An independent review into the death of a rough sleeper whose body was found in a tent in Worcester on July 5 2016, has today been published by Worcester City Council.
The review was commissioned in line with new guidance from the national body Homeless Link and was conducted by independent consultant Neelam Sunder.
Ms Sunder investigated the interaction the rough sleeper, referred to in the report as “C”, had with services in Worcestershire which support rough sleepers and the homeless. Her report includes recommendations for how the county’s agencies can work together to try to prevent avoidable deaths of people who sleep rough.
The review has been published as part of the agenda for the next meeting of the City Council’s Communities Committee. The committee will consider the reports and its recommendations when they meet on May 30.
The review analyses how the various Worcestershire homelessness services engaged and interacted with “C” and suggests a range of recommendations that could potentially improve those services.
The recommendations are:
- A skills audit of frontline staff who work with rough sleepers to establish if they need training in: mental health awareness; assessing mental capacity; spotting self-neglect; information sharing with services outside of the county
- Cross-border working to establish an alerts system for when transient rough sleepers move between different counties
- A local reporting system for members of the public to report rough sleepers, alongside a campaign to raise awareness of what services for rough sleepers are available in Worcestershire
- Partnership work with the police, fire service and voluntary agencies to increase the safety of people sleeping rough
- The introduction of guidelines for the transition from one homeless service to another, for use when a homeless service is decommissioned and another is brought in replace it
- Improved record keeping for information on rough sleepers
- A commitment to carry out a review every time a person dies while sleeping rough.
Worcester City Council’s Communities Committee will be asked to endorse the establishment of a working group of services across Worcestershire that work with homeless people. This expert group would be asked to consider the review’s recommendations, to establish how and when they will be implemented.
Worcester City Council’s Managing Director, David Blake, said: “We commissioned this independent review into the tragic death of a rough sleeper in order to enable lessons to be learned, identify any missed opportunities for intervention and to prevent avoidable deaths of people sleeping rough in the future.
“The aim of the review is to identify opportunities for learning and service improvement, and to improve outcomes for people sleeping rough.
“The review recommends that agencies across the county continue to work together as a multi-agency group, and our Communities Committee is being asked to endorse this approach.”