The UK government’s Troubled Families Programme was one of the flagship policies of the coalition government and is one of only two family programmes to receive funding from central government in the UK. It reportedly ‘turned around’ the lives of 99% of the 120,000 ‘troubled families’ identified at the outset of the programme, and within the timescale set out by the then Prime Minister David Cameron. Now in its second phase, the programme is working with 400,000 more ‘troubled families’, using a ‘persistent, assertive and challenging’ model of ‘family intervention’, which aims to co-ordinate services to work with families as a whole, rather than as individuals within the same household. The programme has, however, been beset by controversy since it was first announced in 2011. Funding for the programme runs until 2020 and there has been little discussion about its future beyond that point.
In this seminar Dr Stephen Crossley will highlight lessons that can be learned from the programme. The focus includes consideration of the characteristics of the families that engaged with the programme and the extent to which a ‘family intervention’ approach can help to ‘turn around’ their lives. The misuses of research evidence within the programme, the gaming that occurred around the ‘Payment by Results’ model, and the extent to which the programme has contributed to ‘service transformation’ are also discussed. Dr Crossley will conclude with a discussion of what a more inclusive and supportive service model for marginalised families might look like.