This difference may be because more individuals on the programme were in employment, although this was not supported by the results from the employment model in the same period (i.e. they were not picked up in the P45 data, although as discussed there are known issues about the P45 data). There is also the possibility that these individuals are moving onto Universal Credit, although the modelling work has attempted to control for this (by only including areas with low levels of Universal Credit roll-out). Further analysis is required to understand what is driving this finding. The case study work by Ipsos MORI found that keyworkers and TroubledFamilies’ Employment Advisers often agreed to focus on parents’ additional issues (such as mental health problems, substance misuse and/or domestic abuse), as well as on building confidence before helping people move into work. This may provide an explanation for why the programme has not yet had a discernible impact on benefit claims or employment.
systems to support effective data sharing. Changes in these areas were reported as time- intensive and costly to implement. Practical arrangements like working patterns between different professions were also a barrier to holding multi-disciplinary meetings. The case study research reports challenges in engaging some colleagues from health and children’s social care. Some collaboration was noted to be dependent on individual relationships rather than embedded between organisations. Academy schools were consistently reported to be more challenging to engage than local authority-maintained schools. Adult and children’s mental health issues were a key problem for families on the programme and further input from mental health services was desired. Eighty-nine per cent of keyworkers identified waiting lists for specialist health teams (e.g. Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services CAMHS) as the top barrier to effective partnership working. This is a consistent message for the past few years and has been reported in case study research as well as staff survey results. Capacity was also seen as a barrier to working together with mental health including Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) and social care teams considered to be particularly stretched. Sixty-eight per cent of TroubledFamilies Coordinators mentioned capacity problems in core services such as schools, health, police and children’s social care as a barrier to delivery.
programme at a later point in time, there was a reduction in the percentage of adults who committed an offence which resulted in a community sentence between seven and 12 months after starting on the programme, but this may have been due to ‘outcomes’ for the comparison group being observed closer to the date when they actually started on the programme and therefore at a point when their circumstances were deteriorating. This contrasted with the programme being associated with an increase in cautions or convictions between seven and 12 months after programme start with two of the four matching estimators and for families that received an intensive version of the programme. However, the fact that this apparent negative impact from the programme disappeared when outcomes were considered over a longer period of time suggests that it was due to outcomes being observed when the intervention was still taking effect, rather than because the programme increased adult offending. The waiting list analysis also found that the programme had no impact on adult offending. Overall, the analysis provided no consistent evidence of an impact, positive or negative.
It is possible that in some cases the findings may be subject to measurement error. However, as long as the prevalence of missing or incomplete data is random and/or does not differ systematically between the treated and control groups, the conclusions will remain unbiased. None of the available evidence suggests that such systematic differences exist, and the possibility of significant bias therefore appears unlikely. The process evaluation found that some local authorities had started to roll out ‘whole family’ working on a larger scale for families with lower levels of need across the wider workforce – particularly with those services who historically may not have worked in this way (White and Day, 2016). Although these families were not directly receiving the intervention through the Programme, there is a small risk that this led to the impacts being underestimated, if these families had improved outcomes as a result and were represented within the comparison group for the evaluation. This does not, however, provide a suitable explanation for the impact results for the higher intensity families, where differences between the intervention provided within the programme and business as usual remained more distinct. In addition, the roll-out does not seem to have been sufficiently widespread to explain why the outcomes for the matched comparison group were so close to the outcomes for the TroubledFamilies group.
Evaluative studies of the TFP (and FIPs before them) have provided qualitative and quantitative evidence on the prevalence of family problems (usually in the 12 month period) before and at the point of referral, including levels of service contact (e.g. Day et al., 2016; White et al., 2008). Further, there is now a large and growing body of work that has sought to critically examine the role of the TFP in supporting multiply disadvantaged families (Crossley, 2018; Davies et al., 2015; Hayden and Jenkins, 2014; Parr, 2011). Within these studies, there has been some attempts to understand multiple adversities from the accounts of families (Wills et al., 2017; Bond-Taylor, 2016; Bunting et al., 2015); better understand families multiple needs (Boddy et al., 2016); as well as their experiences of multiple service use (Morris, 2013). However, to date, our understanding of the complex realities of families’ lives including their contact and relationships with state agencies and interventions and, in turn, the nature of their support needs has been limited (Jupp, 2017). Indeed, the large majority of scholarly work on 'the family' has tended to focus on 'ordinary' families and, by contrast, there is limited research that focuses on those that are highly vulnerable (Morris, 2013; Wilson et al., 2012). This article provides important quantitative evidence to this emergent and necessary area of research focusing in particular on social care involvement. While the nationalevaluation of the second phase of the TFP (MHCLG, 2018) is one of the few studies that has collected data about child safeguarding problems in families referred to the TFP, the data reported in this article goes much further. In what follows, we present findings from a study that interrogated CSC data in considerably more depth looking not just at the number of families that have had involvement with CSC and the nature of that involvement but charting the number of referrals for each family. It presents a detailed examination of the histories and extent of families' social work involvement, and in so doing gives a unique insight into the needs of the most disadvantaged families.
