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Troubled Families Programme 2015 – 2020: progress so far

Supporting disadvantaged families

The Troubled Families Programme is reaching families with multiple and complex problems – including parents who do not see work as an achievable goal for them and children who are at serious risk of a lifetime of disadvantage, from cradle to grave. In the past, these families have often been failed by services which have tried to respond to the one problem that presented itself to that service at that particular time – whether it was truancy, domestic violence, anti-social behaviour or unemployment – but failed because they have been incapable of dealing with the many inter-related problems the family is facing.

Thanks to the Troubled Families Programme, these families’ lives are changing for the better. All across the country, workers are being trained in ‘whole family working’ and are using their skills, passion and commitment to support families to aspire to and achieve a better future. Services are coming together across organisational boundaries, overcoming operational and cultural barriers, and – despite the continued budgetary pressures – using this programme to achieve sustainable change for the most disadvantaged families in their communities.

This is the first annual report of the current Troubled Families Programme and meets our new statutory duty to report annually on performance. The current programme was rolled out across all upper tier local authorities in England in April 2015, and replaced the first programme which had been in place since 2012. The current programme has three main aims:

For families

  • To achieve significant and sustained progress with up to 400,000 families with multiple, high-cost problems by 2020;
  • To make work an ambition for all troubled families.

For local services

  • To transform the way that public services work with families with multiple problems to take an integrated, ‘whole family approach’;
  • To help reduce demand for reactive services.

For the taxpayer

  • To demonstrate that this way of working results in lower costs and savings for the taxpayer.

The first part of this report sets out how the current Troubled Families Programme operates, including how it has built on the strengths of the first programme and how it will continue to evolve and improve in the future. The latter part of the report looks at early data from the current programme’s ongoing evaluation. Although it is too early in the life of the current programme to report on its impact, the data available so far does describe the families on the programme, the problems they face, and how services are helping them. This report also includes the latest performance information on the number of families who have already made significant progress to resolve those problems.

The programme is funded until 2020, with the evaluation set to measure outcomes up to 2022, but this first report shows there is already evidence that the programme is having a positive effect on both families and services. In particular:

  • in more than 9,100 families, one or more family members has come off out of work benefits and achieved continuous employment;
  • nearly 44,000 families have made significant and sustained progress on all of their problems;
  • parents and carers report that keyworkers are giving them practical support and the confidence to tackle their problems;
  • staff say the programme is delivering long-term change with families, as well as encouraging professionals from different agencies to work together and provide better support to families.