Wandsworth success in turning round lives shared at national conference
Published: Wednesday 12th March 14
The success Wandsworth Council is having in turning round the lives of troubled families has been the focus of a national conference today (Wednesday).
Practioners from all over the country heard how the council has one of the best records in London when it comes to getting lives back on track.
Troubled families are defined as those who may be affected by any number of social problems including drink and/or drug addiction, domestic violence, educational underachievement, worklessness, poverty, child neglect, truancy, persistent criminality and anti-social behaviour.
Wandsworth Council’s approach is to create a ‘team around the family’, providing intensive multi-disciplinary support.
The team includes outreach workers, a mental health worker, domestic violence worker, health visitors and a substance misuse officer.
The conference, organised by Public Sector Connect and held at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre in Westminster today (Wednesday), also heard how the council is pushing the Government for greater freedoms and responsibilities so it can expand the scope of the work.
Cllr Ravi Govindia, Leader of Council, said: “While Wandsworth is a borough of great prosperity we also want it to be a borough where everybody has the chance to make the most of their life regardless of their background.
“Through our intensive work we are giving back respect and hope to families who have previously been written off a few years ago.
"Our work is breaking the inter-generational cycle of drink and drug abuse, criminality, anti-social behaviour and benefit dependency.”
Latest national figures reveal that just under 68 per cent of troubled families that the council is focusing its efforts on have successfully turned their lives around within one year. This is the highest ranked score in the capital.
In total, since the Government's flagship initiative was launched two years ago, 180 troubled families in Wandsworth have seen their lives put back on track, out of a total of 660 who are living in the borough.
The council is pressing the Government to be granted greater responsibility and powers so it can provide more support to long-term unemployed.
Cllr Govindia added: “Even with the limited resources at our disposal we are helping more people into employment. If the Government gave us greater funding and responsibility we could do so much more, expanding the Troubled Families approach to tackle wider social problems.”