It must be noted that the outputs from the Handyperson Financial Benefits Toolkit are highly sensitive to changes in the assumptions. A conservative approach was used in relation to the evidence base and working assumptions used in the Toolkit. For example, there are a number of studies that demonstrate the effectiveness of various small repairs in preventing falls, ranging from a reduction of 32 per cent to 66 per cent. The Toolkit uses the lower of these figures to calculate how many fewer falls should result from this type of intervention. But if the impact of the falls prevention activities, rather than just being included in small repairs and minor adaptations, were given a higher weighting in the Toolkit, so that the reduction in incidence of falls was increased from 32 per cent to 40 per cent for the 10 per cent of people at risk from falls, then the gross benefits would be increased to £66,317 (outweighing costs by 27 per cent), assuming the number of visits were 1.55 per client. The above analysis used the Handypersons Financial Benefits Toolkit to demonstrate retrospectively that the impact of the Part A element of DCLG Handyperson Programme funding and associated activity has been cost beneficial. It has also demonstrated that under the assumptions arising from the evaluationfindings, the benefits from the Part A funding of the handyperson services outweigh the costs.
International studies on student experiences in these settings are consistently positive, highlighting the impact that attending alternative schools can have on students’ peer relations, academic commitment and school performance (Lehr, 2004). The innovative pedagogies used in these settings aim to move away from failure and instead create a cycle of success which will then motivate young people to engage in school and continue in education (Nouwen et al., 2016). Many of these studies stress the importance of students’ sense of school membership or belonging in a school and their perceptions of support in establishing a positive relationship with school (Edgar-Smith and Baugher Palmer, 2015). One Scottish study used qualitative data with students in alternative education and their families and national-level data on student outcomes (McCluskey et al., 2015). The findings show that student opinion of the alternative education is ‘overwhelmingly positive’ with students often feeling ‘welcome’, ‘valued’ and ‘proud of their successes’ (p. 604). These findings were, however, in sharp contrast to national- level data which highlighted the poor outcomes for these students and the variability in leadership and management across different alternative education providers. The authors conclude with the suggestion that the young people’s views of alternative education are ‘too partial’ and are a ‘sad consequence of the extremely poor experience they have endured previously in mainstream schools, often involving exclusion’ (p. 605).
Phase one of TFP (until March 2015) paid local authorities a fee for every family that signed-up and an additional higher fee on a payment-by-result basis for ‘turning around’ the lives of participating families. A family is considered to be ‘officially’ ‘turned around’ when all children in the family have had less than three exclusions from school, less than 15% unauthorised school absences in the last three terms and a 60% reduction in anti-social behaviour across the whole family (Wintour 2013). Phase two of the TFP (to run until 2020) focuses on the 51 best performing areas to be followed by a national 5-year program. The new phase of the program aims to particularly focus on poor health as, according to government data, 71% of the troubledfamilies have physical and 46% mental health concerns, while retaining its emphasis on, among other things, tackling anti-social behaviour and getting parents into employment (DCLG, 2014). The actual effects resulting in this change of policy focus are not clear to date.
Efforts to conduct a more rigorous analysis of family outcomes are ongoing as the evaluation establishes a robust comparative group outside of the Programme. By March 2019, comparative data indicated that the Programme had reduced the number of Looked After Children, as well as the number of custodial sentences and convictions. However, in areas such as employment, Children in Need, health, and school attendance, evidence was either mixed, showed little change, or had not yet been possible to analyse. The 2019 cost-benefit analysis suggested that the Programme had resulted in economic and fiscal benefits to the taxpayer and wider society. These benefits had mainly been realised through reductions in the number of Children in Care and youth offending. Despite Ministers’ continued support of the Programme’s aims, it is unclear if it will be funded beyond 2020.
