Councils should use their new public health budgets to help fund the troubled families programme, the chief executive of Public Health England has said.

The £2.6bn budget could even be employed to match fund the £448m that the Department for Communities and Local Government has pledged to pour into the families scheme, Public Health England chief Duncan Selbie has said.

In a letter sent to public health employees this month, Mr Selbie said the troubled families scheme – which aims to “turn around” the lives of 120,000 families with multiple problems – was “a great example of where local authorities could use their public health money to add value and accelerate the impact of this work”.

He said: “Every upper-tier and unitary local authority will be involved in the troubled families programme and my hope is that each of you will consider augmenting, and perhaps even match funding where possible, the national contribution from your public health allocation.”

The £2.6bn public health budget is ringfenced, and councils have this year used much of the funding to continue contracts that were carried over from the NHS, which was responsible for the service until April.