This has been an important week for the Troubled Families Programme. We have published several updates including the latest from the on-going national evaluation of the programme and also framework documents that will help with the practical delivery of the next phase.
We are encouraged by what the results of the latest evaluation of the current programme are starting to show us, particularly the early signs of progress in supporting children who need help and in reducing crime and anti-social behaviour. These are encouraging emerging signs and we are continuing to work with our analytical colleagues and with our independent advisory group of academics to improve our ability to assess the impact of programme on family outcomes.
National Impact Study: Children in Need, crime, education, benefits
The latest evaluation findings show that:
- The incidence of children designated as children in need decreases by 13% when comparing the position at 6 months after the start of the Troubled Families intervention with the position 12 months after the Troubled Families intervention. There is a similar trend for children on Child Protection Plans;
- On crime and anti-social behaviour, the number of individuals on the programme cautioned and convicted in the 12 months after the start of intervention dropped by 25.3% (cautions) and 10.4% (convictions);
- The proportion of children on the programme persistently absent from school (more than 10% absence) stabilises in the 12 months after the start of troubled families intervention compared to the period before intervention; and
- The proportion of working age adults on the programme claiming Income Support and Job Seekers Allowance 12 months after the start of intervention decreases and the proportion claiming Employment Support Allowance increases although these changes are small (less than two percentage points).
Ipsos Mori qualitative findings: for services and for families
On the qualitative side of the evaluation, Ipsos Mori’s in-depth interviews and Staff Survey into the local effects of the programme and how it is being received by families themselves shows that:
- The programme is driving service transformation in local authorities; changing structures and processes, strengthening partnership working and promoting ‘whole-family’ working;
- Troubled Families Co-ordinators are providing effective leadership and improving multi-agency working;
- Families have appreciated the way family keyworkers took time to understand them, build relationships and trust; and
- There is work to do to improve engagement between local authorities and the voluntary and community sector including ensuring that once families exit the programme, they are plugged into the right services locally so that the positive outcomes that they have achieved are sustained.
The key reports from the national evaluation are available here . I hope that these emerging findings show why we as a programme place so much emphasis on gathering high quality data – and thank you to everyone who helps us do so.
You might also be interested to read the coverage of these findings in Children and Young People Now.
The revised Financial Framework which underpins the operating model of the programme is now available here and will take effect from 1st January 2018. It reflects the huge amount of feedback we received from local authorities delivering the programme in the autumn.
The Service Transformation Maturity Model has also been updated and we hope this continues to help guide how early help services can be integrated and mainstreamed more effectively.
What are your views?
Thank you to all those who are helping improve the lives of the families on the Troubled Families Programme. I hope you’ll find these updates helpful. I’d be really keen to hear your thoughts on what the evaluation data is starting to tell us and how any reductions locally in the numbers of children designated as Children in Need for example might shape your future preventative services, or why you think that incidents of crime and anti-social behaviour have seen a drop at this early stage?
Hannah Meyer, Deputy Director, Troubled Families Programme