This is not the Orwell you’re looking for

Via Mefi: The Daily Express reports on a UK Government Announcement to expand the use of Family Intervention Projects. However, the Daily Express exaggerates the report somewhat, the article stating (apparently wildly incorrectly) that the UK Government “plans to put 20,000 problem families under 24-hour CCTV supervision in their own homes”. Other reports in the UK press make no mention of CCTV. Nonetheless, the alarmist Express article is widely picked up and discussed on the internet, pushing many people past 10 on the Orwellometer. Then Mefite FfejL uses Twitter to ask Ed Balls, the minister responsible, if the CCTV aspect of the Express article is accurate.

See also the original government accouncement and descriptions of Family Intervention Projects, which are already running in many parts of the UK.

Apparently, in very extreme cases families may be moved from their (often state funded) homes to ‘core residential units’ for 24 hour support and supervision, but this is very different from the Express report of the government planning to put “20,000 problem families under 24-hour CCTV supervision”

For an example of the situations the initiative is supposed to tackle, “The Addison family case study” in this PDF is interesting reading:

No, Jeff, it is complete nonsense is Ed Balls’ reply.

Numerous agencies were trying to engage with Christine and her family. At the time of the project’s involvement there were around 20 agencies including the youth offending team, community mental health team, social services, education welfare officers, police, anti-social behaviour team, housing services, Connexions service, probation service, debt advice service, educational psychologist, etc. Christine and her children neither kept appointments with these professionals nor opened the door when they came to the house … Christine and her family were costing services well in excess of £250,000 per year …

Looking beyond the media curfuffle, there is an interesting question at the heart of this: When ‘problem families’ are ruining their own childrens prospects and making life miserable for the many people that may live near them, what is the correct response for a state to make?

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