Sunday, December 15, 2019
Home Society Government 'overstated' the performance of troubled families programme, say MPs

Government ‘overstated’ the performance of troubled families programme, say MPs

MPs "unable to find consistent evidence" to prove the Troubled Families Programme has had any significant impact.


An influential group of MPs says the Government has failed to prove the effectiveness of a costly programme designed to “turn around” tens of thousands of “troubled families” in England.

In a damning new report published on Monday, the Public Accounts Committee, a cross-party group of MPs, claim the Department for Communities and Local Government had overstated the performance of the Troubled Families Programme and savings to taxpayers.

The programme was launched in 2012 by the then Prime Minister, David Cameron, with a commitment of £448 million in funding between 2012 and 2015. But MPs say families placed on the programme were considered ‘turned around’ on the basis of short-term outcomes rather than “long-term, sustainable change in families’ lives”, adding Tory minister’s claims of £1.2 billion in savings was an overstatement.

An evaluation of the programme was “unable to find consistent evidence” that it had any significant impact, in stark contrast to claims from Government ministers that the programme was “turning around” the lives of 120,000 troubled families.

And a ‘payment by results’ framework “led to some councils attempting to move families through the programme quickly, potentially at the expense of reduced quality of support”, the committee said.

Their report also criticises a delay of more than a year in publishing an initial evaluation into the programme, saying the embarrassing delay was “unacceptable”.

It added: “The department was evasive when explaining the reasons for this delay, furthering the impression that government is reluctant to be open and transparent about the Troubled Families programme.”

Meg Hillier MP, Chair of the PAC, said: “Government officials might be inclined to consider our comments on the delay in publishing its Troubled Families evaluation as a slap on the wrist about Whitehall bureaucracy.

“Let me assure them that given the ambitions for this programme, the implications for families and the significant sums of money invested, it is far more serious than that.

“But it is particularly important with a new initiative that there is transparency so that the Government can learn and adapt the programme.

“The Department has undermined any achievements the Government might legitimately claim for its overall work in this area.

“In particular it was a mistake to use short-term criteria as the measure for successfully ‘turning around’ families, many of whom are grappling with long-term social problems. A tick in a box to meet a Prime Ministerial target is no substitute for a lasting solution to difficulties that may take years to properly address.

“We would also question the suitability of the Government’s ‘payment by results’ model, which similarly risks incentivising quantity over quality.

“The Department has now committed to providing Parliament with an annual report on progress with the Troubled Families programme, starting in March next year. For this to be meaningful Government must be far clearer about the benefits that can be directly attributed to the public investment in it.

“Only then can Parliament and others properly assess the value for money of this programme and its merits as a model to bring about lasting change in the lives of those families it is intended to support.”


Newsletter

Subscribe Now! Get weekly updates delivered straight to your email inbox and never miss out on the latest news developments (BETA). Alternatively, follow us on social media (see below).

16,694FansLike
9,380FollowersFollow

Trending Now

Benefit payment dates over Christmas and New Year 2019-20

You may receive benefit payments early over Christmas and New Year. Check here to see if this applies to you and your family.

A homeless person dies every 19 hours in austerity Britain

Services are failing to protect homelessness people, say campaigners.

Elderly woman ‘jumped to her death’ after being wrongly refused pension payments

DWP admitted to an "administrative error" and apologised "unreservedly".

Charities report surge in donations and offers of support after Tory election win

Charities like the Trussell Trust experienced a spike in donations within hours of the general election outcome.

Benefit payment dates over Christmas and New Year (2018-19)

You may receive benefit payments early over the Christmas and New Year period.

More News

Charities report surge in donations and offers of support after Tory election win

Charities like the Trussell Trust experienced a spike in donations within hours of the general election outcome.

Just 53% of businesses actively seek and welcome disabled job hunters

75% of businesses admit that disabled applicants face barriers when job hunting.

Elderly woman ‘jumped to her death’ after being wrongly refused pension payments

DWP admitted to an "administrative error" and apologised "unreservedly".

Little festive joy for single parents this Christmas

Equifax reveals a third of single parents feel less confident about meeting their credit commitments over the Christmas period.

Newsletter

Get weekly news updates delivered straight to your inbox. Subscribe today!