Troubled Families Evaluation and Policy Team

Troubled Families Evaluation and Policy Team

The Troubled Families programme is one of the biggest social policy programmes in government. It is a £920 million programme, run across England in 149 upper-tier local authority areas and provides services to 400,000 families with multiple high-cost problems including worklessness, domestic abuse and ill health, amongst others.

This nomination highlights the impact evaluation undertaken this year, recognised as “one of the most complex ever attempted in social policy” and a “landmark study in terms of its methodological sophistication”. Impact evaluations such as this aren’t that common. A National Audit Office study reviewed 6,000 analytical reports by government and found only 5% were impact evaluations. Of these, only 2% were assessed as being of good quality, including a counterfactual or comparison group, and only 1% included a cost-benefit assessment.

The team was given a project brief to include all areas running the programme, an impact evaluation and cost-benefit analysis, and a counterfactual. As with all research projects, all of this had to be done within a very limited budget. The pioneering evaluation work undertaken by the team demonstrates that Government analysts can produce work just as high quality as other organisations and has demonstrated the success of this transformational programme.