ADD2029 Mental Health and Rough Sleeper Interventions Project

Type of decision: 
Assistant Director's decision
Date signed: 
19 September 2016
Decision by: 
Jamie Ratcliff, Assistant Director, Housing

Executive summary

Approval is sought to grant fund Pathway’s Mental Health Interventions Project (MHIP) for rough sleepers. This funding will contribute to the provision of mental health training and an advice line, with the aim of increasing the number of rough sleepers accessing mental health and other related services – to help tackle rough sleeping and address the scourge of homelessness in the capital. 


That the Assistant Director of the Programme, Policy and Services Unit of the Housing and Land Directorate approves the award of £13,762 of grant funding to Pathway towards the cost of the Mental Health Interventions Project from 1 August 2016 to 31 March 2017.

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

1.1    The Mayor has committed to tackling the “scourge of homelessness” and in particular has noted that the rise in rough sleeping over recent years is a growing source of shame that we have a “moral imperative” to stop. In his manifesto he pledged to look at preventing rough sleeping and to develop a ‘No Nights Sleeping Rough’ initiative, a London-wide taskforce to oversee the implementation of the Mayor’s rough sleeping work and funding priorities. The mental health rough sleepers intervention project will assist entrenched rough sleepers with mental health issues accessing treatment.

1.2    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 £33.8 million for these services was approved for the period 1 April 2016 to 31 March 2020 granted through MD1532. 

1.3    The shape and nature of these services is underpinned by the pan-London Rough Sleeping Commissioning Framework, which includes a priority ‘to work with boroughs and partners to meet the physical and mental health needs of rough sleepers’. In order to help meet this priority, it is proposed that the GLA provides grant funding to Pathway (a homeless healthcare charity) for the Mental Health and Rough Sleeper Interventions Project. This project, has received a small amount of GLA funding in the past to carry out mental health and mental capacity training for a range of professionals working with rough sleepers.  Should a GLA grant funding be forthcoming, Pathway intend to carry out a refresh of the training and also to expand the service to provide a complex case advice line for professionals to enable them to receive guidance to resolve difficult cases.

1.4    For the last two years, Pathway have provided the Project in partnership with EASL (Enabling Assessment Service London), a mental health team supporting homeless people and the agencies working with them. It is proposed that the GLA grant is provided to Pathway, which will then have a service level agreement (SLA) with EASL, which will conduct the work outlined in section 2 and Appendix 1. The project is expected to run for eight months, from 1 August 2016 to 30 March 2017.

1.5    There has been a significant increase in the number of rough sleepers in recent years, primarily because of the increased flow of new people onto the streets. Over 8,000 people were seen rough sleeping by outreach workers during 2015/16, of which 65 per cent were new arrivals onto the streets. 46 per cent of people sleeping rough in 2015-16 were assessed as having a mental health need (around the same proportion as the previous year).  

1.6    The targets for the training and advice service have been negotiated with Pathway and will be incorporated into the grant funding agreement (see Appendix 1 for more information). 

Objectives and expected outcomes



Expected outcome

Mental Health and Rough Sleeper Interventions Project

£13,762 for the period 1 August 2016 to 31 March 2017

A minimum of eight training sessions on mental health and mental capacity assessment and interventions for a minimum of 75 people from a variety of different agencies, including outreach workers, Home Office staff, health professionals


The provision of a phone and email advice line, for advice on mental health issues and rough sleepers. All enquires to be responded to within five working days. Target of six queries a month

To meet the mental health needs of rough sleepers, in line with priority 8 of the Mayor’s Rough Sleeping Commissioning Framework.

By providing training, the Project enables professionals working with rough sleepers to provide enhanced service assessments, which should result in an increase in rough sleepers accessing appropriate mental health and other care

By providing an advice line, the Project enables rough sleeping professionals to resolve complex mental health cases and this should also increase the number of rough sleepers accessing mental health and other care.


Equality comments

3.1    Of those seen rough sleeping in 2015/16:
•    59 per cent were non-UK nationals
•    46 per cent had a mental health need
•    15 per cent were women
•    most of those seen rough sleeping (58 per cent) were in the 26-45 age group
•    10 per cent were under 26 years old
•    11 per cent were over 55
•    4 people were under 18.

3.2    As rough sleepers are over-represented among those with the protected characteristics of race and disability, the proposals in this paper are likely to have positive impacts on these groups.

Other considerations

a) Key risks and issues

Risk description



Mitigating action


Demand may increase beyond capacity if helpline is promoted


EASL and Pathway have considered that the flow of calls would need careful monitoring but are confident that demand could be met. Whilst the proposed level of calls is low, this can be reviewed quarterly and if necessary adjustments made to the project.

High or low numbers of professionals register an interest in training


Pathway has set a target for eight training sessions and 75 people will be trained. The training sessions will have a targeted focus on outreach teams and wider professionals and roles, such as community safety and parks staff. Local Authority leads have been contacted to ascertain the possible number of new staff that would require to be trained and this is likely to be around 40 and initial conversations have also taken place with the Home Office who have indicated that they are have a number of staff who would benefit from this training.


b) Links to Mayoral strategies and priorities

The objectives of the proposals are in line with 
•    the pan-London Rough Sleeping Commissioning Framework 2016 priority 8
•    the Mayor’s manifesto commitment to ‘tackle the scourge of homelessness’
•    the statutory London Housing Strategy which includes the following priorities: to work with boroughs and other partners to ensure that no one new to the streets sleeps rough for a second night, no one lives on the streets of London and the flow of new rough sleepers onto the streets is minimised.

c) Impact assessments and consultations.

The Rough Sleeping Commissioning Framework 2016+ was made available for consultation with key stakeholders and partners and was subject to a full equalities impact assessment. The statutory London Housing Strategy has been subject to a full-integrated impact assessment and undergone statutory consultation with the London Assembly and functional bodies and with the public.

Financial comments

5.1    This decision seeks approval to expend £13,762 to grant fund Pathway’s Mental Health Interventions Project (MHIP) for rough sleepers. Funds are available from Mayor’s Rough Sleeping services, which have been allocated with total funding of £8.49m for the 2016/17 financial year.

5.2    The Programme, Policy and Services Unit of the Housing and Land Directorate, will be responsible for monitoring and managing the grant and ensuring that all activities and associated expenditure comply with the Authority’s Financial Regulations, Contracts and Funding Code and Expenses and Benefits Framework. Any changes to this proposal, including the requirement of additional funds, will be subject to further approval via the Authority’s decision making process.

Planned delivery approach and next steps

6.1    The GLA will monitor the service on a quarterly basis to assess performance against targets. As with the other pan-London rough sleeping services funded by the Mayor, the performance of this service will be reported to the Deputy Mayor for Housing each quarter.

Appendices and supporting papers

Appendix 1 

Performance targets 2016-17




Enhanced service assessment for rough sleepers and vulnerable adults and an increase in rough sleepers accessing appropriate mental health and other care

Eight training sessions for a minimum of 75 outreach and wider community safety workers on mental health and mental capacity assessments and interventions delivered in London by end of March 2017

Advice service

Enabling a consistent approach across London for rough sleepers and mental health/capacity assessments

Phone line and email service available for advice regarding complex  case mental health rough sleepers for rough sleeping professionals.

Increase in rough sleepers accessing appropriate mental health and other care.

Response time within five working days

Target of a minimum of six queries a month

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