MD2166 The Mayor’s rough sleeping ‘night transport outreach team’

Type of decision: 
Mayoral decision
Date signed: 
24 August 2017
Decision by: 
Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London

Executive summary

The GLA currently commissions and funds a major programme of pan-London rough sleeping services and projects. It is proposed that the Mayor’s pan-London outreach service, London Street Rescue (LSR), be enhanced by setting up new ‘night transport outreach team’ will help ensure that those sleeping rough at night on the transport network do not end up on London’s streets. 
The cost of this expansion is up to £300,000 over 18 months. A total of £225,000 will come from the GLA’s rough sleeping budget, and £75,000 is committed from Transport for London (TfL).


That the Mayor:
1.    approves expenditure of up to £300,000 to enhance the pan-London outreach service, London Street Rescue (LSR), by forming a new ‘night transport outreach team’

2.    approves receipt of up to £75,000 from Transport for London towards that £300,000 expenditure

3.    consents to TfL making a revenue grant of the same to the GLA under section 121 of the GLA Act


Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

1.1    During 2016/17, 8,108 people were seen sleeping rough in London, more than double the number in 2010/11. Sixty-three per cent were new to the street, 53 per cent were non-UK nationals and 41 per cent were from EU countries. Around three quarters had a support need (47 per cent mental health, 44 per cent alcohol and 35 per cent drugs).
1.2    The Mayor believes we have a moral imperative to tackle homelessness. In particular he sees the fact that a growing number of people have been left sleeping rough on London’s streets as a source of shame. The Mayor has set up a ‘No Nights Sleeping Rough’ (NNSR) taskforce to identify, implement, lobby for, and monitor the effectiveness of interventions to tackle rough sleeping. Chaired by the Deputy Mayor for Housing and Residential Development, it brings together partners key to tackling rough sleeping in London (including boroughs, voluntary organisations and Government). 
1.3    The Mayor has responsibility for funding and commissioning a range of pan-London rough sleeping services. These are services for rough sleepers, or initiatives to tackle rough sleeping, that cannot or would not be provided at a London borough level, as they are pan-London or multi-borough in their remit. A budget of £33.8m for these services was approved for the period 1 April 2016 to 31 March 2020 (see MD1532). 
1.4    Most of this budget is spent on major contracted services, such as No Second Night Out, London Street Rescue, and Tenancy Sustainment Teams. We have also recently launched the Rough Sleeping Innovation Fund, a new grant funding programme, and allocated a budget to support the NNSR taskforce. 
1.5    Working with the taskforce, the Mayor has also recently secured over £4.2m of Government funding for a number of additional rough sleeping services and initiatives, which will be launched in late 2017 (see MD2083).
1.6    Our current and new services will significantly improve outcomes. However, there are still gaps in provision. The Mayor wants to ensure there is an offer for every rough sleeper in London, and that services are in place to help them access available support. One gap in provision is the coverage of outreach on London’s night buses and tubes. The ongoing extensions of the night tube, in particular, are creating additional ‘spaces’ where people who are homeless may sleep to stay warm and safe. 
1.7    It is therefore proposed that the GLA-commissioned London Street Rescue (LSR) service be enhanced to provide a new ‘night transport outreach team’, which will run for 18 months (starting in October 2017), to work on the night bus and tube network in London. The team would work closely with TfL, with whom LSR already have good links. This will enable intelligence-led shifts based on TfL staff reports which feed into shift delivery patterns. The service would also develop the skills of TfL staff to improve the quality of referrals.
1.8    This additional outreach would contribute to meeting the following priorities of the pan-London Rough Sleeping Commissioning Framework: 
Overarching priorities 
To work with boroughs and partners: 
o    to minimise the flow of new rough sleepers onto the streets
o    to ensure that no-one new to the streets sleep rough for a second night 
o    to ensure that no-one lives on the streets of London.
Cross-cutting priorities 
To work with boroughs and partners: 
o    to tackle rough sleeping by non-UK nationals 
o    to tackle hidden or mobile rough sleeping
o    to meet the physical and mental health needs of rough sleepers 
o    to help ensure the availability of appropriate accommodation, including emergency accommodation
o    to maintain and improve the collection of data about rough sleeping.
1.9    To support these efforts, StreetLink  has recently been enhanced to accurately record the location of people seen on buses, trains and tubes. Over time, as better data is captured, the service will work in partnership with TfL and the GLA to problem-solve at a strategic level, to devise ways of preventing rough sleeping on the network from occurring in the first place (without increasing rough sleeping on the streets). 
1.10    Currently, LSR conducts one shift per week on the transport network and finds anywhere between one and six people per shift (averaging two people per shift). However, we have recently piloted an enhanced service and found huge scope to have greater impact. Given the recent opening – and ongoing expansion - of the night tube, and on the basis of experience of other 24-hour cities such as New York, we want to intervene before rough sleeping becomes a bigger issue for our transport network, and prevent many more people from reaching the streets.
1.11    Between 30 September and 22 October 2016, LSR and TfL conducted eight shifts to better understand the need for an enhanced outreach service specifically to work on London’s bus and tube networks. A total of 41 people were found by LSR (an average of around five people per shift) and a further 123 people were seen by TfL staff thought to be sleeping on the network. The vast majority (73 per cent) of those worked with by LSR had previously not been recorded on CHAIN but were deemed to be at risk of sleeping rough imminently and were therefore eligible for the Mayor’s No Second Night Out (NSNO) service.
1.12    Characteristics of those met during the pilot:
•    eight (20 per cent) were women
•    five (12 per cent) reported that they were currently working, 23 (56 per cent) were eligible for work
•    seven (17 per cent) had drug support needs, 12 (29 per cent) used alcohol, 4 (10 per cent) used both
•    19 (46 per cent) were UK citizens, 8 (20 per cent) were from the EU and 11 (27 per cent) from the rest of the world (remaining unknown)
•    6 (15 per cent) were 40 and under, 15 (37 per cent) between 40 and 55 and 13 (32 per cent) over 55 – not everyone gave their age
•    14 (34 per cent) reported a mental health issue, 26 (63 per cent) reported having physical health problems.
1.13    Locations of those met on buses during the pilot: 17 on the N38, nine on the N25, six on the N73, five on the N55, three on the N9, one on the N14. 
1.14    The offers and options identified to resolve the clients’ homelessness were varied but not particularly complex. 

