Eric Pickles MP is the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. Follow him on Twitter here.
New figures released this week have shown what a significant difference the Government's troubled families programme is making in England. 14,000 families have been turned round so far, which means their kids are back in school for three terms or more; levels of crime and anti-social behaviour have been cut by two thirds, and in some cases one of the adults is off welfare and has got a job – perhaps the first job in the family for generations.
The scheme is working because for the first time troubled families are being shown a bit of tough love. For too long the system allowed them to be cuddled into the system, giving the most vulnerable no obvious exit from the cycle of despair. This was not only damaging to one generation but to the future generations growing up in households without role models, rules or any idea of routine or structure.
As the success of our scheme is showing, the majority of these families want to get their lives back on track, and have embraced the practical help offered with open arms. It may not appear revolutionary at first but this approach represents a radically different way of working with troubled families, many of which have been struggling for years – sometimes decades. Instead of multiple agencies dealing with a parent's mental health problems or unemployment, police sorting out an older kid's drunken bad behaviour and a social worker with the younger child’s trouble at school, the whole family gets help to sort out problems together.