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Troubled families: top 10 areas are on board as government is ready to go

The 10 local authorities with the largest number of troubled families have agreed to sign up to the Government’s ambitious scheme to turn around…

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

The 10 local authorities with the largest number of troubled families have agreed to sign up to the Government’s ambitious scheme to turn around the lives of 120,000 problem households by 2015. Communities Secretary Eric Pickles today unveiled a unique payment by results scheme that will deliver up to £4,000 per family to local authorities which get children back into school, reduce youth crime and anti-social behaviour, put adults on a path back to work and bring down the £9 billion annual costs caused by dealing with them.

Just three months after the programme’s funding was launched by the Prime Minister, the Department for Communities and Local Government, the 10 top-tier authorities with the largest amount of troubled families, which together form one fifth of those being targeted, are already on board, along with support from the voluntary sector. Many more are enthusiastic and expected to join the scheme in the coming months, with all 152 invited to a reception hosted by David Cameron in Downing Street tonight to mark the start of the scheme, alongside frontline workers and representatives of the voluntary sector.

The £448 million three-year programme is taking money from across Whitehall to help local authorities get to grips with whole families and deal with their problems at root cause through proven techniques, rather than a multitude of agencies working with single people within a family, often just reacting to their problems. However councils will only be given a full payment for their work when they have delivered results and reduced the £75,000 costs to the taxpayer that these families cause through demands on services each year.

Mr Pickles also announced that following a plea from councils the Department for Communities and Local Government has reached a groundbreaking agreement with the Department for Work and Pensions which, while strictly protecting confidentiality, allows jobcentres to share data with local councils in order to identify their troubled families. This means councils will be able to pull together the names and addresses of the families in their area whose children are missing school, involved in crime and anti-social behaviour and also on benefits, so they can start work with them to turn their lives around, tackling all of their problems.

Prime Minister David Cameron said:

I’m committed to transforming the lives of families stuck in a cycle of unemployment, alcohol abuse and anti-social behaviour, where children are truants from school - troubled families who cause such negativity within their communities and who drain resources from our councils. I’m heartened that so many local authorities are alert to this challenge and are ready to take forwards our plans to bring about real change. I know that as this programme rolls out and increasingly gains momentum we can help people, and our communities and our society will become stronger as a result.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said:

The Prime Minister charged my department in December with delivering an ambitious but achievable programme to turn around the lives of 120,000 troubled families by 2015. We have met with 147 Councils over the last three months to help shape our payment by results scheme which will incentivise local authorities to deal with the truancy, crime and the worklessness that can be passed down from generation to generation and which puts a £9 billion per year drain on the public purse. It is great news that the top 10 councils with the most troubled families have already agreed to begin work with us as between them they cover a fifth of the families we have pledged to change. We cannot afford to wait any longer to start doing this work and I am delighted that it will now begin.

Head of Troubled Families Policy Louise Casey said:

Both local and central government recognise this programme could be a once in a lifetime opportunity to shift the sense of hopelessness that is often felt about these families - that nothing can be done to really help change them, to get them into school, work or to stop their crime and anti-social behaviour. If we work together and get this right, it’s also a chance to make a cultural shift in the way services are delivered by professionals - an approach that is about a lead worker gripping a family as a whole and getting to the root causes of their problems. But most importantly this programme is a way to give the kids in these households a chance not to repeat the pattern of unemployment, lawlessness and failure of their parents and often grandparents.

Chief Executive of Action For Children, Dame Claire Tickell said:

Today’s announcement reinforces the welcome commitment to support the most vulnerable families who face a whole host of challenges in their lives. From our own experience of intensively working with these very families in Family Intervention Projects within local communities, we know the solutions that help to turn lives around and deliver real results. Key to this is partnership working between local authorities and the voluntary sector, to create tailored solutions that tackle the root causes of issues within families and help them to develop the skills and confidence they need to make positive changes to their own lives.

Notes to editors

1. This News Release covers England.

2. The Framework Document for Troubled Families Funding can be found here:

3. The data-sharing agreement with the Department for Work and Pensions changes regulations of the Welfare Reform Act 2012. It contains strict protections against abuse that will ensure this is only used appropriately and for this purpose only.

4. The top 10 local authorities in terms of their number of troubled families are:

  1. The payment by results criteria are:
  • more than 85 per cent attendance in schools and fewer than three exclusions from school
  • a 60 per cent reduction in anti-social behaviour across the whole family
  • and a 33 per cent reduction in youth offending
    = £3,900


  • progress towards work such as enrolment in the Work Programme or the European Social Fund provision for troubled families
    = £100


  • One adult in the family moving off benefits and into work.

Local authorities are expected to make up the remaining 60 per cent of the average £10,000 cost of a successful family intervention.

  1. The funding provided under the Troubled Families payment by results arrangements will be available for five out of six troubled families in each upper-tier local authority. This is to avoid paying twice for the same outcomes. Government funding has already been provided to support these remaining families. For example, the Department for Work and Pension’s £200 million+ European Social Fund provision, the Work Programme and existing government-funded Multi-Systemic Therapy pilots.


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Published 28 March 2012