Dominic Browne 27 April 2012

Councils officials should ‘roll up their sleeves’ to help troubled families

Council officials must become more involved in the lives of the people they work with - and to not just ‘monitor decline’.

The head of the Government’s ‘troubled families’ unit, Louise Casey, has urged town hall officials to start ‘rolling up their sleeves and getting down and cleaning the floors’ or arrive at 7am to get families out of bed and children to school on time.

Speaking at an event hosted by the charity 4Children, Ms Casey expressed regret that previous Whitehall projects she had set up to tackle anti-social behaviour had now closed.

She dismissed as ineffectual officials who simply turn up with ‘clipboards’, and who ‘don’t make any difference’ to the families they monitor – and suggested the kind of practical help council officials could provide to families they visit.

‘If a family needs to be shown how to heat up a pizza, show them how to do it,’ she said, emphasising how much money could be saved by early interventions.

Ms Casey, who works from the Department for Communities and Local Government, has been asked by David Cameron to help turn around the lives of 120,000 of the most troubled families in England.

The unit’s objectives focus on improving employment prospects for parents, getting children to schools and reducing the number of police interventions in family lives.

Under the £1.2bn three-year programme, local authorities will receive funding on a payment by results basis, which rewards measurable progress against objectives.

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