Jonathan Werran 15 March 2013

Panel set up to scrutinise troubled families scheme

A consortium has won a contract to independently evaluate the Department for Communities and Local Government’s (DCLG) £448m troubled families programme, ministers have announced.

The Ecorys UK consortium - a group of five independent research groups including pollsters Ipsos MORI, the National Institute for Economic and Social Research - has been awarded a three-year deal worth up to £1.3m following a full tender process.

Costs of the assessment will be shared between the DCLG, which is contributing up to £335,000 per year, and the Local Government Association, which is picking up the remainder of up to £100,000 annual contract costs.

The consortium will publish regular interim reports on the progress made transforming the lives of 120,000 troubled families, which upper tier English councils are targetting on a payment-by-results basis and complete its findings by 2016.

Communities secretary Eric Pickles said it is important to learn the lessons of the work for the future and leave a legacy beyond the lifetime of the programme, which ends in 2015.

‘This study will help do that by looking at what works most effectively with troubled families and how we best spend public money on turning them around,’ Pickles said.

Chairman of the LGA, Sir Merrick Cockell, said: ‘The rapid progress being made by local authorities vindicates the Government’s decision to put councils at the centre of the troubled families programme and the evaluation process will help councils continue to build on our excellent work to date in improving the lives of the families who need our support most.’

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