England & Wales Education and children's services

Some background information on Eric’s plan to “confront difficult families”


**UPDATE** A press release from Eland House this morning states that “every eligible council has agreed to run the Government’s Troubled Families programme in their area”. 

The Independent on Sunday reported yesterday that Eric Pickles will tomorrow announce “all 152 top-level councils in England will be incentivised to send in troubleshooters to confront difficult families in their area, as part of a £450m payment-by-results scheme”.

Some details of the scheme were covered in a recent LGiU member briefing

Following the 2011 summer riots, the focus on Community Budgets changed with a new troubled families programme led by a  Troubled Families Team established in the DCLG, headed by Louise Casey with £448 million of funding with the aim of turning around the lives of 120,000 families in England over the next three years.


These families cost central and local government £9 billion per year equating to an average cost of £75,000 per troubled family, per year. £8 billion of the £9 billion is estimated to be spent on those families rather than solving them. The Committee were told that it is not unusual to have up to 20 different professionals engaged and costing up to £250-£350,000 per family. The costs are exemplified by the fact that children who live in troubled families are 36 times more likely to be excluded from school and six times more likely to have been in care or to have contact with the police.


This programme will run primarily on a payment-by-results basis to incentivise local authorities and their partners to take action to turn around the lives of troubled families in their area by 2015. The Government will offer to pay up to 40 per cent of local authorities’ costs of dealing with these families payable only when they and their partners achieve success with families. In addition the programme will fund a national network of Troubled Family ‘Trouble-Shooters’, appointed by upper-tier local authorities, to oversee the programme of action in their area.

Matt Chorley of the IoS also has an interview piece with the Secretary of State in which he details the contents on his office: “A large, rare terracotta bust of Benjamin Disraeli glowers from a glass case behind his desk. On a nearby table, in a nod to the coalition, he has a pocket-sized Gladstone. There are two models of “the great Margaret”; Churchill and de Gaulle, too. High on a bookcase stands a black and white photograph of Che Guevara “to remind me that if I’m not constantly vigilant, the cigar-chomping commies will be back”.