Families and households

Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has now released details of the new ESF provision specifically targeted at families with multiple problems experiencing worklessness. Provision is expected to start from the end of 2011 for family focused work to be delivered through the prime and sub contractor’ model in close association with local authorities. £200 million will be invested in this new departure for ESF, said Chris Grayling, Minister of State for Employment at the Welfare to Work Convention 2011. ESF-Works will be carrying further essential information and resources in support of the call.

Adopting an approach which looks to work with families and households as integrated, complex units is not currently widespread, but existing ESF projects already offer examples of the issues which are likely to arise, and the methods which form part of the response, including:

  • working through landlords
  • direct methods of outreach
  • options related to circumstances.

As this new policy priority for ESF is being designed and rolled out, ESF-Works is supporting the process by highlighting existing experience – from within ESF and elsewhere – and also bringing together providers, practitioners, researchers and policy makers to debate the issues and share good practice.

Within the European Union (EU), the UK has the highest proportion of children living in households where no one works. This is one of many challenging statistics pointed out in 2010’s Cabinet Office State of the Nation report, the document which identifies the key welfare and unemployment challenges that the Government is seeking to tackle. Over the years, ESF has recognised that 'participants' do not exist in isolation, and that people’s home circumstances influence not only the practical feasibility of working, but also their core attitudes, experiences and role models.