The London Borough of Westminster is to introduce teams to tackle its 600 problem families.
Council leader Sir Simon Milton announced Westminter’s plans to introduce three family assessment teams in his annual speech last week.
For the first time, the teams will develop formal strategies with all the statutory and voluntary agencies dealing with families identified as being at high risk of social exclusion, including those involved in crime, antisocial behaviour and substance misuse. These families account for 3% of the council’s population.
The council is adopting a “carrot and stick” approach, said Conservative councillor Angela Harvey. “We will give them support to help them change their behaviour by building skills and raising aspirations and if they don’t they may face sanctions such as eviction.”
She said the council had recognised that individual interventions were not helping the families and that a formal action plan for each family agreed between all the agencies involved, including social services, police and neighborhood managers, was needed.
The first of the three teams, led by children’s services, is expected to be established by the beginning of 2009. Harvey said she expected other councils to be “watching [the scheme] with interest”.