Photograph by Chris King

News from Siân Berry: Mayor urged not to share rough sleeper data with Home Office

18 July 2019

Mayor urged not to share rough sleeper data with Home Office

London Assembly member Sian Berry has today raised concerns about the Mayor’s announcement of a ‘rapid response team’ to help rough sleepers. Eight London councils are already reported to have refused to share data on rough sleepers with the Home Office.[1]

Sian has previously gained assurance through Assembly questions that the Mayor’s existing homeless outreach programmes like Streetlink and the CHAIN database do not share details of individuals with the Home Office[2], but now is asking for assurance that this new team will not be handing over data that could lead to people being deported.
Important concerns about privacy and human rights must be considered, given the poor record of the Home Office on such matters as Windrush and the student visa scandal.
Sian Berry said “It is welcome to see more money to make a more effective London-wide approach on rough sleeping but if people fear their details will be shared with the Home Office they may not use this help. 
From Windrush to the student visa scandal, the Home Office has time and time again abused trust. The Mayor should confirm urgently that he will not share data on rough sleepers from this new scheme with the Home Office.
The Hostile Environment policy adopted by the outgoing Prime Minister has been reportedly labelled a failure of the Home Office’s legal duty. There is no case for any reasonable approach that can involve sharing data with the Home Office until the Hostile Environment is fully dismantled.”

Notes to editors

Sian is available for interview. 

[1] Brent, Croydon, Enfield, Islington, Hackney, Haringey, Lambeth, and Newham in London have been reported by The Guardian as saying they will not share personal data of rough sleepers with the Home Office unless explicit consent has been given.
[2] Relevant questions on Home Office data sharing and the GLA

Questions on rough sleeping services

Questions on removal of rough sleepers

Questions on victims of crime

Sian Berry was elected as a Green member of the London Assembly in May 2016. She has been a councillor for Highgate ward in Camden since 2014.

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