult from more than 1 in 10 of the families has now been in work for 3 months or more.

The success has been spread across the whole of the country, with nearly 4,000 families turned around in Birmingham, over 2,500 in Kent, 2,300 in Manchester and 1,300 in Bristol.

As set out in the Queen’s Speech, the programme is now being expanded to work with up to a further 400,000 families in the years ahead, targeting a wider range of families with a wider range of problems including debt, drug and alcohol addiction, mental and physical health problems and children under 5.

Communities and Local Government Secretary Greg Clark said:

The success of this programme shows that this one nation government is determined to provide opportunities for the whole of society.

By devolving power to councils and providing incentives for them to improve their services, we have both saved money for the taxpayer and delivered better results for families and communities too. I am pleased that we will be expanding this programme in the years ahead so that more families can benefit from this innovative approach.

Head of the Troubled Families programme Louise Casey CB said:

It’s fantastic news that the programme has now turned around the lives of so many troubled families. That’s almost 117,000 families where kids are back in school and youth crime and anti-social behaviour has been cut, and in more and more of these homes an adult has now moved off benefits and into work.

The councils and key workers deserve enormous credit but most of all I want to congratulate the families themselves who have the courage to change and give their children a better chance in life.

Further information

The Troubled Families programme applies to England only. The government’s £448 million 3-year budget for 2012 to 2015 was drawn from 6 Whitehall departments who all stand to benefit from the public sector working more effectively with troubled families. Local authorities were paid up to £4,000 on a payment-by-results basis for turning around 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 for the 2012 to 2015 programme.

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 May 2015. These do not constitute official statistics.

See the progress information by December 2014 and families turned around by May 2015.

There were 117,910 families targeted under the government’s Troubled Families programme 2012 to 2015. For rounding purposes, however, the target is usually referred to as 120,000.

The Understanding Troubled Families report showed that families within the programme have an average of nine 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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