The intergenerational transmission of advantages and disadvantages is a further difficult issue to address in debates on social policy. The Right either ignores it as an inconvenient fact for narratives of social mobility and meritocracy, or selectively exaggerates it through references to a culture of poverty or alleged genetic inferiority or, more specifically, through claims that there are families that have not worked for three generations. Empirical research shows the latter not to be true, and that the typical pattern for the most disadvantaged families is to move in and out of work (Shildrick et al., 2012). In an eristic context, it can be difficult both to acknowledge that children are likely to take on the disadvantages of their parental context, and to counter politically motivated attempts to blame their parents’ approach to child-rearing. As Welshman shows, the history of social policy is littered with cases of folk beliefs about the poor that keep returning – usually in new guises – no matter how many times social research shows them not to be true (Welshman, 2006).
Social case work requires periodic evaluation so that the changes of the social situation of the client can be detected. The aim of the evaluation is to assess the obtained results and decide upon the further course of action, which all has to be done in cooperation with the respective client. The dynamics of client cooperation and changes in the client’s situation are likely to be under the scope of evaluation. In cases when the evaluation of cooperation dynamics between the client and social worker is assessed regularly, the same is applied to the analysis of factors fostering or hindering the cooperation, when systematic evaluation of the plan of intervention takes place, and new targets, tasks and activities are defined in case of necessity, the criterion is completed entirely and thus awarded with three points. However, if no cooperation dynamics between the client and social worker are evaluated, but there has been the evaluation from the side of social worker without defining exact methods applied, there is no assessment of the factors facilitating or hindering the cooperation, thus no new targets, tasks or activities are defined; this all leads to the criterion being completed only partially and thus it is awarded two points. If the evaluation equals the previous ones or there is no such evaluation performed, no clear process of cooperation is present, and there has not been any assessment of the dynamics of such cooperation, the criterion is not completed and is awarded zero points.
However, the case study presented in this article identifies a series of unresolved issues about responsibilities, resources, measuring (and valuing) incremental as well as transformative outcomes and how the increasingly complex landscape of public, private and voluntary/community provision and interactions may be negotiated by families and practitioners (Morris, 2013). The effects of localism and payment by results that are central to the TroubledFamiliesProgramme are yet to be determined, as are the impacts of the new Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014. The claims and counter-claims about the efficacy of the TroubledFamiliesProgramme and intensive family intervention models are the latest instalment in the historic failure to adequately utilise acquired learning. This is often masked by selective claims to the authority of evidence-based policy-making (Hayden and Jenkins, 2014; Van Wel, 1992; Welshman, 2012) within a politics of ASB that invokes fictional bias as a mechanism of power which has an inherent, but very problematic, relationship to knowledge and the claims of scientific evidence-based policy making.
A key issue identified in the evaluation was that the Doodle FamiliesProgramme was not delivered in the pilot schools as originally intended by CDI i.e., as an afterschool programme. The schools presented a clear rationale for same. Consequently, the researchers were only in a position to evaluate the programme as it was implemented by schools and report and analyse the findings as such. However, the findings from the evaluation indicate that the objectives of the Doodle Families Literacy Programme pilot have been met to some extent. Children, parents and facilitators enjoyed the experience of participating in Doodle Families and spoke positively about their experiences. The findings from the interviews and focus groups indicate that parents of children who participated in Doodle Den in Senior Infants believe that children’s literacy, cognitive and social and emotional skills improved as a result of the programme. Doodle Families was perceived as contributing to further enhancement of these skills in First Class. School staff in particular felt that Doodle Families contributed to the home learning environment in that parents and children appeared to be reading together at home and completing activities in their scrapbooks. One of the key benefits of the programme that parents and school staff highlighted was the opportunity for children and parents to spend dedicated time together engaging in fun literacy activities and the enhancement of the parent child relationship as a result of this. School staff also believed that the programme contributed to parents feeling more familiar and comfortable in the school environment. They also said that home school relationships had been enhanced through participation in the programme. Parents spoke of how their skills to help their children with their learning, particularly reading books, had developed. Finally, school staff spoke about how their capacity and skills to deliver parental engagement and family literacy programmes had advanced through this experience.
