In 2011, the government, through the departments for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) and for Work and Pensions (DWP), informed local authorities of the need to turn around the lives of 120,000 families in the UK.
Ms Casey met with Cllr Alan Farnell, leader of Warwickshire County Council and the Chief Executive, Jim Graham, to discuss the approach that the council is developing to improve the lives of many of the county’s vulnerable people and what other work Warwickshire agencies can do to help achieve this by 2015. She then met with officers from a wide variety of agencies to discuss this in greater detail.
In December 2011, the government indicated that of this number, there were 805 troubled families in Warwickshire.
These families will be helped to break out of patterns of worklessness, crime and anti-social behaviour and poor educational outcomes by the programmes which will build on significant progress made by the Warwickshire Family Intervention Project over the past two years..
A number of national criteria have been developed by the government that relate to crime/anti-social behaviour, education and worklessness. Among the criteria around crime and anti-social behaviour are
· Where households have one or more children with a proven offence in the last 12 months
· Where a member of a household has been involved in anti-social behaviour in the last 12 months.
Among criteria around poor educational outcomes are
· Where a child has been subject to permanent exclusions or three or more fixed school exclusions across the last three consecutive terms
· Where a child has been excluded and is not in education at a school due to exclusion or
· Where a child has had 15% unauthorised absence from school across the last three terms.
Criteria for worklessness include where
· Households have an adult on unemployment benefits including incapacity and severe disability allowances
Other local criteria to go alongside these national requirements are being developed by the county council and its partners. These might include families where a child is on a child protection plan, families who are subject to frequent arrests and prison, families with mental health problems, drug and alcohol misuse, long-term health conditions, health problems caused by domestic abuse and teenage pregnancies.
Outcomes for the families at the end of that period will see improved school attendance, family members securing or seeking employment or further education and reductions in
· the use of alcohol and illegal substances
· anti-social behaviour
· child protection concerns
· eviction proceedings
Head of the Government’s Troubled Families programme Louise Casey said:
“Troubled families have problems and often cause problems in their community. We all benefit from dealing with them effectively and helping them turn their lives around. This won’t be easy but we know that it can be done with the right ways of working and it’s really encouraging to see local services such as community safety and education coming together with others to get to grips with this issue in Warwickshire.”
Cllr Alan Farnell, leader of Warwickshire County Council, said: “We had a frank discussion with Louise Casey about the problems that we face in Warwickshire and the work we have been doing for two years through the Family Intervention Project and other key initiatives.
“We are committed to improving the outcomes for these families and we will bring together the agencies involved to break the cycle and generate positive outcomes for both the families and for other residents of the county who are affected by anti-social behaviour from some members of the families.”
For information on this work contact Nick Gower-Johnson, the Troubled Families Co-ordinator on 01926 742642 or via firstname.lastname@example.org