COUNCILS have been praised for turning around the lives of almost 53,000 troubled families in England in little over two years, including almost 5,000 in the South-West.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles told the Local Government Association’s annual conference in Bournemouth 52,833 of the most troubled families in the country had been put back on track by local authority teams since April, 2012.

This has been achieved by getting children back into school for three consecutive terms where they were previously truant or excluded.

Work has also been done to significantly reduce high levels of youth crime and anti-social behaviour, while headway has been made in getting adults who were previously on benefits back into work.