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Innovative help to tackle 'neighbours from hell'

Innovative help to tackle 'neighbours from hell'

HOME OFFICE News Release (073/2007) issued by The Government News Network on 11 April 2007

Local communities who are plagued by significant anti-social behaviour from a small number of the country's most badly behaved families will today be given a helping hand as the Government delivers on its promise to establish a network of 53 Family Intervention Projects (FIPs) that will troubleshoot around 1,500 families a year across England.

Currently, problem families can disrupt the quality of life of whole communities and make the lives of residents around them miserable. They also put themselves at risk of losing their home, their children at risk of being taken into care if it's in their best interest or having enforcement action such as anti-social behaviour orders taken against them.

Family Intervention Projects work hard with families to stop this happening by challenging and helping them to change their behaviour.

These families have and create multiple problems and the way public services intervene currently is not always the most effective. For example the cost to the taxpayer can be between £250,000 and £350,000* per family per year for a range of interventions by public services including social, children's and housing services, policing, court services, criminal justice agencies and others. Family Intervention Projects provide a single key worker to 'grip' the family and challenge the root causes of their behaviour by giving intensive support but sanctions if rules are broken.

Louise Casey, the Government's coordinator for Respect said:

"I am delighted that today we can announce that there are 53 Family Intervention Projects across the country to work with the most difficult and anti-social families. These families can cause untold misery to those who have to live alongside them and destroy entire neighbourhoods with their frightening and disruptive behaviour.

"These projects, a flagship part of the Respect Programme, grip families and use enforcement action and intensive help, and are proven to turn families around. These are families that in the past may have been written off by agencies as 'lost causes' - but now will be offered the right help and incentives to become decent members of their community and give their children the opportunity to grow up with a chance in life."

Family Intervention Projects, a key commitment in the Respect Action Plan launched last year, offer impressive results. For more than 85 per cent of families, complaints about anti-social behaviour ceased or reduced and in 92 per cent of cases the risk to local communities was assessed as having either reduced or ceased completely by the time the families completed the programmes*.

Clare Tickell, Chief Executive of children's charity NCH, said:

"Families who are behaving anti-socially often have incredibly complex problems, problems that can have a ripple effect on an entire community. It makes sense that if you help the families, you'll help the community.

"Getting to the root of the problem can change behaviour forever - not only giving children in these families better health, education and well being but improving the lives of the whole community."

Different levels of intervention may be used at different times as circumstances and behaviour changes. At the most intensive level, families who require supervision and support on a 24-hour basis stay in a residential unit.

The Department for Education and Skills (DfES) is providing funding to train up to 1,000 project workers to deliver parenting programmes and one-to-one support in Family Intervention Projects.


1. The 53 Family Intervention Projects are in:

Area            Type of FIP
      Barnsley        Managed properties and outreach services
      Birmingham      Managed properties and outreach services
      Blackburn       Managed properties and outreach services
      Blackpool       Managed properties and outreach services
      Bolton          Residential core unit, managed properties and
                      outreach services
      Bournemouth     Managed properties and outreach services
      Bradford        Managed properties and outreach services
      Brighton        Managed properties and outreach services
      Bristol         Managed properties, outreach services and scoping a
                      residential core unit
      Burnley         Managed properties, outreach services and scoping a
                      residential core unit
      Camden          Managed properties and outreach services
      Coventry        Managed properties, outreach services and scoping a
                      residential core unit
      Darlington      Managed properties and outreach services
      Derby           Residential core unit, managed properties and
                      outreach services
      Doncaster       Managed properties and outreach services
      Exeter          Managed properties and outreach services
      Gloucester      Managed properties and outreach services
      Hackney         Managed properties and outreach services
      Harlow          Managed properties and outreach services
      Hartlepool      Managed properties and outreach services
      Hastings        Managed properties, outreach services and scoping a
                      residential core unit
      Ipswich         Managed properties and outreach services
      Kingston Upon   Managed properties and outreach services Hull
      Kirklees        Managed properties and outreach services
      Knowsley        Managed properties and outreach services
      Lambeth         Managed properties and outreach services
      Leeds           Managed properties and outreach services
      Leicester       Managed properties and outreach services
      Liverpool       Managed properties and outreach services
      Manchester      Residential core unit, managed properties and
                      outreach services
      Mansfield       Managed properties and outreach services
      Middlesbrough   Residential core unit, managed properties and
                      outreach services
      Newcastle upon  Managed properties and outreach services Tyne
      Newham          Managed properties, outreach services and scoping a
                      residential core unit
      Norwich         Managed properties and outreach services
      Nottingham      Managed properties, outreach services and scoping a
                      residential core unit
      Oldham          Managed properties and outreach services
      Plymouth        Managed properties and outreach services
      Portsmouth      Managed properties and outreach services
      Rochdale        Managed properties and outreach services
      Salford         Managed properties, outreach services and scoping a
                      residential core unit
      Sandwell        Managed properties and outreach services
      Sheffield       Residential core unit, managed properties and
                      outreach services
      South Tyneside  Managed properties and outreach services
      Southampton     Managed properties and outreach services
      Southend-on-Sea Managed properties, outreach services and scoping a
                      residential core unit
      Southwark       Managed properties and outreach services
      Stoke           Managed properties and outreach services
      Sunderland      Managed properties and outreach services
      Tower Hamlets   Managed properties and outreach services
      Wakefield       Residential core unit, managed properties and
                      outreach services
      Westminster     Managed properties and outreach services
      Wirral          Residential core unit, managed properties and
                      outreach services 

2. *Communities and Local Government (2006) 'Anti-social Behaviour Intensive Family Support Projects: An evaluation of six pioneering projects'. Department for Communities and Local Government: London

3. The Respect Action Plan, published in January 2006, detailed a commitment to establishing a national network of projects to work with the most challenging problem families by April 2007. An evaluation has been commissioned to assess the new national network of Family Intervention Projects and will report at the end of 2007.

4. The Government is providing approximately £15 million funding over two years to kick-start these projects (with £13 million of this coming from the Respect Task Force). Additionally, training in evidence based parenting programmes for practitioners in the FIP areas worth up to £3 million is being funded by the DfES.

5. Average project costs range from around £8,000 per family for those receiving outreach help in their homes or living in managed properties to around £15,000 for services providing more intensive services (in a residential core unit). Government is contributing about £5,000 per family of this through funding under the Respect programme. (This excludes resources available to local authorities through mainstream funding such as Supporting People, neighbourhood renewal and other local authority revenue streams.)

6. There are three distinct levels of interventions which are used according to the family's needs and the impact of their behaviour on the community. Different levels of intervention may be used at different times as circumstances and behaviour changes.

7. Most projects provide an outreach service for families who are responsible for anti-social behaviour in their home, and who are at risk of being evicted. Services can also be provided in units managed by the family intervention project but dispersed in the community.

8. At the most intensive level, families who require supervision and support on a 24 hour basis stay in a core residential unit. Upon satisfactory completion of a programme, the family can move into a dispersed unit. While projects vary in the level of service they can provide, they share key features which are what distinguishes these projects.

9. Sheffield Hallam University conducted an evaluation of six family support projects in the North West of England. Its study found:

* an 85 per cent reduction in complaints about anti-social behaviour;
* a 36 per cent improvement in school attendance; and
* an 80 per cent reduction in the risk of homelessness.

10. For more information on the Respect programme visit http://www.respect.gov.uk

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