Life-changing programme helps 870 complex families turn their lives round

A life-changing programme to support families in Somerset has successfully helped 870 households with the most complex issues turn their lives round.

The Troubled Families programme has been delivered by a partnership of Somerset County Council and the five District Councils and helps families in a number of ways.

These range from encouraging children back to school, finding employment or a pathway back to work for adults, and reducing youth crime and anti-social behaviour across the whole household.

Studies show that families in the programme have an average of nine serious problems each, including debt, drugs, domestic violence and health issues.

The programme is now being expanded nationally and in Somerset will be aiming to reach a further 2,970 families. Support is being delivered through the ‘getset’ Service which provides Early Help.

Cllr Frances Nicholson, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Families, said: “I would like to congratulate our dedicated Troubled Families team and thank the District Councils for all their hard work in helping transform the lives of so many vulnerable families.

“I’m delighted we will be expanding the programme to reach even more families in the future. What is clear from the success of the programme so far is that no one is beyond help.”

In March, the then Communities Secretary Eric Pickles announced that the Troubled Families programme would be expanded nationally and he praised the role of local councils. It is estimated that the national programme has saved taxpayers around £12bn through the investment of £4.8m by reducing the burden on public services.


The Troubled Families programme applies to England only. Local authorities are paid up to £4,000 on a payment-by-results basis for turning around troubled families.

Troubled families are defined as those who:

  • are involved in youth crime or anti-social behaviour
  • have children who are excluded from school or regularly truanting
  • have an adult on out-of-work benefits
  • cost the public sector large sums in responding to their problems

‘Turned around’ means that:

  • All children have been back in school for a year when they were previously truant or excluded;
  • And youth crime and anti-social behaviour has been significantly cut across the whole family;
  • or an adult in the home has moved off benefits and into work for three consecutive months or more.