MD2333 New rough sleeper services and projects

Type of decision: 
Mayoral decision
Date signed: 
13 August 2018
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. Grant funding of £3.3m has recently been secured from the Government and £112,737 from the London Borough of Hillingdon for extensions to current services and additional projects. This will expand the No Second Night Out service (NSNO) to include two additional staging posts and the creation of floating hubs across London (£1.536m), extend London Street Rescue (LSR) (£951k) to provide additional outreach capacity, and extend Routes Home to provide additional support to boroughs and NSNO (£127k). The funding will also be used to grant fund a winter night shelter project (£600k) and provide additional mental health support to outreach and hostels across London (£199k).


That the Mayor approves:

1. The receipt of grant funding of £3.3m from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) and £112,737 from the London Borough of Hillingdon, for the development and delivery of pan-London rough sleeper services and projects from 1 July 2018 to 31 March 2019

2. Expenditure of a total of £3,412,737 comprising:
• £600,000 to Housing Justice for winter night shelters (provided by grant); and
• £198,587 to Enabling Assessment Service (EASL) for mental health support (provided by grant).
• Delegates authority to agree the terms of the variations to the contract below and to authorise their execution to Executive Director – Housing & Land.
• £1,536,231 for the expansion of NSNO, to include two additional NSNO staging posts and the creation of floating hubs;
• £950,919 for the expansion of LSR; and
• £127,000 for the expansion of Routes Home, to provide further support to boroughs and the floating hubs.

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

During 2017/18, 7,484 people were seen sleeping rough in London, more than double the number in 2010/11. Sixty per cent were new to the street, 47 per cent were non-UK nationals and 23 per cent were from CEE countries. Around three quarters had one or more support needs (50 per cent mental health, 43 per cent alcohol, and 40 per cent drugs).

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). In his London Housing Strategy, the Mayor sets out his aim that there should be a sustainable route off the streets for every single rough sleeper in London. He has recently published his Plan of Action which outlines the steps that need to be taken for this to be achieved.

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). This Mayoral decision also approved the reprocurement of a number of key services, which have now been commissioned and mobilised. A further MD (MD2031) approved the procurement of a successor to the flagship No Second Night Out (NSNO) service, to run from 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2019, and the new service commenced on 1 April 2017. There are currently seven core services under contract with annual values ranging from £200,000 to £3.68m, as well as a number of grant-funded initiatives.

Working with the taskforce, the Mayor has also secured over £4.2m of Government funding for a number of additional rough sleeping services and initiatives (see MD2083), which include a new Safe Connections service and a new Social Impact Bond for entrenched rough sleepers launched in October 2017. The Mayor has further earmarked an additional £1.3m of GLA funding for a project to help rough sleepers with mental health support needs.

Most of the Mayor’s rough sleeping budget is spent on major contracted services, such as NSNO, London Street Rescue (LSR), and Tenancy Sustainment Teams (TSTs). These major services significantly improve outcomes for people with a history of sleeping rough in London.

The GLA has recently successfully bid for over £3.3m from Government and been also been allocated a further £112,737 from LB Hillingdon to fund the following during 2018/19:

• An expansion of NSNO to provide 2 additional staging posts and at least one floating hub (£1,536,231). This will be in addition to the existing agreed spend, which is £7.36m from 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2019 with the option to extend for a further two years (MD2031);
• An expansion of LSR to provide additional pan-London outreach provision (£950,919), including dedicated outreach teams at Heathrow in LB Hillingdon (£112,737) and in Newham (£150,000). This will be in addition to the existing agreed spend, which is £1,917,000 with the option to extend for a further two years from – 1 April 2016 – 31 March 2019 (MD1532);
• An expansion of Routes Home to provide support to boroughs and the floating hub (£127,000) This will be in addition to the existing spend, which is £1,800,000 with the option to extend for a further two years from – 1 April 2016 – 31 March 2019 (MD1532);
• A new winter night shelter fund and additional co-ordination (£600,000); and
• Additional mental health support to outreach and hostels (£198,587).

Expansion of NSNO


NSNO, provided by St Mungo’s, which focuses on those that have been seen rough sleeping only once, has been successful in ensuring that people it sees do not sleep rough again. Since it started in April 2011, three quarters of those attending the service have not been seen sleeping rough again. The service consists of three assessment hubs and two staging posts (for those awaiting appropriate accommodation or requiring further assessment).

However, not all new rough sleepers are seen by No Second Night Out (only around a third in 2017/18), primarily because some refuse to attend the service. Some people do not attend the service because it is full, but others refuse to attend, due to the journey time to get to an assessment hub. Outcomes for new rough sleepers who do not attend NSNO are significantly worse than for those who do. In 2016/17, 34 per cent of new rough sleepers who did not go to NSNO were seen rough sleeping again within six months, compared with only 17 per cent of those who went to the service.