There are several regionally‐based services dedicated to supporting families affected by a relative’s involvement in the CJS, but the Offenders Families Helpline is the only service available to families across the whole of England and Wales. The volume of telephone calls and website hits (in 2013 this was 10,000 and 145,000 respectively) provides a clear indication that the Helpline is a much‐needed service, and this was further evidenced by the evaluation. Approximately 80% of family members surveyed thought that there were few alternative sources of information and emotional support for families. Interviewees also reported that they felt there was “nowhere else to turn”, and perceived the Helpline to be a unique source of support.
Structural factors are definitively dismissed (see Williams, 2012 for a critique), despite the body of empirical work on intensive interventions identifying their prominence. Similarly, the complexity of interactions and vulnerability are summarised as ‘many of the people we interviewed were just not very good at relationships’ (Casey, 2012: 48). The report highlights sexual and physical abuse; arson; a ‘majority’ of domestic abuse; incest and large numbers of children. It contrasts these families inability to ‘recover from and cope with’ episodes such as bereavement (Casey, 2012: 3), failing to cite evidence showing that ‘other families’ are ‘not completely derailed’ by bereavement’; and directly juxtaposes the case study families with ‘normal’ individuals (Casey, 2012: 50). Casey’s diagnosis confirms Bond-Taylor’s (2014, 153) identification of the politics of the TroubledFamiliesProgramme as manifested through a discourse of families as dysfunctional, inadequate, irresponsible and anti-social rather than disadvantaged, excluded and vulnerable. But, while Bond-Taylor (2014) also argues that the TroubledFamiliesProgramme demonstrates more continuity than divergence with New Labour the rhetorical construction of troubledfamilies actually needs to be placed within the longer historical pervasiveness of these representations.
4.7 The majority of those consulted suggested that the way in which NSP allocations are currently calculated could be improved by taking into account of the proportion of students that meet national eligibility criteria within individual institutions. However, allocating NSP funding based on eligible student numbers rather than total student numbers has implications for the match-funding element of the scheme and could serve to penalise those that successfully attract a large proportion of students from low income groups. As noted above, a revised allocation model will be
In May 2014, a report was published on the extension of personal responsibility under criminal law to cartels. The project prepared two independent academic studies assessing, from a national and international perspective, the prerequisites, viability, advantages and disadvantages of criminalisation. On the criminalisation of cartels, the report presented the legal justifications required by the criminal justice system and the legitimate need in terms of the effectiveness of the competition law system. In connection with the report, it was stated, however, that criminalisation might jeopardise the functioning of the leniency system guaranteed under competition law. The view of the Ministry of Employment and the Economy, which is responsible for competition law, is that reform projects jeopardis- ing leniency should not be carried forward. The effective functioning of the leniency sys- tem is vitally important in work related to the detection, investigation and sanctioning of cartels, which is one of the main priorities of competition policy. The report may be of use in the future assessment of the need and suitability of personal responsibility for Finland’s competition law and criminal justice system. For concrete further assessments, additional studies on safeguarding leniency and revising the area of application of rules imposing bans on business operations are needed.
(14) In spring 2015, the Government presented a proposal for reform of the pension system. The adequacy and sustainability of the pension system depend on reforms that incentivise and support longer working lives with fewer interruptions. In 2013, 1.2 million pensioners were found to be receiving pensions below the national poverty line. The key drivers behind low pension entitlements are early retirement and short contribution periods. The rapid ageing of Bulgarian society is likely to aggravate the situation in the future. It is therefore appropriate for Bulgaria to further contain growth in age-related expenditure to contribute to the long-term sustainability of public finances, including through implementation of robust pension reforms.
Where participants had identified problems, they felt that feedback had been taken on board and the programme delivery had been changed as a result. For instance, one respondent reported that their cohort had felt the first module to be rather low level and unchallenging. In response, the remainder of the course had been altered to reflect this. However, a number of potential improvements were also noted. These included strengthening of the coaching sessions and additional presentations by Chief Executives from highly rated authorities, to offer more opportunity to learn from success. The opportunities for networking and development after participation was also mentioned in this regard. Another participant felt the treatment of ‘urban politics’ was overly simplistic and could have been improved. Finally, there was some discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of more cohort matching – for instance ensuring that a cohort has similar backgrounds (e.g. all Districts etc) and tailoring the programme content to their likely needs. While some felt that such tailoring would be beneficial, this may also constrain the potential for learning from others that arises from the wider cohort of participants from a variety of backgrounds and authorities. Impact