Troubled families scheme on track, say ministers
Ministers say a flagship project to help the most troubled households in the country is on track.
Bath and North East Somerset Council is currently recruiting for a team of key workers who will help families with complex problems to turn their lives and fortunes around.
Working with existing social workers, education staff and housing officials, the council’s Connecting Families team will focus help on around 40 families at a time.
The B&NES work is part of the national Troubled Families initiative unveiled by Prime Minister David Cameron at the end of 2011 as he vowed to “get to grips” with the country’s most difficult households.
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The council has identified around 200 families which fulfil at least one of three criteria - long-term unemployment, regular anti-social behaviour and regular truancy.
The Government this week announced 150 Jobcentre Plus advisers would now work with councils to help get people into jobs.
This would include providing practical support in skills such as CV writing and interview techniques, as well as putting families in contact with local employers.
Troubled households are estimated to cost the taxpayer £75,000 every year in terms of child protection, and dealing with crime and anti-social behaviour.
In B&NES alone this would land the public purse with a potential bill of £16.1 million a year.
Across the country there are estimated to be 120,000 chaotic households costing taxpayers £9 billion a year.
Of these, 62,000 families had been identified for assistance, and one in six - 23,000 - were receiving help.
Councils reported they had turned around the lives of a total of 1,675 troubled families.
Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said: “The Troubled Families programme is on track, changing families for the better and reducing their impact on the communities around them.
“This programme is getting to grips with some of the hardest to help families in the country and in doing so will help bring down the costs they incur to the taxpayer and the damage they do to communities.
“But by including a real push towards employment for troubled families we will also help give a sense of purpose and aspiration to people who for too long have been allowed to fail by the state.”
Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith added: “There are thousands of individuals and families in the UK living troubled lives blighted by crime, worklessness, and truancy.
“Helping them get and keep a job can be vital in turning their lives around, bringing improved structure and stability with increased aspirations and confidence.”