Rough sleeping results in significant costs to local authorities. Estimates on the cost to the public purse of each person sleeping rough range from £11,000, with a net present value (NPV) over five years of £20,000, to £20,000, with an NPV of £37,000. Many rough sleepers intersperse nights on the street with spells in hostel accommodation and other forms of short-term locally-funded accommodation, and local authorities also fund outreach and floating support services for rough sleepers.

There is therefore a clear moral and financial case to expand NSNO so that it can help those who have been sleeping rough more than once. The proposed expansion of the service will therefore offer help to those who were unable or unwilling to attend NSNO when they were new to the street, and offer additional support to break the cycle of rough sleeping for London’s most entrenched rough sleepers.

The current service specification for NSNO includes provision of staging posts and fixed hubs across London, therefore for these new services the GLA will vary the existing NSNO contract (provided by St Mungo’s). The current provider is the only provider who bid for the NSNO contract during the original tendering process. A change of contractor is not viable for technical reasons as the current provider is the only provider who is able to access the required buildings and who has the appropriate staffing structure in place to meet the requirement from the MHCLG to have the services up and operational as soon as possible. In addition to the significant delay to the project, which would be caused, if the GLA sought to tender separately the services the subject of the proposed variation, there would be duplication of costs as there would be two contractors working with the same client group at the same time.

The expansion

Learning from Severe Weather Emergency Provision (SWEP) review and from NSNO, the floating NSNO hubs will provide emergency assessment to respond to both hotspots of rough sleeping and to specified cohorts of rough sleepers, such as people involved in street drinking, those with mental health issues or non-UK nationals. At least one floating hub will be in operation each month and they will see all rough sleepers in a borough regardless of whether they are new or not.

To support the NSNO floating hubs, improve the throughput of NSNO, and provide additional support to the new assessment centres that some boroughs are developing, NSNO will develop two additional new staging posts. These will provide 24-hour support to clients coming through NSNO who require additional support or time to achieve a sustained outcome, and will offer safe spaces for those not new to streets but who require space for a more detailed assessment.

Expansion of London Street Rescue (LSR)


The Mayor’s current LSR service, provided by Thames Reach, provides outreach across the 14 London boroughs (including Heathrow within LB Hillingdon) without their own commissioned outreach teams. However, the current level of coverage is not as comprehensive as required. Historically due to the levels of rough sleeping in boroughs and funding available LSR operates as a geographical model with teams working across quadrants of the city.

In order to boost the level of outreach in these 14 boroughs, the GLA is varying the LSR contract with Thames Reach. Thames Reach was the only provider who bid for the LSR contract during the original tendering process. A change of contractor cannot realistically be made for technical reasons, as the existing provider is the only provider whose workforce have job descriptions that can work pan-London and are able to meet the requirement from the MHCLG to have the services operational by September. In addition to the significant delay to the project there would be duplication of costs as there would be two contractors working with the same client group in the same boroughs at the same time.

The expansion

This will increase the amount of outreach work in the boroughs where LSR works, involving up to 25 additional workers and up to 40 additional outreach shifts. It will provide additional coverage across all 14 boroughs as well as dedicated teams in Heathrow and Newham. In Newham, this will result in LSR provision being at the same level as it would be if provided by a borough-commissioned team whilst the borough prepares to commission their own team to commence working in 2019/20.

Expansion of Routes Home


Routes Home, provided by St Mungo’s, assists non-UK national rough sleepers with support needs with a route away from the streets. It helps them to access accommodation and work in the UK or supports them to voluntarily return home to access accommodation and support in their home country.

The Routes Home contract was entered into following an OJEU advertised tender. This extension, which is within the scope of the originally commissioned service, will enable the employment of an additional two members of staff (plus client support costs) to provide more support to non-UK nationals who are found rough sleeping in London. The current provider has the technical expertise to provide this service and will be able to meet the requirement from the MHCLG to have the additional service operational by September. In addition to the significant delay to the project there would be duplication of costs as there would be two contractors working with the same client group in the same boroughs at the same time.

The expansion

The funding will enable the recruitment of two additional members of staff to work in and alongside the NSNO floating hubs with EEA nationals who need assistance to access work and accommodation, or want to return to their home country. The service will also work with non-UK nationals who need support around immigration issues.

Mental health support


Half of people seen rough sleeping in London have a recorded mental health support need. However, their circumstances and the uneven distribution of specialist mental health services across London means that often it is difficult for outreach workers to access appropriate mental health support for the people they work with.

The project

The funding will provide up to three specialist mental health workers to provide additional mental health support in minimum of eight London boroughs and to the NSNO floating hubs. The Enabling Assessment Service (EASL) will provide expert multi-disciplinary mental health assessments to London Street Rescue and other borough outreach where there is not appropriate support in borough.

