I understand that following a meeting in Downing Street this morning, Eric Pickles, the
Communities and Local Government Secretary, has been put in charge of dealing with Britain’s 120,000 "problem families". In the aftermath of the riots, David Cameron promised to put all
of these families through some a family-intervention programme by the time of the next election. This policy, though, was bogged down in the bureaucracy as it cut across so many different
Pickles’ department will now have sole responsibility for this commitment. It will receive extra budget, with the money coming from education and work and pensions, and staff to deal with this.
As I revealed in The Spectator this morning, Louise Casey – Tony Blair’s former respect czar – has been conducting a review into the effectiveness of government family policy. She will
now be working with Pickles on the implementation of this policy.
Cameron’s willingness to put one Secretary of State in direct charge of this agenda is an encouraging sign that he is now prepared to deal with the bureaucratic obstacles to implementing his
post-riots policies. But the decision not to transfer control of the government’s dealings with these families to Iain Duncan Smith, who was keen to take it on, will be seen as further evidence
that the Liberal Democrats remain wary of Duncan Smith’s social conservatism.