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National Evaluation of the Troubled Families Programme: National Impact Study Report

Findings from the Analysis of National Administrative Data and local data on programme participation

The purpose of the analysis upon which this report is based was to estimate the impact of participation in the initial phase of the Troubled Families programme on a range of outcomes encompassing benefit receipt, employment, educational participation, child welfare and offending. This analysis estimates the impact of programme participation on these outcomes, relative to non-participation. That is, the findings that overall participation in the programme had no significant or systemic impact does not mean that there were no changes in the relevant outcomes for families; simply that any changes (positive or negative) cannot be attributed to participation in the programme, because similar changes were observed for comparable non-participants. In other words, participation in the programme did not in itself result in or cause any change in outcomes. This applies to all impact estimates described below. This report should be read alongside the separate and independent analysis of the impact of participation in the Troubled Families programme using survey data.1 This analysis, which uses administrative data, is consistent with the analysis of the survey data.

The data used in this analysis was compiled from information provided by local authorities and from national administrative datasets covering tax and benefits receipt, offending, educational attainment, schooling and child social care. Information provided by local authorities allowed records for individuals to be linked together to build up a detailed picture of family circumstances prior to starting on the programme and outcomes following entry. The main advantage of using administrative data was that it provided information on a larger sample of families than would have been possible if it had been necessary to survey Troubled Families programme participants. However, the use of partial and incomplete data, reflecting in part the novel nature of the process for local authorities, means that there are a number of caveats attached to the findings.