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Troubled Families

Volume 558: debated on Monday 4 February 2013

We are providing local authorities with £448 million over three years, including funding for troubled families co-ordinators in all 152 upper- tier councils. My troubled families team works closely to support councils and has recently published reports on effective family intervention and the significant cost savings that this work can bring. This would not have been possible without the active encouragement of Members in all parts of the House.

Is my right hon. Friend aware that my local council has been doing excellent work and that Barnet council has identified one troubled family who are benefiting by £400,000 a year from the public sector? What additional help can the Department give to good councils such as Barnet in tackling this problem?

When my hon. Friend was leader of Barnet council he was a very early adopter of this intervention model. As he rightly points out, it is not as though that money is spent terribly wisely; the majority is simply spent on reacting to the troubled family rather than positively getting them on side. Thanks to the work of my hon. Friend and of hon. Members all around the Chamber, we can jointly say that we have made significant progress on troubled families.

Does the Secretary of State agree, though, that those of us on both sides of the House who want this policy to come to fruition and to work well are finding it very difficult at the grass roots, especially in an area that I know well, education, with people in schools saying that it is still very difficult to get a link between the Department for Work and Pensions, the Work programme and the police—across the agencies and Ministries? Will he talk to colleagues in other Departments to try to help to make this a real success?

Absolutely. There is an intense understanding of the need for co-operation across Government. If the hon. Gentleman has a particular local authority in mind and would write to me or speak to me after questions, I will personally intervene.