The Troubled Families programme was established in 2012 by the Department for Communities and Local Government (the Department) with the aim of “turning around” the lives of 120,000 families with multiple disadvantages. The Department considers a family to be “turned around” if it experiences a significant reduction in levels of truancy, anti-social behaviour, and youth offending, or if an adult in the family moves into continuous employment.
The Department informed us that the programme has impacted positively upon both the lives of troubled families and their associated cost to public services by, for example, reducing the number of times the police are called out. The Department had a target of “turning around” the lives of 117,910 families identified by local authorities as troubled. It made payments to local authorities for “turning around” the lives of 99% of these. An evaluation commissioned by the Department could not find evidence of whether or not there had been any significant impact. Additionally, publication of the Department’s evaluation of the Troubled Families programme was delayed for more than a year, and we consider this delay to be unacceptable. The Department was evasive when explaining the reasons for this delay, furthering the impression that government is reluctant to be open and transparent about the Troubled Families programme.
16 December 2016