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The Troubled Families programme (England)

Published Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The Troubled Families programme works with families with multiple problems, such as unemployment, anti-social behaviour, truancy and mental health problems. It is operated at a local authority level on a payment-by-results model.

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Troubled Families is a programme of targeted-intervention for families with multiple problems, including crime, anti-social behaviour, mental health problems, domestic abuse and unemployment.

Local authorities identify ‘troubled families’ in their area and usually assign a key worker to act as a single point of contact. Central Government pays local authorities by results for each family they ‘turn around’.

£448m was allocated to the first phase of the programme, which ran from 2012-2015. Local authorities worked with around 120,000 families, and ‘turned around’ 99%.

In response to the results of this first phase, the second phase of the Troubled Families programme was launched in 2015, with £920m allocated to help an additional 400,000 families. The second phase will run until 2020.

The programme was championed in part as a way to reduce public spending on families who require support from multiple parts of the state. No formal analysis has yet been published on the extent of any savings from the programme as a whole.

This briefing paper also looks at similar, historic programmes of targeted family intervention, as well as the inclusion of the Troubled Families programme in local government devolution deals.

The Troubled Families programme is administered by the Department for Communities and Local Government, and covers England only.

December 2016 update - Most recent update to this briefing paper includes findings from the December 2016 Public Accounts Committee report into the programme.

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