David Cameron was in Wandsworth this afternoon visiting the people who work with the borough’s troubled families.
The Prime Minister, Secretary of State for Communities Eric Pickles and the head of the troubled families programme, Louise Casey, visited the borough to highlight the government’s Troubled Families Programme, launched in 2011, aimed at transforming the lives of hard to help families.
Troubled families are defined as those involved in a range of issues from youth crime to anti-social behaviour and having an adult on out-of-work benefits.
Latest statistics reveal that 40,000 families have been turned around by the programme however critics argue Mr Cameron is in danger of missing his target of helping 120,000 families by 2015. Speaking today, Mr Cameron said he thought they can meet their target with some council’s more than half way through.
In Wandsworth the scheme has helped 256 families – 40 per cent of the borough’s troubled families.
Mr Cameron said he thought the reason for Wandsworth’s success was the various agencies working on the same plan rather than families having to undergo multiple assessments.
He said: “I think it is an impressive performance from Wandsworth.
“Wandsworth has identified over 660 families and turned around two out of four of those and is on track to meet target.”
He said it was great for the families but also the local tax payer and added: “Getting some of our country’s most troubled families’ lives back on track is a key part of our long-term plan - it saves the taxpayer money, gives people the chance to get on in life and secures a better future for these families, their communities and for our country.”
During the visit, in Ram Street, Wandsworth, the three met outreach workers, representatives from a variety of agencies and a mum who has been helped by the programme.
Mr Pickles said the programme was good for the economy, reducing the £9bm annual cost to the tax-payer and helping people back into work.
While Louise Casey CB said they were now seeing the results which would mean more families are helped in the future.
Success of the scheme is measured by a decline in truancy, unemployment, youth crime and anti-social behaviour.
The Department for Communities and Local Government estimates the programme is saving about £3bn a year.