PM’s bid to mend broken Britain

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Troubleshooters will be sent to help Britain’s most broken families turn their lives around and tackle the causes of anti-social behaviour.

Experts appointed by local councils will be responsible for ensuring family case workers visit the homes were support is needed the most.

Set up in response to the summer riots, the team is designed to target the country’s 120,000 most troubled families and will be part of a new Government approach aimed at putting “building blocks in place to create a stronger society”. David Cameron will set out the plans today in a speech to charities, voluntary organisations and other professionals involved in helping families.

He has appointed Louise Casey, ex-Victims Commissioner and Tony Blair’s former “respect tsar”, to lead the team, which will be overseen by Communities and Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles.

“We need to provide leadership at the top, action in local authorities and results on the ground,” the Prime Minister is expected to say. “Louise is leading the nationwide task of getting to grips with the number of troubled families – and working out where they are.

“We’re not prescribing a single response. But we are demanding results from councils in return for support.”

Ms Casey’s team will be tasked with finding out how many troubled families there are and where they live.

Troubleshooters will then have to co-ordinate local support, secure extra funding and make sure the right action is being taken to resolve the families’ problems.

Mr Cameron will say: “For many of the most troubled families, there will be a family worker – a single point of contact for the first time for particular families, working out what the family needs, where the waste is and lining up the right services at the right time. When the front door opens and the worker goes in, they will see the family as a whole and get a plan of action together, agreed with the family.

“This will often be basic, practical things that are the building blocks of an orderly home and a responsible life.”

The campaign will seek to help families facing a range of challenges such as unemployment, mental health problems, children out of school, crime and anti-social behaviour.

The Government estimates that dealing with these families costs the taxpayer £9bn a year, mainly spent on child protection and responding to crime and unruliness. Mr Cameron expects the troublemakers to sort out, and sometimes fend off, the “28 or more different state services that come calling at the door” of problem families.

He wants them to reach a “clear hard-headed recognition” of where families are going wrong and not be “a string of well-meaning, disconnected officials who end up treating the symptoms and not the causes”.

Local Government Association chairman Sir Merrick Cockell said: “Improving lives for families and residents is at the heart of what councils do and closer working between public sector agencies like job centres, schools, police, probation officers and social services locally will get better results and cost less.

“It is great news that the money announced today will go to local areas to build on much excellent work already under way.

“We must ensure this support gets to where it is most needed and is not tied up in endless bureaucracy and form filling.

“We are pleased the Government recognised the need for all departments to work much more closely with councils at a local level.

“This is vital to help us overcome the historic hurdles which have stood in the way of the huge savings and greater local accountability this co-ordinated approach can deliver.”