Charities and private firms to be paid £15,000 to turn around each 'Shameless' family

Private firms and charities are to be paid bounties of up to £15,000 a time to lead a crackdown on Britain’s 120,000 ‘Shameless’ families, ministers will announce today.

In a major experiment in a system of ‘payment by results’ – which ministers hope to use as a model across the public sector – up to £200million will be paid to private and voluntary sector organisations.

But it will depend on their success over a three-year period in tackling a hardcore of troublemaking, workless households dubbed Shameless families after the dysfunctional Gallagher clan in the Channel 4 drama series.

Not funny: 'Shameless' families like the one in the Channel 4 television drama (pictured) cost the taxpayer £8billion a year

Providers will be paid in three stages – when they have made a member of a troublemaking family sign up to a personal action plan, when the plan is completed, and finally when the individual has moved into employment. In total, a three-year contract will be worth up to £15,000 per family.

The scheme will be targeted at families that make up just one per cent of the population, but cost taxpayers an astonishing £8billion a year.

Using payment by results is seen  by senior Coalition figures as the  biggest experiment in public service reform since David Cameron came to power. They say it should form the  basis for further changes in areas such  as prison rehabilitation, drug offending and health policy.

Benefits dependency: In some inner city areas, three generations of the same family are out of work

Such a model is already being used in the Coalition’s welfare-to-work scheme, the Work Programme, in which organisations are paid depending on their success in getting the jobless back into employment and keeping them there over 18 months.

Employment minister Chris Grayling said: ‘This will be a big part of the work we do to tackle the challenge of troubled families. The organisations taking part in this programme are staking their own money on their ability to turn the lives of these people around.

Challenge: Employment Minister Chris Grayling

‘This is our second big payment-by-results project, and demonstrates clearly that there is a real commitment out there to deliver social change and to help people do much better with their lives.’

The Coalition says Labour’s welfare legacy means there are many parts of Britain where three generations of families have never worked and live a life funded by state benefits.

Some neighbourhoods, particularly in inner cities and on large estates, are so blighted by long-term unemployment that no one on a street has a job and children never see anyone getting up and going to work.

Currently as many as 20 different arms of the state, including police, social services and health agencies, are involved in dealing with the families. Now they will be dealt with by a mix of public, private and voluntary sector organisations, with the majority of the work being delivered on the ground by local charitable groups.

Using funding allocated to the UK from the European Social Fund, ministers have appointed eight of the country’s leading welfare-to-work providers to work with local authorities and more than 200 local organisations.

They will tailor help to individuals, but it is expected to include support  for parenting and working with schools to crack down on truancy, debt and money management, steps to address alcohol or drug abuse, working  with health agencies, CV writing,  job preparation, timekeeping and  problem solving.

Companies signed up to run the schemes are Working Links, The Wise Group, G4S Care and Justice Service, Reed in Partnership, Skill Training UK, PARAGON Concord International, EOS and Twin Training International Ltd.

Labour admitted that a minority of ‘Shameless’ families were causing the majority of crime and anti-social behaviour, and using up a disproportionate amount of resources in welfare benefits and state intervention.

In power, Labour gave small numbers of families intensive supervision, including monitoring of children’s attendance at school, curfews on late-night visits, and requirements to undergo drug or alcohol dependence treatment, with evidence of significant falls in anti-social behaviour.