Tougher action to tackle troubled families.
Over the weekend Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, has called for tougher action on troubled families – aiming to ‘turn around’ 120,000 troubled families nationally by the end of this Parliament, cut crime & unemployment significantly and also cut the cost to tax payers.
The Communities Secretary said: ‘Sometimes when you meet some families, they have got the language, they are fluent in social work.’
Claiming that the blame lies at the doors of 120,000 ‘troubled families’ said to be at the root of high amounts of crime and social disorder, the government will be spending £450million to try to lessen the problems these families cause; which are calculated to cost taxpayers £9billion a year, equivalent to £75,000 per family.
The money will be given to councils that succeed in reducing truanting, cutting crime, anti-social behaviour and helping parents find jobs. In order to do this efforts will be concentrated on social workers and other authorities, involving high costs for each family targeted. The costs are exemplified by the fact that children who live in troubled families are 36 times more likely to be excluded from school and six times more likely to have been in care or to have contact with the police.
The Coalition classify a ‘troubled family’ as one that has serious problems and causes serious problems; attributing a range of factors including parents not working, mental health problems, kids not in school, the family causing crime and anti-social behaviour and costing local services a lot of time and money routinely responding to them.
Councils will receive £3,900 for each family they persuade to send their children to school for 85 per cent of the time, to cut anti-social behaviour by 60 per cent, and to cut youth offending by a third.
A further £4,000 will go to councils for each adult in a troubled family who holds down a job for three months.
A ‘Troubled Families Team’, headed by former Labour homelessness tsar Louise Casey, has also been set up by the Communities Secretary to join up efforts across Whitehall, provide expert help to local areas and drive forward the strategy.
The new programme will also fund a national network of Troubled Family ‘Trouble-Shooters’ who will be appointed by local councils. The trouble-shooters will oversee the programme of action in their area. Their responsibilities will include making sure 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.
The Prime Minister, who formally launched the programme during a visit to a Family Intervention Centre in Sandwell, said:
“Last year the state spent an estimated £9 billion on just 120,000 families, around £75,000 per family. Our heart tells us we can’t just stand by while people live these lives and cause others so much misery. Our head tells us we can’t afford to keep footing the monumental bills for social failure. So we have got to take action to turn troubled families around.
“This immense task will take new ways of thinking, committed local action, flexibility and perseverance. But I know too that it’s a task we can’t shirk. People in troubled families aren’t worthless or pre-programmed to fail. I won’t allow them to be written off. So we must get out there, help them their lives around and heal the scars of the broken society.”
Communities Secretary Eric Pickles added:
“120,000 families are a big problem for this country. If you live near one you know very well who they are. And local services like police, health and schools also know who they are, because they spend a disproportionate amount of time and money dealing with them.
“These families are both troubled and causing trouble. We want to get to the bottom of their problems and resolve them – for their own good, and for the good of their communities.”
The initiative has already come under fire from authors on family life, who advocate a strong link between troubled families and welfare dependency. They believe that changes are needed at the roots of the problem rather than launching ‘Blairite initiatives’ and in order to achieve this they believe changes are needed in the way people are rewarded and penalised by the state, ‘with a dose of morality.’
At Landlord Referencing we have been administering our own dose of morality to the good and bad tenants of the UK for the past two years; which in-turn is pro-actively protecting good landlords, good tenants and neighbours at a national level.
By combining Lifestyle Tenant Referencing and our unique Tenant Alerts with the traditional credit reference we can reward the good tenants out there and penalise the bad ones – and we are also seeing a significant increase in good tenants telling their landlords about our service, as they now realise that social referencing can help them and their families receive a better quality of neighbour, that they deserve, as well as pay for.
But even better than that, our system is now acting as a firm deterrent to tenants that think it’s OK to continually default on their rent and/or destroy their landlords property; whereby, once tenants have been told that the Landlord Referencing system is already in place more often than not they have reconsidered their actions and decided against leaving on bad terms.
We all know that the future of UK housing now lies with the Private Rented Sector, and considering we all seem to be on the same page now with regards to protecting and improving our communities; we call on the government to consider backing our unique system.
Not only would this save millions of pounds of tax payers’ money (as our system is completely free to join, for all UK landlords and letting agents) it would also send a clear message to the unscrupulous and reckless tenants out there that their anti-social behaviour is not going to be tolerated any more AND unite the majority of us who strive for the simplest of necessities in life; safety, security, a decent standard of living, a better environment and neighbourhood for ourselves, our families and future generations.