MPs sceptical about Troubled Families programme

family life

A committee of MPs has cast doubt on government claims about the success of the Troubled Families programme.

Established in 2012, the programme aimed to help disadvantaged families struggling with social problems via millions in funding channelled through their local authorities.  A multimillion pound funding programme was  allocated in two tranches, with the aim of providing assistance to more than 500,000 families across the country.

The effectiveness of the programme has since been questioned but the government insisted that it had “turned around”  the lives of “99 per cent of England’s most troubled families” and that it had saved taxpayers more than £1 billion in social costs.

But the Public Accounts Committee has now said this claim is misleading. Savings to the taxpayer had not taken into account the costs of the programme they said. In addition the programme’s focus had been short-term they claimed.

“The implication of ‘turned around’ was misleading, as the term was only indicative of achieving short-term outcomes under the programme rather than representing long-term, sustainable change in families’ lives..”

A payment by results system for local authorities in each area had also encouraged some to push families through the programme too quickly the Committee claimed, as well as “claiming results for families at the margins of the programme in order to meet targets“.

Image by Aaron Davidson via Flickr

Stowe Family Law Web Team

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