MD1532 Rough Sleeping Commissioning Framework 2016-2020

Type of decision: 
Mayoral decision
Date signed: 
11 August 2015
Decision by: 
Boris Johnson MP (past staff), Mayor of London

Executive summary

The GLA commissions and grant funds a major programme of pan-London rough sleeping services and projects. The contracts and grant agreements for the current programme of services expire at the end of March 2016 and new services need to be commissioned to ensure continuity of provision beyond that.

A draft new Rough Sleeping Commissioning Framework has been produced to underpin the new commissioning round proposed. This sets out priorities for funding and decision making for 2016-20.

This report seeks approval of funding for the proposed programme, the draft framework document, publication of the same and expenditure on establishing a programme of pan-London rough sleeping services in line with this framework, to run from 1 April 2016 to 31 March 2020.


That the Mayor:
1.    approves expenditure of up to £33.8 million on a programme of pan-London rough sleeper services (including London Street Rescue, CHAIN, Clearing House; London Reconnections Service, Tenancy Sustainment Teams, No Second Night Out (NSNO), No Living on the Street (NLOS), severe weather emergency provision and StreetLink) to run for a period of up to 4 years from 1 April 2016 to 31 March 2020. All these funding decisions will be made in accordance with the priorities set out in the final Rough Sleeping Commissioning Framework and all contracts will have break clauses in order not to pre-empt decisions for the next Mayor;
2.    approves the draft Rough Sleeping Commissioning Framework attached at Appendix 3, delegating authority to the Executive Director of the Housing and Land Directorate, in consultation with the Deputy Mayor for Housing Land and Property , to make non-material changes to the draft prior to publication and the publication of the final version; and 
3.    approves the extension of the combined NSNO/NLOS service currently commissioned from St Mungos Broadway until March 2017 to allow sufficient time to ascertain the effectiveness of the streamlining of the two services.


Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

1.1    Among the Mayor’s key aims in his London Housing Strategy are to ensure that no-one lives on the streets of London and that no-one arriving on the streets sleeps out for a second night. The Mayor is seeking to achieve these aims through a combination of strong strategic leadership and the active involvement of a range of partners, and the funding and commissioning of a range of pan-London rough sleeping services.

1.2    The funding and responsibility for pan-London rough sleeping services were devolved from central government to the Mayor in 2011. These are services, projects and initiatives that are pan-London or multi-borough and cannot or would not be provided at a borough level. They complement and supplement those provided or commissioned by boroughs, which have the primary responsibility, and receive the bulk of government funding, for providing or commissioning services. However, rough sleepers are a highly mobile group, often with no local connection to a London borough or – increasingly - anywhere in the UK, who move across borough boundaries and there are often critical gaps in service provision, especially in outer London. Responding to their needs therefore often requires a pan-London response.

1.3    Between 2011 and 2016, the Mayor has committed almost £87 million to tackling rough sleeping – over £42 million for services, almost £40 million for improving hostels, and £5 million for a permanent home for No Second Night Out (NSNO). In addition, the GLA has administered the world’s first rough sleeping Social Impact Bond, investing up to £5 million between 2012 and 2015.

1.4    The current programme, which runs to 31 March 2016, comprises a suite of highly successful services and initiatives (see Appendix 1). These have had, and continue to have, a major impact on rough sleeping in the capital. The commissioning of these services has been underpinned by the Mayor’s Rough Sleeping Commissioning Framework 2011-15 , which was developed in consultation with key partners and was subject to public consultation.

1.5    With the current programme ending on 31 March 2016, it is proposed that a new suite of services is commissioned, to run from 1 April 2016 to 31 March 2020 and at a cost of around £8.45 million a year. It is proposed that the GLA contracts with organisations to deliver a range of services for three years (with the option exercisable at the discretion of the GLA to extend for two separate further years). The only exception to this is the combined NSNO/NLOS service, the current contract for which will be extended for a year to 31 March 2017; this year extension will allow sufficient time to ascertain the effectiveness of the streamlining of the two services before reprocuring. The service will then procured for three further years, with an option exercisable at the discretion of the GLA to extend for one further year (see section 2.3 below). Some of the current services were commissioned in 2011 for three years and then extended for one year (because of the one year funding settlement for 2015/16). In addition due to the changes in demographic of the rough sleeping population in London it is a sensible time to re-procure in tandem with the publication of the new Commissioning Framework.  As there will be a new Mayoralty in May 2016, the options of further contract extensions, or reprocuring one year renewable contracts, have been considered. 

