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Safeguarding adults who sleep rough in London

29th January 2018

Clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), NHS trusts, London Healthwatches, the police and other interested organisations, plus people who have experience of being homeless and volunteers and staff working in third sector organisations are invited to share their views on new guidance for safeguarding adults who sleep rough in London. The consultation on the guidance runs until 9 March 2018.

Our London Homeless Health Programme was commissioned by the London Safeguarding Adults Board to work with people experienced in the housing, care and support of adults who sleep rough to develop new safeguarding guidance.

The safeguarding guidance sets out what people should do when they are concerned about the wellbeing of someone who is sleeping rough in London.  It also confirms and spells out the rights that everyone has to be safe and how these apply to people who are living on the street.

The guidance will form a new appendix (appendix 7) to the London Multi-Agency Adult Safeguarding Policy and Procedures which is used by people who work in roles that support people who may be vulnerable.

These include staff in the emergency services, street outreach workers and community and hospital based NHS staff who come into contact with people who are sleeping on the capital’s streets.

In 2016/17 over 8,100 people were seen sleeping rough at some point in London. This is virtually unchanged from the total of 8,096 people seen in 2015/16, but is more than double the figure of 3,673 in 2009/10[1].

The wellbeing of people who live and sleep on the street is at significant risk.

Homelessness may be a consequence of health problems, and is very commonly a cause of worsening health. Many people who sleep rough will have significant needs in relation to physical health, mental health and substance misuse.  Homeless people are more likely to die young, with an average age of death of 47 for men and even lower for homeless women at 43[2].  A recently published international study identifies that that the mortality rate among social excluded groups including homeless people was nearly eight times higher than the population average for men and nearly 12 times higher for women.[3]

The London Safeguarding Adults Board is now seeking feedback from a wider group of stakeholders before the safeguarding guidance is agreed and published.

People who have experience of being homeless and volunteers and staff working in third sector organisations are being invited to share their views, as well as CCGs, NHS Trusts, London Healthwatches, the police and other interested organisations.

The draft appendix is not intended to be a stand-alone document and should be read alongside the full London Multi-Agency Adult Safeguarding Policy and Procedures.

The consultation will close on 9 March 2018.

The draft guidance and consultation questions can be found on the London Association of Directors of Adult Social Services website which is running the consultation on behalf of the London Safeguarding Adults Board.

The consultation page also has details of open source e-learning material produced by Health Education England.

Anyone who is concerned about a rough sleeper in London can tell StreetLink via their website (www.streetlink.org.uk) to help link them in to support.

[1] https://data.london.gov.uk/dataset/chain-reports

[2] https://www.crisis.org.uk/media/236799/crisis_homelessness_kills_es2012.pdf

[3] http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(17)31869-X/fulltext

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