Troubled families

Government programmes designed to help England’s troubled families are underperforming because of “poor co-ordination” between departments, a National Audit Office report has said.

Every time you read about the “troubled families programme”, bear in mind that the entire concept is based on a distortion.

The 120,000 “problem families” are people with several problems like illness, long-term lack of work, and low income. But the “troubled families programme” is aimed at people who need to be bullied to:

  • get children back into school
  • reduce youth crime and anti-social behaviour
  • put adults on a path back to work
  • reduce costs to the government

They don’t say “bullied”, they say “helped”. We know from experience that when these people say “help” they mean sod all actual help, backed up with useless advice, bullying and punishment. The premise is that life is a bowl of cherries, if something has gone wrong for you then you must be a naughty person and should pull yourself together and be ashamed of yourself.

Nothing has been done, other than Tory joined-up “thinking”, to show that the 120,000 families with problems are the same people, or the same numbers of people, who might somehow deserve to be treated like this. Or that anyone deserves to be treated like this.

It would be nice if some of the people caught up in this get some benefit, and if the original 120,000 families – some of whom might even be the same people – don’t get entirely forgotten under the propaganda.  It doesn’t appear that the government’s efforts are very likely to do this, or were seriously intended to do this.