Press release

Prime Minister welcomes troubled families progress

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

PM welcomes the news that 40,000 families have been turned around by this innovative programme, with results doubling in the last 6 months.

Young parents and daughter
Image posed by models. Courtesy of ChameleonEye.

The Prime Minister today (1 May 2014) welcomed the news that the government’s Troubled Families programme has now turned around the lives of almost 40,000 hard to help families, getting children off the streets and into school and helping people to get back to work.

A progress update published by the Department for Communities and Local Government today showed that 39,480 families have now been turned around since the programme began, a number which has almost doubled in the past 6 months. This means that in nearly 40,000 troubled families:

  • children who were truanting or excluded have now been back in school for 3 consecutive terms; and
  • youth crime and anti-social behaviour across the household have been significantly reduced, or
  • an adult in the household has been employed for at least 3 consecutive months

With each troubled family estimated to cost an average of £75,000 a year, these 40,000 families could have been costing the taxpayer in the region of £3 billion per year without intervention.

David Cameron said that the fact that truancy, youth crime and anti-social behaviour have been significantly reduced in 40,000 homes; and adults are in a job or better able to work, was helping to secure a better future for both these families and the country as a whole.

The Prime Minister said:

Getting some of our country’s most troubled families’ lives back on track is a key part of our long-term plan - it saves the taxpayer money, gives people the chance to get on in life and secures a better future for these families, their communities and for our country.

Read the Prime Minister’s LinkedIn blog on why no one is pre-programmed to fail.

He was speaking 2 years after setting out a challenge to improve the behaviour and reduce the problems of the 120,000 most troubled families in England, bringing down their estimated £9 billion annual cost to the taxpayer. Under the programme 1 team works with the whole of a family on all of its problems in a tough, intensive and coordinated way, getting to grips with what is really going on in the home, rather than different services reacting to individual problems.

Today’s figures show that more than 111,000 families have been identified for help by councils, of which 97,000 are now being actively worked with under the programme. This means that councils are on course to meet the Prime Minister’s challenge, with the rate of progress gathering speed as the intensive and practical work with the families pays off.

Some areas have now turned around three-quarters of their troubled families or more. Wakefield has already helped over 85% of its targeted families, Leicestershire 78% and Bristol 75%.

Communities and Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles said:

The Troubled Families programme is good for the economy as it reduces the £9 billion annual cost to the taxpayer and helps people back into work. It also improves life for communities which see less crime and anti-social behaviour and, most importantly, supports families who get a chance to have a brighter future. Progress is being made in all corners of the country and I’m proud that this government is taking action to help change the lives of the families most in need.

Head of the Troubled Families programme Louise Casey CB added:

This programme works because it is about dealing with all members of the family and all of its problems, being tough but supportive and providing intensive, practical help. Councils have changed the way they work with troubled families to make sure that 1 team or worker is providing that support, not a dozen different public services. In doing so they are now seeing results which mean that more families will be able to be helped in the future.

Anne Longfield OBE, Chief Executive of 4Children said:

Turning around the lives of families with deeply complex needs is a long journey, requiring intensive work from highly skilled teams to provide the ongoing and personalised support that these families need. 40,000 families ‘turned around’ through the Troubled Families programme is good news. It means 40,000 fewer struggling families falling into crisis, with real rewards for families, communities and the public purse.

Troubled Families programme timeline showing progress since launch to March 2014

Chart showing programme progress
Progress against the troubled families programme to March 2014.

Further information

The Troubled Families programme and this press notice apply to England only.

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

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 March 2014. These do not constitute official statistics.

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 2012-15 is drawn from 6 Whitehall departments who all stand to benefit from the public sector working more effectively with troubled families.

At the Spending Review last year it was announced that the Troubled Families programme would be extended to work with more families. The Budget in March announced that work with up to 40,000 of these families would begin this year.

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Published 1 May 2014