Winter night shelter fund


Winter night shelters currently play a key role in tackling rough sleeping in London. In 2017/18 there were 39 shelters (most of which open in November). These shelters work alongside commissioned services. The majority of shelters are staffed by volunteers, operate only in winter months, and generally have limited capacity to carry out daytime case management to quickly and permanent resolve the circumstances of an individual rough sleeping.

The project

The project will grant-fund Housing Justice to support existing winter night shelter provision, by funding five regional co-ordinator posts and a small grants programme to:

• support faith, voluntary and community groups in establishing new shelter projects;
• support existing projects to increase capacity;
• support existing projects to increase and improve casework and access move-on options; and
• provide support and advice for those moving on.

Objectives and expected outcomes

Expansion of NSNO

The expansion is to help ensure an immediate route off the street for more rough sleepers, into a pathway that will help ensure sustainable, long term positive outcomes.

While the number of people seen by the floating hubs will vary by location, the overall targets over the eight months will be 320, of whom at least 85 per cent exit rough sleeping. The targets are for the staging posts to see a minimum of 150 clients over the eight months, with at least 85 per cent exiting rough sleeping.

Expansion of LSR

The expansion is to enable more rough sleepers to be found and helped off the streets. It is envisaged that an additional 350 people will exit rough sleeping up until March 2019.

Expansion of Routes Home

This expansion will enable support to be offered to more non-UK nationals rough sleeping in London. This should result in an additional 40 people exiting rough sleeping.

Mental health support

The objective is to assist more people to access services and identify a long-term route off the streets, and enable a clearer understanding of rough sleepers’ health and social needs. This should result in at least 40 people with mental health needs exiting rough sleeping.

Winter night shelter project

The objective is to improve throughput and provide sustainable solutions for rough sleepers, as well as enable more shelters to open and others to open earlier. As a result of this work, it is estimated an additional 400 people will be supported in shelters across London.

Equality comments

Under section 149 of the Equality Act 2010, as public authorities, the Mayor and GLA are subject to a public-sector equality duty and must have ‘due regard’ to the need to (i) eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation; (ii) advance equality of opportunity between people who share a relevant protected characteristic and those who do not; and (iii) foster good relations between people who share a relevant protected characteristic and those who do not. Protected characteristics under section 149 of the Equality Act are age, disability, gender re-assignment, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation, and marriage or civil partnership status (all except the last being “relevant” protected characteristics).

Of those seen rough sleeping in 2017/18:

• 46% were non-UK nationals
• 50% had a mental health need
• 15% were women
• Most of those seen rough sleeping (56%) were in the 26-45 age group
• 8% were under 26 years old
• 11% were over 55
• 11 people were under 18.

Those with protected characteristics of race and disability are over-represented among rough sleepers, as the client group for these services is people with a history of sleeping rough the proposals in this paper are likely to have positive impacts on these groups.

Other considerations
  1. Key risks and issues


Risk description



Mitigating action


Insufficient staff resources within the GLA to develop, deliver and monitor the new services and projects will reduce the effectiveness of current services and mean that new services are not developed and delivered effectively. There is a potential risk to the safety of clients if services are poorly designed and delivered, or providers are not effectively monitored.


Low risk           

There are dedicated GLA leads for each new service and the providers are sending weekly updates to the lead and the rough sleeping team manager. 

The providers 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. Payment by results will incentivise providers to deliver.

The number of rough sleepers may reduce to the point where the services are no longer required, or required at the levels envisaged, or the nature of rough sleeping may change, making the services and projects less relevant

Low risk           

The GLA Rough Sleeping Team constantly monitors the rough sleeping landscape, through detailed quarterly CHAIN report and through strategic and operational interactions with key stakeholders from boroughs, service providers, central government and others (including through the Mayor’s forthcoming No Nights Sleeping Rough Taskforce). The funding is only for eight months so any changes necessary can be made during this time.   


  1. Links to Mayoral strategies and priorities

See paragraph 1.2 above.


  1. Impact assessments and consultations

The bids for the proposed new services and project were developed in partnership with the Mayor’s No Nights Sleeping Rough taskforce, and were informed by in-depth consultation with stakeholders from London boroughs, voluntary sector providers and the wider homelessness sector.


Financial comments

This decision requests an approval for the receipt and expenditure of grant funding of £3.3m from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), as well as £112,737 from the London borough of Hillingdon for projects until March 2018.

The total of £3,412,737 will be spent on providing the services for the homeless set out in paragraph 1.6 above.

Activity table


Indicative date*

Mayoral approval secured/CIB

13 August 2018

expansions / new services commence

1 September 2018

Additional capacity commences

1 September 2018

Quarterly contract monitoring meeting and reporting

October 2018

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