As required by the Welfare Reform and Work Act 2016, section 3(1), my Ministry has published the second annual report, setting out how the Troubled Families Programme (2015-2020) has been supporting disadvantaged families. We are laying this report today, and are placing a copy in the House Library.
This notice details what the report covers, for the period up to the end of March 2018, as well as for the next financial year, including setting out which families are eligible for the programme and how the progress of families will be measured.
“Supporting disadvantaged families, annual report of the Troubled Families Programme 2017-18” details how the programme is working with families as a whole to provide the stability and practical support they need to overcome complicated problems including ‘worklessness’, uncontrolled debt and truancy.
This programme of whole family working has achieved significant progress over the past 12 months with:
more than 90,000 families having met the improvement goals agreed with local services against each of their agreed ‘headline’ problems. This is up more than 48,000 on the previous year;
almost 14,000 of these families where progress has been achieved, one or more adult has succeeded in moving into continuous employment, an increase of over 4,800 since last year; and
reduced demand on children’s social care services. The programme’s focus on preventative services is starting to show positive results with families getting the type of help they most need, so lowering the number of cases for example that need to be escalated to costly children’s social care.
Rather than responding to each problem or single family member separately, and merely reacting to crises assigned Troubled Families keyworkers champion working with the whole family so that they receive support from co-ordinated services working together to identify and solve their problems as early as possible.
Since the current programme began in 2015, local authorities and their partners have worked with 289,809 eligible families. This compares with only 2,000 families who had received whole family support in England between January 2006 and March 2010.
Following a review of the programme’s funding model, the report notes which local authorities will pilot a new payment model, named “Earned Autonomy”, whereby upfront payments will be given to areas to accelerate ambitious plans for service reform.
Families classed as ‘relevant households’ on the programme, as defined by section 3 of the Welfare Reform and Work Act 2016, have at least two of the following problems:
parents or children involved in crime or anti-social behaviour;
children who are not attending school regularly;
children who need help; that is children of all ages who need help, are identified as in need or are subject to a child protection plan;
adults out of work or at risk of financial exclusion or young people at risk of worklessness;
families affected by domestic violence and abuse;
parents or children with a range of physical and mental health problems.
The rationale for these eligibility criteria and an explanation of the way in which local authorities should identify families using a range of indicators, suggested referral routes and information sources were set out in the refreshed version of the Financial Framework, published on 8 December 2017. The Financial Framework also sets out how the progress of families supported will be measured.
As the Troubled Families Programme enters its final two years, we will continue to drive forward changes to services which secure positive and lasting outcomes for families. We will continue developing a robust cost benefit analysis to show the savings to the public purse.