Cornwall’s Together for Families partnership has been praised for its work in turning around the lives of almost 1,000 families with the most complex needs over the last three years.
The aim of the three year national “Troubled Families” programme, which was launched by Prime Minister David Cameron in March 2012, is to support local organisations which are working with families identified as having the most complex needs. Under the programme key workers from a range of services work with families to identify the support they need to address their problems and then help them to access a package of both mainstream and specialist support.
Local partnerships can apply for up to £4,000 of funding from the Department of Communities and Local Government for each family they successfully support to change their behaviour to benefit them and their families. This funding is allocated in two phases - an up front fee and a “payments by results” part which is dependent on providing evidence of positive achievements. Families who meet the criteria for the programme are offered additional support from a range of partner agencies from across the area.
Speaking to MPs Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said that 105,671 complex families across England had benefited from the support provided by local authority teams by February, putting the programme firmly on track to achieve the Prime Minister’s goal of turning around 120,000 by the end of the parliament.
“The Troubled Families programme has been a triumph and I am proud that we will deliver the Prime Minister’s ambition to turn around the lives 120,000 of this country’s hardest to help families” said Mr Pickles. “It has worked because it has been bold and unafraid of getting tough with those who need it most. It has also provided a long-term solution by tackling the root causes of the very complex problems these families face. This innovative approach has not only saved the taxpayer over a billion pounds but had life changing results for the families involved by giving them a hand up when they needed it most.”
Following the introduction of the Government’s Troubled Families programme in April 2012, Cornwall Council has worked with partners to help 975 families to get back on track.
This includes :
- Improving school attendance and reducing exclusion rates *
- reducing anti social behaviour and youth offending **
- Supporting people back into work or onto a work programme
Head of the Government’s Troubled Families programme Louise Casey CB said: “Behind these figures are real people from 975 Cornish families whose lives have changed for the better. Families with an average of nine serious problems each were never going to be easy to turn around, so all credit to the council and other services who have committed to this programme, the frontline staff in the county who have given their all to these families and most of all to the families who have had the courage to change and given themselves and their children a better chance in life than they had before.”
Cornwall’s partnership, which includes Cornwall Council, Devon and Cornwall Police, Health commissioners, Probation, the Drug and Alcohol Action Team, Education Welfare, Youth Offending team, Careers South West and representatives of the voluntary and community sector (including Action for Children and Addaction), was set up in 2012 following the launch of the Government’s Troubled Families programme.
“The Together for Families programme is about providing tailored support to families who really need it” said Charlotte Hill, Chair of the Cornwall “Together for Families” partnership. “The aim is to encourage all services to take a whole family approach, with intensive family support being provided to families with the most complex issues. The programme is also exploring what families need from services that will support them best.”
“The success of the programme in Cornwall means we have been able to work with local services to make the changes that are required to provide timely and efficient support for those families with the most complex needs.“
Andrew Wallis, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Young People, said “Working with the families directly enables the partner agencies to help overcome the difficulties the families face. The results of this programme shows that tackling the issues as a family unit helps achieve real positive outcomes.”
Following Cornwall’s success in achieving positive outcomes for over 75% of eligible families, Cornwall will now progress to the second phase of the programme which runs from 2015 to 2020.
The new programme will build on the achievements of the first phase, with the target of supporting an additional 4,050 families in Cornwall over the next five years(689 in 2015/16).
This will mean continuing to work with key partners in Police, Health, Education and Employment to identify and engage eligible families and working with communities and voluntary sector partners to get people into work , improve school attendance and attainment, reduce crime and antisocial behaviour and tackle health issues including drug and alcohol dependency.
“The new programme provides an opportunity for partner organisations to work closer together to support communities and families in Cornwall and to become better and smarter at how we deliver services” said Andrew Wallis. “This will enable us to meet the needs of these families at the same time as saving money across the public sector.
“To achieve this within reduced levels of funding we will need to engage with families and support them to address a range of complex issues at the same time as getting services to think and work differently with families”.
Story posted 10 March 2015