Call for more cash for troubled families programme

19 Mar 19

Council leaders have urged the government to keep funding a programme that supports families with complex problems.

This comes as the communities secretary James Brokenshire praised the troubled families programme today, calling it “inspiring”.

A government evaluation of the programme from 2015 to now has found it has reduced the proportion of children going into care by 32% 19 to 24 months after joining the programme.

Speaking at an event at the Centre for Social Justice think-tank, Brokenshire said: “We all need support and commitment to achieve our full potential. That starts with stronger families – as the cornerstone of stronger communities – and this is the driving spirit of the troubled families programme.

“It’s inspiring to see agencies working better together to help people succeed but the real story is the thousands of people who’ve taken control of their own lives. People are being helped to help themselves.”

Umbrella-groups have said the success of the programme is proof that local government should be funded adequately to provide this and other services for vulnerable people.

The programme supports families with complex problems such as anti-social behaviour, mental health issues and domestic violence. It is not clear whether the government will continue to fund the programme after 2020. 

It received £920m worth of investment between 2015-2020, which has allowed it to achieve “significant and sustained progress” with up to 400,000 families, according to government’s evaluation of the policy.

The proportion of adults on the programme going to prison has been cut by 25% and juvenile convictions by 15%, according to government.

It has also supported more people getting into work, with 10% fewer people claiming Jobseekers Allowance, the evaluation showed. 

Anntoinette Bramble, chair of the Local Government Association’s children and young people board, said: “Councils have played a pivotal role in making the troubled families programme a success for some of the most vulnerable families, and we urge the government to continue funding this vital service.

“However, if councils are to effectively support families and intervene early, then the government must use the Spending Review to address the wider financial pressures on services that support children and families. Children’s services alone face a £3.1bn gap by 2025.”

Martin Reeves, local government finance spokesperson for the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives, said:  “It demonstrates the value of early intervention across a range of integrated services and we hope the government takes lesson from this programme and applies it more widely.

“The next Spending Review provides the Treasury and Ministry of Housing, Local Government and Communities with the opportunity to properly fund preventative and early intervention services, and do so in a way that enable the councils to coordinate activities across a place to the greatest effect.”

Did you enjoy this article?