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Troubled Families Programme

Volume 691: debated on Thursday 25 March 2021

As required by the Welfare Reform and Work Act 2016, section 3(1), today my Department has published the 2020-21 annual report of the troubled families programme. The report sets out how the programme has been supporting our most disadvantaged families who face multiple and complex problems. We are laying this report today and will place a copy in the Library of the House.

The troubled families programme has been at the heart of our ambition to strengthen families and improve their futures since 2015. In last year’s spending review the Chancellor announced £165 million of new investment to extend the programme until the end of 2021-22.

“Improving families’ lives: annual report of the Troubled Families Programme 2020-2021” includes an update on the programme’s performance and a summary of the latest research findings and policy developments for the programme.

It sets out how the programme has driven a profound shift in the way that local services respond to entrenched problems and support our most disadvantaged families. The programme assigns a single key worker to each family, backed by multi-agency partners and coordinated data. This joined up “wrap-around” support for families has been shown to be successful in tackling the range of issues they face.

Since 2015 the programme has supported 401,719 families to achieve successful outcomes. This includes 32,382 adults who were helped into sustained employment. These families faced multiple and complex problems including a combination of crime, truancy, neglect, anti-social behaviour, domestic abuse, poor mental health, worklessness and financial exclusion. Every successful family outcome represents a family’s life changed for the better—a considerable achievement for the families and the local services supporting them.

The report sets out how local services funded by the programme have responded to the covid-19 pandemic. The programme has been a key part of the local response to covid-19 by supporting families with immediate needs such as food and equipment for home learning. The programme will play an important role in the recovery, supporting families with longer-term impacts of the pandemic such as unemployment and mental ill health.

The report summarises the latest research findings relating to the programme. Staff survey research showed consistent support for the programme from local teams. 95% of troubled families co-ordinators agree the programme is effective at achieving whole family working and 89% agree it is successful at achieving long-term change for families. An independent evaluation of the supporting families against youth crime fund shows that the fund improved the provision of local services addressing youth crime. The fund supported a number of innovative approaches in 21 local areas. Local areas reported that whole family interventions, role model based and mentoring interventions were most successful.

This builds on previous analysis which found that the programme has made a significant impact in reducing the proportion of children who are taken into care. A cost benefit analysis showed that for every £1 spent on the programme it delivers £2.28 of economic benefits (includes economic, social and fiscal benefits) and £1.51 of fiscal benefits (only budgetary impacts on services).

“Improving families’ lives: annual report of the Troubled Families Programme 2020-2021” is accompanied by a range of publications that evaluate the programme’s progress which can be accessed at These are:

Evaluation report: Supporting Families Against Youth Crime

Staff Surveys: Troubled Families Co-ordinators: part five

Staff Surveys: Troubled Families Keyworkers: part five

Staff Surveys: Troubled Families Employment Advisors: part five.