Northamptonshire County Council

Spring 2015

The challenge

The Troubled Families Programme was a scheme, headed up by Dame Louise Casey, aimed at helping 120,000 troubled families across the country to turn their lives around. Run over three years, the programme was a central part of the government’s response to the 2011 London Riots, and focused on intense, one-on-one support for struggling families. We were asked by Northamptonshire County Council to gather qualitative insight which would help evaluate at a local level their part of the programme.

How we approached it

We did qualitative, in-depth interviews with families who’d been on the scheme in Northamptonshire. We used the Appreciative Enquiry model of gathering insight, to help us explore each family’s set of issues from the inside out. The project required a great deal of sensitivity, and we focused on at home visits in familiar setting, so as to build confidence among respondents.

What happened

The findings were evaluated against the Troubled Families’ programme’s five metrics. We cross-referenced findings against structural factors like service pathways. The findings supported some of the key aspects of the Troubled Families methodology, such as the importance of the relationship with a main facilitator. It also showed success on Northampton’s part across the metrics. We also suggested a number of improvements for moving the programme forward, including an extra focus on interaction with other services, like mental health.