Troubled Families is not the Holy Grail

By Dan Corry | 02 April 2019
  • Dan Corry

Most of us want to know that the projects we work on produce the outcomes we set out to achieve, and that they get them in a cost effective way. This is why evaluation is so important, but I think most of us also recognise evaluation of the kind of work many of us do, especially large social programmes, is extremely difficult. So I am pleased to see the recent publication of the quite intensive evaluation of the Troubled Families programme.

Before we get into the results, it’s clear it is an ambitious evaluation in itself. There have been some impressive efforts to link administrative data sets from the Ministry of Justice, the Department for Work and Pensions, and the Department for Education (although there still appear to be problems with getting the Department of Health and Social Care to play ball), to try to really understand the impact of the programme. This is a shining example to other evaluations and proof the public sector can do great things when it chooses not to hide behind technical issues or problems of privacy and so on.

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Budgets and efficiency Childrens services Social Care Troubled families