Responding to a Government announcement that £200 million will be invested into the Troubled Families programme to extend help to 400,000 families in 2015/16, LGA Chairman Sir Merrick Cockell said:
“Tens of thousands of families are already being helped by councils to turn their lives around. This extension of that is a vote of confidence and recognition of just how effective local authorities have been when given the mandate to bring together the work of the whole public sector in their areas.
“Councils have long recognised preventing problems before they happen makes far more sense than trying to fix them when it is too late.
“Further cuts to local government funding will make it increasingly hard to provide the key services that troubled families will need to access to tackle the challenges they face. We will be seeking clarification that this £200 million is actually additional money and not money redirected from existing local authority budgets. We await the Spending Round announcement on Wednesday for more detail on this.
“Focusing money on early intervention provides a better deal for the public purse and for the people we are trying to support, and is vital if we are to make public services sustainable in the long-term.
“The Troubled Families programme has built on the innovative work local authorities were already doing to coordinate the work of organisations such as schools, social services, job centres and health centres. It will be important that Government’s contribution towards the cost of this work doesn’t have strings attached that restrict local freedom to tailor solutions to the specific needs of individual families.
“The success of the Troubled Families programme should serve as a lesson to the rest of government in the savings and improvements to public services that can be achieved by adopting a community budget approach to delivering other local services.”