The lives of nearly 12,000 troubled families in the North West have been turned around, according to the latest government figures.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has welcomed the latest success of the Troubled Families programme, a crucial part of the government’s long-term economic plan to help bring security and opportunity to families and communities.

The scheme has now succeeded in reaching almost all of the hardest to help homes in the country that the Prime Minister pledged to help, including 11,890 in the North West.

Councils’ dedicated troubled families teams are now intensively working with 99% of households in England identified as having multiple problems, including high levels of truancy, youth crime, anti-social behaviour and worklessness, and would otherwise cost taxpayers an estimated £75,000 per year.

Eric Pickles said he was delighted that, with over nine months still to go for the three-year initiative, more than 69,000 families had met the payment-by-results criteria by turning their lives around.

This means that children are back in school where they had previously been persistently absent; that levels of youth crime and anti-social behaviour have been significantly reduced across the family; or that an adult in the home has moved off benefits and into work for three consecutive months or more.

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Eric Pickles said:

“The Troubled Families programme demonstrates exactly what our long-term economic plan means for people: new opportunities for families to turn their lives around and make something of themselves; more economic security for local communities blighted by worklessness; and more economic stability for taxpayers, as we reduce the bills for social failure and get this country living within its means.

“It’s a triple-win – an amazing programme, and we’re going to extend its reach as far as possible.”

Head of the Troubled Families programme Louise Casey CB said:

“This programme is working so effectively because it deals with the whole family and all of their problems, with one key worker going in through the front door and getting to grips with an average of nine different problems, rather than a series of services failing to engage or get the family to change.

“It is a fantastic achievement to have built up troubled families teams so quickly so that 117,000 families are now being worked with and 69,000 have already been turned around.”

Troubled families are defined as those who:

  • are involved in youth crime or anti-social behaviour
  • have children who are excluded from school or regularly truanting
  • have an adult on out-of-work benefits
  • cost the public sector large sums in responding to their problems, an estimated average of £75,000 per year without intervention

Turning around troubled families means:

  • getting children back into school
  • cutting youth crime and anti-social behaviour across the whole family
  • getting adults into work
  • reducing the costs to the taxpayer of tackling their problems

Local Council Area

Number of families identified by end of September 2014

Number of families turned around by end of August 2014

Cheshire East

585

175

Cheshire West and Chester

525

342

Halton

375

208

Warrington

345

165

Cheshire

1,830

890

Cumbria

1,050

397

Bolton

830

517

Bury

385

223

Manchester

2,385

1,584

Oldham

680

428

Rochdale

675

492

Salford

835

484

Stockport

565

466

Tameside

620

535

Trafford

360

246

Wigan

755

500

Greater Manchester

8,090

5,475

Blackburn with Darwen

465

279

Blackpool

515

325

Lancashire County

2,630

1,117

Lancashire

3,610

1,721

Knowsley

620

496

Liverpool

2,105

1,677

Sefton

650

469

St. Helens

520

281

Wirral

910

484

Merseyside

4,805

3,407

North West

19,385

11,890

Local authorities are paid up to £4,000 on a payment-by-results basis for turning around troubled families. The government’s £448 million three-year budget for 2012 to 2015 is drawn from six Whitehall departments who all stand to benefit from the public sector working more effectively with troubled families.

At the Spending Review last year it was announced that the Troubled Families programme would be expanded to work with more families. The Budget in March 2014 announced that work with up to 40,000 of these families would begin this year.

There are 117,910 families targeted under the government’s Troubled Families Programme. For rounding purposes, however, the target is usually referred to as 120,000.

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