Friday, 16 December 2011

PM's 'troubled families' plan

Prime minister David Cameron announced on Wednesday that the government was making available £450 million in a cross-government drive to turn around the lives of 120,000 of some of the country's most troubled families by the end of this Parliament.

Cameron first announced the initiative in August in the aftermath of that month's riots.

Former head of the Respect Task Force Louise Casey will head a new Troubled Families Team based within the Department for Communities and Local Government to drive forward a non-governmental approach to provide expert help to local areas.

The government funding will be offered to local authorities on a payment-by-results basis when they and their partners achieve success with families, and will fund 40 per cent of the cost of the intervention, which the remaining 60 per cent coming from the councils' own budgets.

The Government will also fund a national network of troubled family 'trouble-shooters' in each (upper-tier) local council. The trouble-shooters will operate at a senior level to oversee the programme of action in their area.

A troubled family is defined as one meeting at least five of seven characteristics. The government estimates that most troubled 120,000 families cost central and local government £9 billion a year - an average of £75,000 per family. Currently, only £1 billion of the £9 billion is spent on targeted interventions which could help turn the troubled families' lives around.

Channel 4’s FactCheck blog deconstructs the financing of the initiative, pointing out that:
  • including the 60 per cent local authority contribution, the announcements envisages a spend of £1.12bn on the initiative
  • Department for Education (DfE) figures put the cost at £14,000 per family – which works out at £1.6bn for 120,000 families, leaving a shortfall of half a billion pounds
  • the government expects councils to fund their contribution from existing budgets, at a time when council budgets are being slashed and funding to family intervention projects was being reduced.

1 comment:

  1. Another NEW programme, Bradfords "incommunities" won an award back in 2006 for its About Turn project. See LSE report for detailed outputs


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