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Addressing the needs of troubled families in Barnsley

Posted: 14 July 2014

On 10th July, Communities Secretary, The Rt Hon Eric Pickles MP praised councils for turning around the lives of almost 53,000 troubled families in a little over 2 years.

graffiti The Department for Communities and Local Government launched the Troubled Families programme in 2012. The programme is based on identification of troubled families within local authorities, targeting key issues including anti-social behaviour; worklessness; and school absenteeism. Where a council identifies a troubled family, according to a series of indicators, the government provides financial input for care workers and other targeted support. If the council could then demonstrate improvements for the families over time, the government provides further funding.
In Barnsley, the council didn't have a single system that provided a common view of families across the borough. The various data sources which would help identify troubled families were disparately stored and not easily compared with one another. This meant that without bringing data together, identifying possible families who would benefit from the targeted support was difficult.
Under a long running programme of work co-ordinated by GeoPlace, Barnsley have been rationalising their property address information using a framework of uniquely identified individual properties. Taking advantage of this work, Barnsley decided that creating a property level view of troubled families would be a beneficial way of bringing information together from disparate systems to identify who may be in need of support.
Utilising the Unique Property Reference Number (UPRN) held for every address within Barnsley, the council was able to link together eight different datasets, including Education and Benefits systems, to a property address to evaluate whether individual records met the programme criteria. The outcome was a database which could be used to interrogate the various data sources at property level to build up a more detailed picture of families in Barnsley and provide support to those in need.
The address data held by councils such as Barnsley is provided under contract to GeoPlace and placed into the National Address Gazetteer. Ordnance Survey uses this data to create the AddressBase® range of products and make them available to the whole of the public sector. This means that the public sector uses one definitive list of addresses to join up information for service improvement, efficiency and delivery. The work in Barnsley is one example of local use of the data.
Department of Communities and Local Government
53,000 troubled families' lives turned around - www.gov.uk/government/news/53000-troubled-families-lives-turned-around
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