1.6    The option of reprocuring one year renewable contracts has been rejected because it would be costly and inefficient. The amount of officer time involved a major procurement for such a short timeframe would be high, as would the cost of the services themselves, as mobilisation costs would not be able to be spread over a reasonable period of time. Furthermore, where there are new services, or where, for continuing services, a provider other than the current incumbent wins the contract, the mobilisation period could take up a quarter or even half of the entire period of the contract.

1.7    The option of a contract extension has also been rejected. Lengthy extensions with the current incumbents would open the GLA up to a risk of challenge from other suppliers. In addition, reprocurement rather than contract extension provides far greater opportunities:
•    to reshape services, such as those dealing with reconnections and tenancy sustainment, to better meet current needs and to therefore improve outcomes 
•    to secure far better value for money, for example through the introduction of payment by results and the reconfiguration of some contracts (for example, the Clearing House and CHAIN are currently under one contract and it is anticipated that a cheaper option will be to split them between two).

1.8    However, in order to avoid fettering the discretion of any successor administration, all contracts will contain no fault break clauses as well as the flexibility to increase or decrease services.

1.9    To inform the new commissioning round, the Rough Sleeping Commissioning Framework 2011-15 has been refreshed, to take into account some significant changes to the rough sleeping landscape in the capital in recent years. The new Framework has been subject to consultation with key partners and is based on a thorough needs assessment. It is proposed that the framework be published on the GLA website by the end of July 2015.
The scale and nature of rough sleeping.

1.10    In 2014/15, 7,581 people slept out, with numbers rising year on year and an overall increase of around 150 per cent since 2008/9 . Over a quarter of the UK’s rough sleepers are in London, reflecting the fact that some of the systematic factors that can contribute to rough sleeping – such as migration and affordability pressures – are particularly pronounced in the capital. 

The number and profile of people sleeping rough in London

















% non-UK








% Central and Eastern European








% new to the streets








% with no second night out








% living on the streets*








% of new rough sleepers that are non-UK








* also seen sleeping rough in the previous financial year. Source: CHAIN

1.11    The biggest challenge is the growing number of non-UK nationals sleeping rough. As the table above shows, in 2014/15, this group accounted for 57% of London’s rough sleepers and more than a third of all rough sleepers came from Central and Eastern Europe. 62 per cent of all new rough sleepers last year were non-UK nationals.

The success of the Mayor’s rough sleeping services

1.12    The Mayor’s services focus on three key areas 
•    services to identify rough sleepers and prevent them from becoming entrenched by moving them off the streets quickly 
•    services to ensure that no one lives on the streets 
•    services to sustain former rough sleepers who move into their own tenancies.

1.13    Responsibility for preventing people from sleeping rough in the first place lies largely with the boroughs. Many boroughs (particularly those in central and inner London) also provide reactive services for rough sleepers. Services for this group are also provided by the voluntary, faith-based and community sector. 

