The massive extension of the Troubled Families programme is excellent news. Hitherto the target has been to turn around 120,00 families but this has been increased by another 400,000. An extra £200 million will be spent on this payments by results scheme. But talk of "spending" in this context is misleading. These are families that if they are not truned round cost the taxpayer an average of £75,000 a year - not just for welfare but the army of public sector operatives visiting them.
The money is paid out to local authorities by the Department for Communities and Local Government, but is funded from across Whitehall. The Department for Work and Pensions are concerned that the families get off welfare, the Justice Department that they cease being involved in crime....
The idea is a single dedicated worker helping the family. It is what is known as "joined up Government." But there is great scope for local innovation.
Crucially, all of the public services involved with members of a family are coordinated and the demand on them reduced.