Hampshire County Council is running a programme to improve the lives of 1,590 families and a report has shown that help needs to be given in a more coordinated way
Troubled families in Hampshire want to be helped in a ‘more coordinated way’, a report has shown.
In 2012 Hampshire County Council launched a three-year programme with partners to ‘turn around’ the lives of 1,590 families with multiple, complex and persistent problems.
Figures published by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) in September showed that although work had begun, more work was needed in Hampshire and especially in Surrey and Bracknell Forest, to see a change for good.
The county council has released its end of year progress report which showed that only 79 Hampshire families of the 546 identified in year one were successfully ‘turned around’ by the end of July.
A turned around family sees children return to school, adults return to work and youth crime and anti-social behaviour across the whole family stamped out.
The report, presented to the council's children and families advisory panel this month, also showed that no single organisation had the skills and resources to ‘go it alone’ so there was a need for a single family plan with a joined-up approach.
Councillor Keith Mans, executive lead member for children’s services, said: “We will continue to work closely with our partners to improve co-ordination to help these families with complex and multiple problems be less dependent on public services and benefits.”
A troubled family is defined by the DCLG as one where members are involved in youth crime or antisocial behaviour, which has children who regularly skip school or which has an adult on out-of-work benefits.
The figures by DCLG showed that Hampshire had so far progressed more in the programme compared to Surrey and Bracknell Forest, having started work on all of its 546 families.
Surrey started work with 331 families of the 1,050 identified and Bracknell Forest with 44 families of the 54 families identified.
But only 12 families in Surrey and eight in Bracknell Forest had been ‘turned around’.
Hampshire also did better at getting people back to work: 12 of its troubled families had found work compared to eight in Bracknell Forest and none in Surrey.
Cllr Mans said: “It is good to see that Hampshire’s Supporting (Troubled) Families Programme is providing critical support to the families most in need of help, to get them back on their feet and deliver positive changes through giving them structure and routine in their lives.”
Hampshire’s long term aim is to create greater inter-agency coordination and more effective partnership working with families.
This is hoped to improve the effectiveness of money being spent on high-need families, thereby reducing the cost to the public purse over time.
Hampshire’s programme is supported by government funding of up to £5.3 million, and £1m that the county council has already committed to the scheme. This is in addition to resources that the authority and other public agencies already contribute to support Hampshire’s most complex families and communities.
The DCLG announced in June that the programme will be extended beyond 2015.