£1.3bn troubled families scheme has had ‘no discernible impact’

Senior civil servant describes unpublished Whitehall report into efforts to tackle entrenched social problems as damning.

This article titled “£1.3bn troubled families scheme has had ‘no discernible impact’” was written by Lisa O’Carroll, for The Guardian on Monday 8th August 2016 17.08 UTC

The £1.3bn government “troubled families” scheme to tackle entrenched social problems following the riots in 2011 has had no discernible impact on unemployment, truancy or criminality, an unpublished Whitehall report has found.

The official evaluation of the programme launched by David Cameron has not been published because it would be embarrassing to ministers, it has been claimed.

A senior civil servant, interviewed for an investigation by BBC’s Newsnight, described the report by independent consultancy Ecorys as damning.

The initial troubled families scheme, launched by Cameron in 2012, sought to “turn around the lives of the 120,000 most troubled households in the country” at a cost of about £400m.

A second wave of the scheme has since been launched to cover another 400,000 families at a further cost of £900m.

Cameron said he wanted to put “rocket boosters” into the system to underline the importance of strong parenting in preventing the kind of social problems that led to the riots in London and elsewhere.

It aimed to break the cycle of problems such as poor parenting, domestic abuse and other issues including institutional care identified by Dame Louise Casey as contributing to the transmission of problems through generations.

But a separate government-commissioned audit of the effectiveness of the programme has concluded differently.

According to Newsnight, the Ecorys report examined data from 56 local authorities and concluded there was “no discernible impact on the percentage of adults claiming out-of-work benefits either 12 or 18 months after starting on the programme” and “no obvious impact on the likelihood that adults were employed 12 or 18 months after starting on the programme”.

“Participation did not have any discernible impact on adult offending” seven to 18 months after the family was booked into the programme, it said.

read more: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/aug/08/13bn-troubled-families-scheme-has-had-no-discernible-impact

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