Louise Casey to leave government

Civil servant who led Troubled Families programme to leave Whitehall to take up roles in voluntary sector and academia

By Richard Johnstone

24 Apr 2017

Dame Louise Casey, the senior civil servant who led initiatives across government including the Troubled Families Programme and schemes to tackle anti-social behaviour, is to leave government later this year.

The Department for Communities and Local Government announced Casey has decided to leave government in the summer to take up new opportunities in the voluntary sector and academia.

Casey joined the civil service in 1999 from housing charity Shelter in a role to tackle homelessness. Since then she has served under four prime ministers, with her most high-profile role taking the helm of the controversial Troubled Families programme since 2012. 

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Under the original scheme, councils were paid up to £4,000 for identifying and turning round the lives of 120,000 families with entrenched social problems including unemployment, domestic abuse and truancy.

An evaluation carried out for the Department for Communities and Local Government by the National Institute of Economic and Social Research of the initial phase of the scheme, which ran from 2012 to 2015, was "unable to find consistent evidence that the programme had any significant or systematic impact".

The evaluation, initially expected to be published in 2014, was not made public until 2016. Casey insisted that she had not asked DCLG to sit on the report and insisted "no one" would dispute "the fact that 116,000 [families] had problems and now have less of those problems".

The high-profile scheme has since been expanded to provide help for up to 400,000 disadvantaged families by 2020, although it is considering a move away form the payments-by-results model used in the original programme to incentivise councils to take part.

Casey’s most recent role in government was a review into social integration and opportunity in December 2016, and other posts she held in government included director of the Home Office’s Anti-Social Behaviour Unit and director general in the Home Office, heading up the Neighbourhood Crime and Justice Group. She also led an investigation into the governance of Rotherham council which found significant governance failings in the authority following a report into child sexual exploitation in the town. Following this, the Department for Communities and Local Government intervened to appoint commissioners to run the authority.

In a statement released on Friday, Casey said it had been “an incredible privilege to work at the heart of government on some of the most challenging and important areas of social policy including homelessness, poverty, protecting communities from crime and anti-social behaviour, child sexual exploitation, troubled families and social integration and exclusion”.

She added: “I would like to thank everybody who I have worked with in this time for what we have achieved together in helping those less fortunate than ourselves. I wish all those that I have had the pleasure to serve and work with over the last 18 years the very best wishes for all their future work.

“While I am leaving the civil service, I am not leaving public service and will be pursuing a number of issues close to my heart.”

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