News story

Study to assess impact of troubled families work

The impact of councils’ troubled families programmes will be independently assessed, the Department for Communities and Local Government and the Local Government Association have announced.

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

Troubled family.

An evaluation contract has been awarded to a consortium of experienced, independent research groups, led by Ecorys. The comprehensive study of the groundbreaking plan to turn around the lives of 120,000 troubled families will look in detail at:

  • the families who receive interventions and what changes they have made
  • how local authorities are choosing to work with troubled families and which ways are most successful
  • and cost savings that have been made for the taxpayer from turning their lives around

The study has been designed in consultation with councils and will be funded by the Department for Communities and Local Government and the Local Government Association

Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles said:

“We know that the Troubled Families programme is already transforming the lives of thousands and improving the communities around them by tackling truancy, youth crime, anti-social behaviour and worklessness, as well as reducing costs to the taxpayer. However it is important we learn the lessons of this work for the future and leave a legacy beyond the lifetime of this programme in 2015. This study will help do that by looking at what works most effectively with troubled families and how we best spend public money on turning them around.”

Chairman of the Local Government Association Sir Merrick Cockell said:

“Improving lives goes to the heart of what councils do. Even at this early stage of the project councils have successfully turned around the lives of 1,675 families, saving the public purse millions of pounds and ensuring that more children are attending school and more parents are in jobs.

“The rapid progress being made by local authorities vindicates the government’s decision to put councils at the centre of the Troubled Families programme and the evaluation process will help councils continue to build on our excellent work to date in improving the lives of the families who need our support most.”

Further information

Troubled families are defined as those who:

  • are involved in youth crime or anti-social behaviour
  • have children who are 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

The government is committed to turning around the lives of 120,000 troubled families by 2015 by:

  • getting children back into school
  • cutting youth crime and anti-social behaviour across the whole family
  • putting adults on a path back to work
  • cutting the costs to the taxpayer of tackling their problems

See full details of the government’s Troubled Families programme.

The Ecorys UK consortium is made up of 5 organisations, with each leading on different parts of the evaluation:

  • Ipsos MORI
  • National Institute for Economic and Social Research
  • Clarissa White Research
  • Bryson Purdon Social Research
  • Thomas Coram Research Unit, Institute of Education

The consortium won the 3-year evaluation contract worth an average of up to £435,000 per year after a full tender process. The Local Government Association will contribute £100,000 per year and the Department for Communities and Local Government up to £335,000 per year.

The evaluation contract will run from 2013 to 2016 to allow for a full assessment of the troubled families payment-by-results programme, which is funded until 2014 to 2015. It will produce regular interim reports and its findings will be made public.

Published 14 March 2013