‘Shameless’ families: Do they get enough help?

The cast of Shameless. A scheme to tackle such families has yet to 'turn around' any in the county
The cast of Shameless. A scheme to tackle such families has yet to 'turn around' any in the county

The Government says a scheme which aims to tackle nuisance families, including 1,200 in Northamptonshire, has been a success.

The announcement from Communities Secretary Eric Pickles comes despite figures showing none of the families in our county have yet been assisted to change their anti-social behaviour.

The “neighbours from hell” include those responsible for youth crime, anti-social behaviour and truancy.

They are estimated to cost the public sector £75,000 a year each.

It means the total cost to the taxpayer of troubled families in our county is estimated to be £90m.

Council figures show there are 110 such families which have so far been identified within the borough of Kettering, 109 in Corby, 96 in Wellingborough and 67 in East Northants.

But despite no positive outcomes in the county to date, the council says it is on course to meet the Government target.

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A spokesman pointed out Northamptonshire had identified more than two-thirds of the families it has been asked to work with, the second highest proportion in the East Midlands.

And the council has also already worked with more than a quarter of those families, again among the best records in the region.

A spokesman said the fact no families had yet been turned around was not a matter of concern, as each authority had different approaches to tackling the problem.

He added: “In Northamptonshire, the council has been leading on identifying which families would benefit most from participating in the initiative.

“We are on target to deliver within the agreed timescales.

“Up to this point, we have been working with partner organisations to collect the data that allows us to identify which families would be eligible for support.”

Police and crime commissioner Adam Simmonds has already announced he is a big supporter of the initiative, saying: “It’s that longer term impact, children being born into families that are in crisis right now.”

Mr Simmonds said prevention was better than cure, adding: “All these things have knock-on effects. I would rather step in in the first place.”

Higham Ferrers resident Diane Clarke said she thought the problem was passed down from generation to generation, adding: “I have seen and heard of these sink estates first hand. They should be helped.”