Brighton and Hove Council's £1.25m troubled families programme "turns around" just eight households (From The Argus)
Get involved: Send your news, views, pictures and video by texting SUPIC to 80360 or email us.
Brighton and Hove Council's £1.25m troubled families programme "turns around" just eight households
A council programme supporting hundreds of “troubled families” has completed work with just eight sets of parents in its first 15 months.
Brighton and Hove City Council’s troubled families programme has a 1% completion rate with 675 families, compared with 12% nationally.
Council officials defended the project’s progress by claiming workers were targeting the most difficult families first and avoiding the easier approach of “picking low hanging fruit”.
Across the country the Government is working with local authorities to help truant children get back into school, reduce youth crime, get parents back into work and reduce the cost to the state of looking after a minority of difficult families.
Less than 400 families have been “turned around” out of almost 2,900 families identified as troubled across the whole county, in a project which is due to end in 2015.
Brighton and Hove City Council has 24 staff working on the project which has so far cost almost £1.25 million.
In that time, the local authority has worked with just a third of families classed as troubled, helping seven families meet targets for reducing crime or educational problems and one family to achieve long-term employment.
East Sussex County Council helped 100 families out of 1,015 troubled families to meet educational and crime targets and helped one family into work while West Sussex families met 26 crime and education targets but no families found work.
Councils receive payments based on their successful results in the programme.
Mother-of-two Angela Fifield, 30 from Whitehawk, and her husband Kriss were introduced to Brighton and Hove’s integrated team for families after her eldest son Wyatt, aged eight, was expelled from Carden Primary School last Christmas.
She said: “It’s not about them telling you how to look after your children, it’s about offering support to the family.
“Our support worker took away all the running around, she would take care of any meetings we needed to set up, came to all the doctor’s appointments and through the six weeks holiday, came out on few days with me because my husband was working.”
A Brighton and Hove City Council spokesman said: “We’ve ‘turned around’ eight families out of 19 that we have completed working with, with a 42% success rate which is above our target of 40%.
“The reason we haven’t so far ‘turned around’ more families is because we have chosen to work with the families facing the most difficult situations that need the most intensive support first.”
An East Sussex County Council spokeswoman said: “The programme is still in its early stages but we are pleased with the progress we have made.
“We realise there is still a lot of work to do but we are confident of meeting our target of turning around the lives of 1,015 families over the three-year programme.”
A West Sussex County Council spokesman said: “Inevitably it takes time for results to come through.
“Our approach aims to bring about real change with families that they can sustain, it was never our intention to make a large claim in July 2013.”
Comments are closed on this article.