Worcestershire's Rough Sleepers Thematic
Safeguarding Adults Review
The Worcestershire Safeguarding Adults Board (WSAB) has released their Thematic Review into the deaths of four rough sleepers and one 'near-miss' incident.
Our response is below:
The Cardon Banfield Foundation welcomes and endorses the release of the Thematic Safeguarding Adult Review (SAR) on Rough Sleepers released by the Worcestershire Safeguarding Adult Board (WSAB). Following discussions with our Safeguarding Officer, Trustees and the CEO we are all in agreement with what has been said in the documentation and welcome a collaborative approach going forward.
We understand that the current circumstances in relation to the pandemic delayed the final release of this SAR from March 2020 to October. However, following the outbreak of COVID-19 the SAR mentions that there have been positive developments by partners across Worcestershire in the responses to the pandemic and rough sleepers. The Foundation are pleased that positive developments have been made for people sleeping rough in the current climate and hope that this can continue.
We recognise that the term safeguarding, when related to adults, can be difficult and self-neglect was heavily mentioned in the SAR. The Care Act 2014 Guidance defines adult safeguarding as “protecting an adult’s right to live in safety, free from abuse and neglect”. As mentioned in the Review, due to tensions of understanding it is important that agencies work and continue to work together to better benefit people sleeping rough/homeless who are using support or care services. It is clear that more needs to be done to support people who are or those threatened with homelessness on a national level after reading this SAR.
We believe homelessness is a public health issue and needs the public to work with organisations to help inform local services and Government. Across the country, we are working to build positive relationships to carry on the successful work of the Worcestershire homeless forum and ensure every local authority area has a functioning forum. This is as a result of the SAR and the work the Foundation has been doing since 2016.
The SAR goes into detail about the extensive work that has been undertaken and uses Cardon Banfield’s case as experience supporting the creation of this SAR. We very much welcome the change in procedures surrounding the death of any rough sleeper: “It is relevant to note that the social and practice environment has changed since Mr Cardon’s death both locally and nationally. For example, national requirements about reviewing the deaths of people for whom sleeping rough was a feature of their experience has been confirmed.”
It is important to mention the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 which aims to strengthen frameworks and reduce homelessness throughout the UK, including creating a plan for each person who presents as homeless. The Government published a Rough Sleeping Strategy in August 2018 with the aim of halving rough sleeping by 2022 and ending rough sleeping entirely by 2027 through “Prevention, Intervention and Recovery.” We at the Foundation support this strategy and look forward to seeing actions put in place by Government to support the reduction of homelessness - including the “Everyone In” scheme.
We welcome the detail of this SAR by WSAB and hope that the support of homeless individuals and those threatened with homelessness continues. The Cardon Banfield Foundation wants to help carry the lessons we have learned across the UK and help organisations undertake reviews into rough sleeper deaths. By working with them on a local level, we aim to show that investigations are a help, not a hindrance to service design and can bring a lot of peace and answers to those suffering.
The Foundation seeks to support and work with agencies in Worcestershire in the aftermath of this Review to develop a “Worcester Model” blueprint which is underpinned by the lessons identified and can be taken across the country and applied where needed.
Our work on the “Worcester Model” was recently featured in the nationwide publication ‘The Big Issue’ with our CEO writing: “This SAR was one of few carried out across the country but it carries the symbolism of what we should not do: ignore the unfortunate. The “Worcester Model” needs to be perfected, but the work across the country starts now. No person deserves to be left without a legacy, and no rough sleeper should be left without support.”