Currently, all local authorities are challenged with an urgent and high-profile initiative to set up a programme for troubled families within their authority.
At RedQuadrant, we have an expert team who have proven ability in this area and understand the challenges posed by the troubled families agenda, including those that we see as being key, namely: a) how to produce data for their area on troubled families, b) how to construct systems for performance measurement and management and c) establishing arrangements for benefits realisation.
In the aftermath of the summer riots, the Prime Minister pledged to turn around the lives of the 120,000 most troubled families, who were identified as having complex or multiple needs.
Given that £9 billion is estimated to be spent annually on these 120,000 most troubled families, each of these families are currently costing around £75,000 per year. In order to tackle this, the government has established a new Troubled Families Team based within the Department for Communities and Local Government and around £450 million has been freed up for this purpose from different government departments.
About 40% of this fund will be made available to local authorities on a payment-by-results basis when they and their partners achieve success with families.
This programme will also fund a national network of Troubled Family ‘Trouble-Shooters’ who will be appointed by local councils and will be tasked with ensuring the right families are getting the right type of help, that sanctions are in place when needed, and that positive results are being achieved with the troubled families in their area.
Challenges for local authorities
The challenges for local authorities to consider when addressing these targets include:
1. Production of data on local troubled families
This will include both the aggregate number of families and a potential target list of clients. Local authorities need to develop strong relationships with strategic partners such as mental health services, health visitors and police to ensure regular and updated information, but will also need to identify families in the first instance by analysing datasets across the authority, police, JobCentre Plus and possibly the NHS against government criteria.
2. System construction for performance measurement and management
These systems need to support baselining, progress tracking and reporting to government, in order to engage with the payments by results strategy, but this also offers local authorities a real opportunity to achieve excellence in case management.
3. Establishment of arrangements for benefits realisation
Finally, to ensure that your investment is reducing the number of troubled families within your authority over a longer period, it is essential to utilise a benefits realisation model that will continue to give valid and relevant data. One of our consultants at RedQuadrant was responsible for developing a pioneering cost/benefit model in Birmingham Children’s Services, which offered £120m benefits for £40m investment. Built into this was a Benefit Realisation Plan and cost effective system developments to provide ongoing performance and benefit monitoring. We can assist you in developing a similar model for your service. Without the necessary tools and techniques to focus your and your partners’ efforts on the achievement of results, particularly around financial improvements, there remains a very real risk of not fulfilling potential.
We have an extremely experienced team who are well-versed in these challenges and can bring our extensive experience in order to help you best address them within your authority. Our consultants have worked across a number of different authorities and we are thus able to offer you skilled and knowledgeable people to work with your authority in the coming months to put the necessary arrangements in place within a short timeframe.
Paul Chivers is a senior consultant and has recently acted as the lead for a transformation programme to improve outcomes for young people for Birmingham City Council, in which he developed a cost/benefit model in Children’s Services and led a team of analysts in a groundbreaking transformation project for evidence-based interventions. He identified multi-agency service impacts and reporting, managed programme and project costs and benefits and engaged and turned around a failing cost/benefit model. He wrote the Benefit Realisation Plan and managed the system development to provide service usage monitoring and benefit delivery.
Greg Wilkinson is a senior consultant and is a highly experienced management consultant and public servant. He has been working since the summer with the London Borough of Hillingdon on the transformation of Hillingdon’s family intervention services and, consequently, has an in-depth and up-to-date understanding of the agenda surrounding vulnerable children and their families.
Emma Franklin is a junior consultant with RedQuadrant and has worked with vulnerable families across a range of delivery models, including an innovative assessment in care project for young parents, and as a key worker with youth offenders alongside family intervention teams. More recently, she worked with Barnardo’s to deliver a consultation for the implementation of eleven Sure Start Children’s Centres and the provision of respite for families with disabled children.
RedQuadrant would welcome the chance to further discuss these challenges with you and put together a tailored proposal of support for your authority over the next few months. For more information, please contact Emma on email@example.com.