Where is the love, Eric?

where is the love

A recent speech by Eric Pickles to the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners has just been uploaded onto the DCLG Troubled Families website. In the speech, Pickles talks about the need for more integrated, joined up working across public services, including the police. He mentions the Troubled Families Programme as an example of how this joined up approach can work. Below is the text of what he said about ‘troubled families’ with my emphases added:

And the final example of this more collaborative, preventative approach is the troubled families programme: sorting out the households who’ve got multiple problems who cause massive problems for their communities and who cost the public purse £9 billion a year.

We asked councils to identify these families, but they’ve often been known to the police for years with crime escalating from truancy to shoplifting to criminal damage, often mixed in with chronic worklessness, poor literacy, mental health problems, drug use, truancy – the list goes on and on and the cycle starts again with the next generation.  In Oldham, a single troubled family was responsible for nearly 100 call outs over a year.

We cannot keep throwing billions of pounds to contain the chaos these families cause so instead we are taking an assertive, intensive approach which is already turning families around.

And the challenging, authoritative voice of the police is crucial. Some of the most successful family intervention projects are those where the police are heavily involved. Because sometimes it’s only when a family is truly confronted with consequences – whether that’s the threat of eviction, of having kids taken into care, or criminal proceedings – that they start taking things seriously.

It’s an approach which involves tough love: workers who are sensitive and supportive when that’s needed but are also prepared to say enough is enough.

So, my question is, where is the love, Eric? I can’t see any…..


One thought on “Where is the love, Eric?

  1. You cannot simple threaten parents of taking children into care – there has to be grounds based on the risk of significant harm. The law says that under section 31 of the Children Act 1989 ‘if there is concern that the child concerned is suffering or is likely to suffer Significant Harm attributable to the care being given to the child, or likely to be given if an Order were not made, not being what it would be reasonable to expect a parent to give, or the child being beyond parental control’. If parents object to any threat the authorites have to consider the Public Law Outline PLO. The PLO aim is to focus on the key issues for the child, with the aim of making the best decisions for the child within the timetable set by the Court, and avoiding the need for unnecessary evidence or hearings. Most social workers now are aware of the looming 26 week deadine for care cases to be completed and will not trigger a care proceeding case lightly as all the evidence has to be frontloaded and very well prepared. Pickles is pandering to his right wing audience rather than focusing on the needs or the actual risks of children in these circumstances.

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