The troubled families programme, which provides intensive help, will be extended to include an additional 400,000 families as a result of a budget increase of £200,000. The extension will help families to get to grips with their problems before they reach the crisis points that would qualify them for the current troubled families programme.
The programme works by assigning a dedicated worker to engage with a whole family on all of its problems, such as ensuring that the children attend school, appointments are met and appropriate services are accessed. Crucially, all of the public services involved with members of a family are coordinated and the demand on them reduced. This year the programme was voted the top government policy in a poll of local government chief executive officers.
Central government will cover 40% of the cost of working with each family. The funding will come from a Community Budget to which a number of Whitehall departments will contribute. The remaining 60% will be covered by local councils and other local partners who all benefit from the savings that result.
A one-off average investment of £4,500 to work with each family is expected to reduce the annual £15,000 cost of dealing with their problems, by supporting families to access work, reducing anti-social behaviour, poor school attendance and criminality.
Before accessing the payment by results funding for working with families, local agencies will also have to produce a detailed plan setting out how they will join up and reform their services in order to produce savings for the taxpayer.
Head of the Troubled Families programme, Louise Casey said: It is great news that the momentum we have built up on the Troubled Families programme can continue by extending the approach to a wider group of families who, for example, are struggling with health problems or parenting, where their children are not in school or are at risk of being taken into care. This new programme will enable us to help earlier in families’ lives to change them for the better.”