Objectives and expected outcomes

2.1    The service, which will be contract monitored quarterly, will provide:
•    at least 27 shifts a month, and including partnership shifts with TFL and mental health specialists
•    a team of two support workers, a lead worker, five hours of management time and a client welfare fund
•    short-term bed-spaces to ensure there is always an immediate route off the streets.
2.2    This additional provision would be a 600 per cent in outreach coverage on the night transport network. Anticipated outcomes over 18 months of this service include:
•    interventions for around 900-1,350 people, of which an estimated c630-1,000 will be at imminent risk of sleeping rough
•    80 per cent of those given a single service offer each quarter do not return to the streets/transport network in the following quarter.

Equality comments

3.1    Of those seen rough sleeping in 2016/17:
•    53 per cent were non-UK nationals
•    47 per cent had a mental health need
•    15 per cent were women
•    56 per cent were in the 26-45 age group
•    nine per cent were under 26 years old
•    11 per cent were over 55
•    four people were under 18.
3.2    As rough sleepers those with protected characteristics of race and disability are over-represented among rough sleepers, the proposals in this paper are likely to have positive impacts on these groups.
3.3    An EQIA was carried out on the pan-London rough sleeping commissioning framework. 

Other considerations

a)    Key risks and issues 

Risk description



Mitigating action


Numbers on the bus and tube networks will be lower than expected

Low risk           

The GLA will work with TfL and boroughs to expand the remit of the service into terminuses, such as train and coach stations. These are currently the remit of locally- commissioned services, but are under-resourced. Contracts can be varied to incorporate new or different requirements and will contain break clauses to allow for termination should this be necessary. 

The provider may perform poorly, negatively impacting on the achievement of key Mayoral objectives and more detailed service-specific KPIs

Low risk           

A robust contract and contract monitoring between the GLA and the service provider will ensure that poor performance is identified and rectified quickly and appropriately. Currently LSR is performing well.

The number of rough sleepers may increase pressure on existing services such as No Second Night Out (NSNO) which are already struggling with existing demand

Medium risk      

Although this is likely, the service will also have a ‘temporary accommodation’ budget attached for spot purchasing bedspaces to ensure people are not sleeping rough whilst awaiting an offer off the streets.

By recording more people, due to additional street activity, the number of people seen sleeping rough may significantly increase

Medium risk

This is probable, but through this service, more people in London will be helped off the streets – therefore fewer people will spend a second night out, and fewer will end up ‘living on the streets’.


b)    Links to Mayoral strategies and priorities 
See paragraphs 1.2, 1.3 and 1.6 above.
c)    Impact assessments and consultations
This service has been informed by consultation with our key partners, including support from the NNSRT, and analysis of data.   



Financial comments

5.1    This decision requests approval to expend up to £300,000 to enhance Mayor’s pan-London outreach service, London Street Rescue (LSR), through an expansion of its work on London’s night buses and tubes. The service will be delivered by Thames Reach and will run for a period of 18 months (between October 2017 and March 2019).
5.2    £225,000 of the proposed expenditure will be funded by the Rough Sleeping budget (MD1532), which has been allocated a four-year indicative budget of up-to £33.8m (£8.450m per/year). The remaining £75,000 will be funded by the TfL. It is envisaged that £162,500 (£112,500 from GLA & £50,000 from TfL) will be expended in 2017/18 financial year and the remaining amount of £137,500 will incur in 2018/19 financial year. The confirmation of the future years funding is subject to the finalization and sign-off of the 2018/19 budget by the Mayor.
5.3    It is to be noted that the original contract value with Thames Reach is £1,966,045 for three years (plus an option to extend for an additional two years). This decision increases the three-year contract value by an additional £300,000 (to £2,266,045), which still falls within the legal OJEU threshold. The original contract was competitively tendered within OJEU regulations.

Planned delivery approach and next steps

7.1    Key milestones are as follows.


Indicative date

Mayoral approval secured/CIB

14 August 2017

Monitoring structures agreed, LSR contract varied

 8 September 2017

Commissioned team recruited

29 September 2017

Projects starts

1 October 2017

Quarterly contract monitoring meeting and reporting

December 2017 and quarterly thereafter

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