It is absolutely no surprise to This Writer that the ‘troubled families’ scheme has failed; Vox Political has been following it from the start.
The then-Coalition government had to fiddle the figures to provide the initial 120,000 families on which the scheme focused.
“The number came from Labour research on disadvantaged families with multiple and complex needs, rather than families that caused problems,” according to ‘troubled families tsar’ Louise Casey at the time.
Local councils, offered a £4,000 bonus for each ‘troubled’ family they identified and helped (for want of a better word) were shoehorning families into the scheme – whether they qualified or not – just to make up the numbers.
In June 2014, two years after the scheme started, Hilary Benn (remember him? This is when he still knew how to do his job) obtained figures showing that around 106,500 families had been identified for the scheme but only around 35,500 were engaged by the scheme, which then failed in three-quarters of cases (around 26,600 families).
That left 8,878 families who actually came back to the straight-and-narrow – less than one-thirteenth of the target figure.
At the time, This Blog commented as follows:
A success rate this low could have been achieved if the government had done nothing.
And, a further two years down the line, it seems my comment remains true.
Also true, in This Writer’s opinion, are a few other comments I made at the time:
“The problem is that the United Kingdom has become an increasingly unequal society, with money and privilege bled out of the majority of the population (who do most of the work for it) and into the hands of a very small number who have power and – it seems – no responsibility at all.
“The vast majority of us are seen as disposable commodities by these exploiters – whose number includes a large proportion of MPs with interests in private business; they use us to make their huge profits and then throw us into unemployment.
“Is it any wonder that such betrayal breeds families that turn away from the system and take to crime instead?
“When David Cameron slithered into Downing Street he said he wanted to “re-balance” society. In fact, he over-balanced it even more in favour of privilege and wealth.
“Now we need a proper re-balancing of society. The only way to solve the problem of ‘troubled families’ – a problem said to cost us £9 billion every year, by the way – is for people to be born into a society where everybody is valued and receives a fair (in the dictionary sense of the term, rather than the Conservative Party definition) reward for their contribution.
“That will mean a fundamental shift in attitudes that should be taught to everybody from the cradle upwards.
“You won’t get it under the Conservatives or any other right-wing government because they are exploiters by definition.
“Will you get it under Labour?
“Possibly. But a lot of right-wing Blairite dead wood will have to be cleared out first, and Hilary Benn is not the man his father was.”
Two years later, many of those words have acquired a prophetic quality – don’t you agree?
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.
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