South Yorkshire councils praised for helping 4,000 families

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles
Communities Secretary Eric Pickles
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Councils in South Yorkshire have been praised for turning around the lives of nearly 4,000 ‘troubled families.’

Yesterday Communities’ Secretary Eric Pickles told the House of Commons that more than 105,000 households had benefited from the Government’s Troubled Families programme.

It aims to help get truant children back to school, put jobless adults in employment or on the path to work as well as cutting anti-social behaviour.

Families identified as needing help have an average of nine complex problems - including debt, drugs and domestic violence.

Mr Pickles said: “It has worked because it has been bold and unafraid of getting tough with those who need it most.

“It has also provided a long-term solution by tackling the root causes of the very complex problems these families face.”

In Sheffield 1,680 families have been through the programme - up from 600 last July and all of the families identified as needing help. The city council carries out the work as part of its Building Successful Families project.

In Rotherham the number is 730, Barnsley 631 and Doncaster 870.

The programme pays the council £4,000 on a payment by results basis using funding from six Whitehall departments.

To be ‘turned around’, an adult must have been off benefits and in work for three months, a child back in school for a year or anti-social behaviour and crime reduced across the whole family.

Mr Pickles said that despite paying councils - £6.8m for Sheffield - the average saving to the taxpayer per family was £12,000, according to a new report.

He said nationwide the saving was over £1 billion, which came on top of the ‘life-changing results’ for families.

A Sheffield Council spokesman said the money had been spent on bolstering its multi-agency support teams and frontline services plus employing more staff and experts in family work.

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