|Communities Minister Eric Pickles Visits Wandsworth|
As troubled family scheme expanded
A programme similar to one being successfully piloted by Wandsworth Council to help troubled families is to be rolled-out nationwide.
Communities minister Eric Pickles praised Wandsworth’s success helping 30 local families through its Family Recovery Project launched last year when he paid a visit to the scheme on Monday June 11. He told staff: “It just goes to show, if you want something done, go to Wandsworth.”
The radical programme aims to get people back into work, break the cycle of benefit dependency and help make families more stable.
The success of pilot schemes like the one in Wandsworth has led the Government to launch a new Troubled Families programme across all the top-tier UK local authorities.
The pilot scheme was established November 2011 and currently covers 22 families with 90 family members involved. As part of this new, expanded, scheme, Wandsworth’s work will be scaled-up to help 660 families over three years.
The scheme is being run on a payment-by-results basis with up to £4,000 available for every family that is successfully turned around. This means that up to £2,200,000 will be available to Wandsworth over the next three years.
Troubled families can make disproportionate demands on the public purse, with each seeking help from up to 20 different professionals. The fall-out includes social problems such as truancy, anti-social behaviour, misuse of drugs and alcohol and youth crime.
The new approach means different agencies such as the police, NHS Wandsworth and Jobcentre Plus work together to create a ‘team around the family” to help set goals and implement a tailor-made plan to help them.
Families with the most complex needs are identified, and the different agencies work together to tackle the root cause of problems rather than just the symptoms.
Executive member for children’s services Cllr Kathy Tracey said:
“We will now be able to take the help we provide up to the next level and make real and lasting changes to the lives of our most vulnerable residents – changes that will have a positive knock-on effect in the communities in which they live. Our participation in this scheme is all part of our determination to raise the aspirations of local people, give them better choices and opportunities and make Wandsworth an even better place to live.”