System Recommendations for Statutory Authorities and service providers
2. Individuals with multiple and complex needs should not be placed at Kendal Court even if other recommendations are implemented.
3. Individuals should have their health and care needs assessed by mental health and/or social care professionals at the time of their housing placement assessment. Where this is not possible an assessment should be completed within a few days of being placed. Placing authorities should consider attaching a member of their Adult Social Care team or a mental health professional to Homelessness Services for this purpose.
4. Brighton and Hove City Council (BHCC) and mental health providers should establish an effective system of support for people’s mental health needs based in Newhaven, ideally including on-site support at Kendal Court. This could be achieved through regular drop-in sessions from the Mental Health Team or by commissioning voluntary organisations to provide services.
5. A clear holistic needs assessment & referral pathway is needed for homeless people. This should detail who is responsible for what at each point in that pathway, involving the relevant disciplines (housing, physical and mental health, social care, safeguarding, criminal justice system, and emergency services) and across administrative borders. This would provide clarity for all staff and relevant parties and provide accountability at each stage in the process, particularly with out of area placements.
VCSE organisations to be referenced and included in assessment and referral pathways. Given that residents can become isolated and withdrawn in self-contained accommodation, early referral to and engagement with appropriate voluntary organisations offers a great potential for implementing a preventative care agenda.
The commissioning of voluntary organisations should therefore be fully explored for their viability to deliver preventative care and work in partnership to achieve best outcomes for residents. Options for partnership working with other organisations could include:
➢ Obtaining client consent to refer and share information with key local services such as Foodbanks (SCDA in Newhaven) or other relevant voluntary services Page 30 of 43 responding to particular health conditions or disabilities.
➢ Providing access to a menu of related services available at or near emergency and temporary accommodation sites e.g. social prescribing, Citizens Advice Bureau, financial literacy, substance misuse services and visits by GP based paramedics. These initiatives could provide an early and positive start in achieving long term wellbeing outcomes for individual residents and could achieve a system cost benefit compared to frequent and repeated use of emergency and more acute services.
6. Standardised information should be provided to all residents in Emergency Temporary Accommodation (including those at Kendal Court), both prior to and following arrival, including:
➢ Amount of cash needed for arrival (electricity meter & key deposit) and ongoing expenses ➢ Public transport options, and caretaker’s hours
➢ A checklist of household items which will be provided and those which are not
➢ Key information about local services including: GP, Foodbanks, Dentist, Pharmacy, transport, other support services and advice, shops & post office.
➢ Contact details for both statutory mental health services and for voluntary sector services such as Samaritans and Mind.
7. A number of site, staffing and placement management options should be considered by Brighton and Hove City Council in relation to Kendal Court:
• Consistent provision of essential items for new arrivals, with a clear sanitising procedure and serviceability checks for the transfer of pre-owned items such as mattresses, bedding and electrical items. Future procurement of Emergency Temporary Accommodation in East Sussex should specify and deliver minimum standards for facilities such as laundry, wi-fi, communal space, confidential meeting space, security, service and utility charges etc.
• Phone and email contact with on-site staff. Contact details for Kendal Court site staff and linked services should be provided to residents and made available to friends/relative and external organisations. This will allow contact to be maintained, enable delivery of support and allow concerns to be identified and responded to.
• More clarity and consumer rights information provided for residents about electricity and other cash charges made on site. The name of the electricity provider should be clear to residents, together with the unit charge. Receipts should be given for all cash transactions.
• Confidential meeting space: Another Portakabin could provide a communal area for residents, but also be used for health, care, VCSE professionals, or the welfare officer to meet with people in a confidential space. A transparent partition or door and an alarm button could be fitted as a means of keeping people safe.
• Laundry facilities: The laundry facility is welcome but inadequate for the number of residents. There is only one domestic type washer and dryer and no outdoor drying equipment. Rotary driers could be easily installed in the site yard. These could be removable for daytime use only while the caretaker and security staff are active, to prevent damage or injury during the caretaker’s absence.
• Exercise & wellbeing: Other suggestions for use of outdoor space could be a bike rack, benches for seating, a greened area, or a type of simple fixed base outdoor gym equipment.
8. Healthwatch East Sussex recommends that ‘The Emergency Accommodation Charter’ drawn up by Eastbourne Citizens Advice, Justlife & Fulfilling Lives in collaboration with Temporary Accommodation Action Groups (TAAG) in Brighton and East Sussex is fully implemented as it closely reflects the evidence leading to our recommendations. The Brighton Hove Draft Emergency Accommodation Charter was presented at the BHCC Housing Committee Sept 2020 with an agreement from committee members both then and at the BHCC Housing Committee Nov 2020 to progress and implement the principles it contains.
7.3 Recommendations for Healthwatch East Sussex (HWES)
9. HWES to seek reassurances that a response will be received when raising safeguarding concerns across Local Authority boundaries and that adequate support has been put in place.
10.HWES to take the learning from this study to inform how we carry out future reviews at other Emergency Temporary Accommodation establishments in East Sussex.
11.HWES to share the learning from this review with statutory and voluntary sector partners across Sussex, other local Healthwatch and with Healthwatch England.