No FIP flop: Success sees Family Intervention Projects increase in use

Article

24 March, 2010

The Government announced in March 2010 that there would be a further 88 Family Intervention Projects (FIP) across the country in addition to extra funding for local authorities to start or expand FIPs in their area. It is said that the new FIPs could help around 1,200 families each year and are funded by the Housing Challenge Fund which is part financed by social landlords.

What do FIPs do?

Originating from Dundee in 1995, FIPs are targeted at specific types of household, who have been involved in anti-social behaviour and been in contact with a range of organisations and bodies concerned with its prevention. They operate by bringing all of these agencies together and nominating a single 'key worker' for the family. This role co-ordinates and oversees the support offered and the input of each body, to work towards the same objective of rehabilitation.

How does a FIP work?

Normally, the family in question will agree a contract with the FIP which will state the expectations of all the parties and the support to be made available to achieve them. Arguably the most important factor is the use of sanctions which can ultimately lead to the ending of the project and the family's eviction from the property if sufficient progress is not made. For the families concerned, this risk can bring into real focus the significance of adhering to the FIP's terms.

There are three major types of FIP; Residential work, Dispersed Tenancies and Outreach work. It should be noted that not all local FIPs will use all of these forms or may indeed operate a mixture. It may be beneficial for interested parties to be aware of the categories used in their area.

Although each has seen its own success, the dispersed tenancy and residential provision arguably have the advantage of removing the family from their tenancy, which can provide relief to aggrieved neighbours and break the links that have helped to ensure these individuals continue acting anti-socially. Despite their potential for success, FIPs can become particularly expensive with costs ranging from around £6,000 for Outreach options, to up to £15,000 per family for Residential work.

Initial FIP Results

Research, which was published in November 2009 by the Department for Children, Schools and Families, indicated that FIPs have had a lasting impact upon participating families since 2007. The findings showed a:

  • 66% increase in families who are no longer involved in anti social behaviour;
  • 68% reduction in families facing housing enforcement action;
  • 55% reduction in families where truancy, exclusion and bad behaviour at school are issues for the children;
  • 47% reduction in the number of families with drugs and alcohol problems; and
  • 41% reduction in the number of families in debt.
Summary

Statistics appear to show that FIPs have had a successful since their nationwide launch. It is a practicable tool which can be used by local authorities and social landlords (through referrals) to help assist families who are involved in anti social behaviour. The aim for the new FIPs is to continue this promising start.

For more information and assistance on these issues, please contact the Housing Department at Forbes Solicitors on 01772 220200 or contact Stuart Penswick by email.

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