1.14    Key successes of the current programme include the following:

•    in each quarter of each year, over 90% of those accessing GLA-commissioned rough sleeping services exit rough sleeping
•    between 1 April 2011 and 31 March 2015, almost 7,000 new rough sleepers were brought into No Second Night Out (NSNO) from the street - 42% of the 16,493 new arrivals onto the street. 78% of these have not been seen sleeping rough in London since attending the service. As a result of the service, in 2014/15 67% of all new rough sleepers in the capital did not spend a second night out – compared to 57% in 2008/9 (when the number of new rough sleepers was only about a third of what it is now)
•    64% of the 670 clients seen by the No Living on the Streets (NLOS) service between December 2012 and 30 June 2014 did not return to rough sleeping. In the six months since this service has been streamlined with NSNO (October 2014 to March 2015), 69% of the 262 clients seen did not return to rough sleeping
•    between 1 April 2011 and 31 March 2015, the Clearing House has facilitated sustainable lettings to Rough Sleepers Initiative (RSI) properties for over 1,000 rough sleepers 
•    each year, the Tenancy Sustainment Teams support over 1,500 people in RSI properties, with an average of 91% of tenancies sustained each year
•    between 1 April 2011 and 31 March 2015, the London Reconnections Team successfully reconnected over 1,600 people with support needs to 36 different countries with which they had a connection – an average of 400 each year
•    since it launched in 2009, the Non-UK Nationals Project has helped over 1,300 people off the streets, of whom 1,239 have been reconnected and 72 have secured employment in the UK and moved into private rented accommodation 
•    between 1 April 2011 and 31 March 2015, the London Street Rescue pan-London outreach service helped over 2,700 people into accommodation - an average of over 675 each year. During 2014/15, the team, which conducts around 1,500 shifts per year, responded to 4,500 referrals made to StreetLink – the service through which the public can report people sleeping rough 
•    the CHAIN database of London’s rough sleepers is currently used by almost 800 users in a wide range of services. It contains details of tens of thousands of rough sleepers that have slept out in London since the late 1990s and has around a million actions and outcomes for recorded for these
•    StreetLink has nationally taken over 90,000 calls from members of the public and other organisations reporting concerns about rough sleeping since it was set up in 2013, over 70% of which were in London. 10,675 of those calls have resulted in referrals for rough sleepers to outreach teams and 4,416 of the referrals have resulted in a positive outcome for the rough sleeper
•    the Severe Weather Emergency Provision (SWEP) has complemented borough provision, enabling 297 people to come inside during the very coldest weather  over the last three winters

Why the GLA should fund these services
1.15    Boroughs do not have a statutory responsibility for most rough sleepers, which limits their appetite for devoting resources to this group. This is increasingly the case, with squeezed budgets and heavy demands on them from statutory groups. Services for rough sleepers with no local connection, in particular, are unlikely to be provided at a local level. With the number of transient and mobile rough sleepers in the capital increasing, this is becoming more of an issue. 

1.16    It is not economically viable for individual boroughs to deliver services where the number of rough sleepers is low. The numbers of rough sleepers in many of the boroughs, particularly those in outer London, are low, so for many boroughs it makes no economic sense to commission services individually. While joint commissioning is possible, there are very few examples of this having been successful for social care services, and there are no examples of this for rough sleeping services. Pan-London services clearly come with economies of scale, as well as enabling greater co-ordination between boroughs. There may, however, be scope in the future for the GLA to receive funding from boroughs for services that are filling gaps (rather than performing a pan-London function), principally core outreach services.

1.17    Funding for rough sleeping services is extremely limited. Funding for boroughs’ rough sleeping services comes mainly from central government homelessness grant. Across the capital this amounts to around £33 million in 2013/14, though this funding is not ringfenced and in most boroughs is devoted mainly to tackling statutory homelessness rather than rough sleeping.  

1.18    There are also a variety of ad hoc grants available for services to address rough sleeping, which vary in size from small charitable grants to more substantial ones. There is also a London Councils grant programme, which is providing £1.9 million in 2013-15 for early intervention and prevention in relation to homelessness. In addition, there are occasional one-off national central government programmes, such as the Fair Chance Fund and Help for Single Homeless Fund.

1.19    However, piecemeal grants provide neither a sufficient level of funding nor the medium to long term certainty required to meet the needs of London’s rough sleepers and to have the impact needed to tackle this enduring issue.

1.20    There is no alternative source of funding for these services, so without the Mayor’s investment, there would be a dramatic increase in the number of new rough sleepers becoming entrenched and the number of entrenched rough sleepers remaining on, or returning to, the streets. 

1.21    City governments in other world cities provide services for rough sleepers. In the vast majority of capital cities, the city mayor is responsible for commissioning services or provides a clear strategic view on the direction of services. In New York, for example, Mayor de Blasio has just commissioned outreach as well as a vast range of wrap around services to reduce rough sleeping . The pan-London work undertaken by the GLA since 2008 is world-renowned and models developed here have been replicated elsewhere, both nationally and abroad. See Appendix 2 for the incidence of rough sleeping in world cities.

