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Troubled Families Programme has improved outcomes for families and helped reform local services

Evaluation of Programme published

Evaluation of the Troubled Families Programme 2015 to 2020 indicates that the scheme has improved outcomes for families and helped reform local services. In particular, it has had a positive impact on the proportion of Looked After Children, convictions and custodial sentences, and those claiming Jobseeker's Allowance.

The most striking finding is that the programme appears to have reduced the proportion of Looked After Children: 2.5% of the comparison group were looked after compared to 1.7% of the programme group, a 32% difference for this cohort at 19-24 months after joining the programme. The impact on those on the programme is likely to have huge benefits to children's lives, contributes to managing children's social care pressures and provides significant savings.

For crime, the results show that the programme reduced the proportion of: adults receiving custodial sentences – 1.6% of the comparison group received custodial sentences compared to 1.2% of the programme group, a 25% difference in the 24 months after joining the programme; juveniles receiving custodial sentences – 0.8% of the comparison group received custodial sentences compared to 0.5% of the programme group, a 38% difference in the 24 months after joining the programme; and juvenile convictions 4.6% of the comparison group received custodial sentences compared to 3.9% of the programme group, a 15% difference in the 24 months after joining the programme.

There were some negative impacts: statistically significant differences between the groups in the proportion of children on Child Protection Plans at 7-12 months and 13-18 months. However, at 19-24 months after joining the programme there was no statistically significant difference.

The Cost Benefit Analysis, based on the results of the impact analysis, suggests that the programme is providing a net benefit for society. Although some of the positive impacts we see may be modest in absolute numerical terms, they have significant cost implications through demand reduction on high-cost acute services, particularly in children's social care and the criminal justice system.

Case study research and staff survey results provide further evidence that local services are being transformed and that the programme has been successful in driving transformation. However, barriers remain and there is further work to be done. Transformation is defined here as early intervention, focus on outcomes and data, whole family working and multiagency working. These are key enablers for achieving outcomes with families.

For the evaluation, click here. For comment by James Brokenshire, the Communities Secretary, click here.

24/3/19