To receive a report by the Cabinet Member for Community Services and the Corporate Director for Education and Young People’s Services that sets out Kent’s progress in implementing Phase 1 of the Troubled Families Programme and plans for delivering the Expanded Programme in Phase 2.
1. The Cabinet Member, Mr Hill, introduced a report explaining that this was a very important issue and top of the corporate and political agenda. And had been pleased with the results of Phase 1 of the programme. It had been a major achievement to turn around 100% of the families in that cohort in a new area of work. Mr Hill read a statement from Louise Casey, Head of Troubled Families Programme giving praise to the achievements of the Kent Team. He highlighted that there were new challenges with the new cohort to be delivered with less funding, but this would be delivered.
2. The Head of the Troubled Families Programme, Mr Weiss, highlighted key points from the report advising that this programme was jointly governed by KCC at a county level, led by the Leader, Mr Carter, and the Cabinet Member, Mr Hill; and at a local level by all the borough and district councils. The Trouble Families was in two phases. Phase 1, which has been the last three years and Phase 2, which was the next five years. For Phase 1 2560 families had been turned round. The criteria was to get children back into school, to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour and to get members of the family that were unemployed, back into work. Kent had the third highest number of turn round families in the country and in terms of returning people back to work Kent had the second highest in the country. Phase 2 would be more challenging with three times more families to be turned round, 8960 families. The criteria had also broadened with a separate section on domestic violence, trying to encourage people to manage their health problems, engaging parents where children need early help, children in need or child protection.
3. Mr Leeson and Mr Weiss noted comments and responded to questions by Members as follows:-
· Members congratulated the Team for all the work carried out to achieve this success.
· Mr Weiss advised that the vast amount of families were identified through notifications to Early Help, this could be through schools, Community Safety Teams, Police or someone from the local community. If families did not come forward the Team would look through the data and try to identify families that way. He stated that there were very few resistant families which included families who in the past had not wanted to cooperate through Social Care or Social workers but had accepted intervention through a family project worker. He considered that it was the relationship that had been forged with those families that had made the difference.
· Mr Weiss advised that in Phase1 there were not the tools to track families once they were turned around but very few families returned to the Team. He agreed that it was important to understand that this was sustainable and was the change meaningful. In Phase 2 families would be tracked for a year and if a family started to have problems we or another agency would reengage at the earliest time. Mr Leeson explained that when a notification was received a Triage Team would look at the data to identify whether the child or the family had been helped in the past, so that it would be obvious when an Early Help notification was made that a family had or had not previously been supported by the Troubled Families Programme.
· Mr Wiess advised that there were good links with the Department for Work and Pensions and Job Centre Plus that had seconded staff into the Programme and helped families onto a path back to work.
4. RESOLVED that comments and responses to questions by Members and the success of the Troubled Families Programme in Phase 1 and the approach to delivering the Expanded Programme in Phase 2 be noted.