1.22    The Mayor’s rough sleeping services represent excellent value for money. Services to address rough sleeping result in significant savings to the public purse, with the estimated cost of rough sleeping ranging from £20,000 to £48,000 a year per person   . It is estimated that the annual cost of hospital treatment for homeless people is at least £85 million a year . Savings arise as a result of improved outcomes in areas such as mental and physical health, social care and employment, and a lower incidence of crime and anti-social behaviour. The cost savings and other benefits that accrue as a result of the Mayor’s programme outweigh the costs:
•    No Second Night Out: in 2014/15, the average service cost for each client seen by NSNO was around £1,200 – only 6% of the low-end estimate of the annual cost to the public purse of each rough sleeper
•    No Living on the Streets: in 2014/15, the average service cost for each client seen by NLOS was around £2,600 – only around 13% of the low-end estimate of the annual cost to the public purse of each rough sleeper
•    London Street Rescue: in 2014/15 the service cost for each person seen was around £300 – only 1.5% of the low-end estimate of the annual cost to the public purse of each rough sleeper
•    Clearing House: in 2014/15, Clearing House facilitated 350 tenancies in RSI properties, at a service cost of around £500 per tenancy. Lettings agencies can charge local authorities a placement fee of between £2,000 to £3,000 to place homeless clients in the private rented sector, so the Clearing House represents good value within this context. In addition, Clearing House ensures that the lettings made are sustainable, so resulting in fewer tenancy breakdowns and reducing the numbers returning to the streets
•    Tenancy Sustainment Teams: the average cost of providing tenancy sustainment support to each for the 1,800 clients supported in 2014/15 was £1,500. This is significantly lower than the cost of tenancy breakdown and provision of temporary accommodation (estimated at least £3,800 a year).
•    London Reconnections Team: the average cost of each of the 385 reconnections made by the London Reconnections Team in 2014/15 was £941 – less than 5% of the low-end estimate of the annual cost to the public purse of each rough sleeper
•    CHAIN: while it is not possible to calculate a monetary saving resulting from CHAIN, the provision of detailed information about each client with whom services have contact enables better outcomes for individuals, including the resolution of their rough sleeping, thus resulting in savings to the public purse. The provision of aggregate information enables early identification of trends and issues and, therefore, swift strategic and service responses to be made.

1.23    The proposed level investment of £8.45 million a year is the same as it has been since 2011, yet numbers of rough sleepers has almost doubled. When responsibility for the programme was devolved to the GLA, the services being delivered for the £8.45 million a year of funding were far more limited than they are now. For example, the GLA is delivering major new services - NSNO and NLOS – without the need for additional funding. Excellent service planning and rigorous procurement therefore mean that the GLA is delivering far more within the same funding envelope. The GLA is also operating the world’s first Rough Sleeping Social Impact Bond, based entirely on payment by results, and will, where appropriate, incorporate an element of payment by results into its new programme.  


Objectives and expected outcomes

2.1    It is proposed that the following services are procured:
•    London Street Rescue
•    CHAIN
•    Clearing House
•    London Reconnections Service
•    Tenancy Sustainment Teams
•    No Second Night Out (NSNO)
•    No Living on the Street (NLOS)
•    Severe weather emergency provision
•    StreetLink
2.2    Informed by the evidence base, the Commissioning Framework and consultation with key stakeholders, there will be some fundamental changes to some services:
•    supporting people in RSI tenancies: currently the Tenancy Sustainment Teams focus on supporting former rough sleepers in RSI properties to sustain tenancies. However, the new service will have a much greater emphasis on supporting people into employment and training, with the aim of moving them on to appropriate accommodation and away from rough sleeping services. This will not only help people rebuild their lives but will also create greater throughput within RSI properties, increasing the number of rough sleepers who will be able to benefit from this accommodation and the accompanying support
•    reconnecting non-UK nationals: a new service will bring together the service dealing with supported reconnections abroad and the provision of accommodation for those needing it during the period leading up to reconnection, plus legal services. The service will also expand to include all non-UK nationals rather than only those from EU countries. It is anticipated that a more streamlined approach to reconnection will yield significantly better results than are currently being achieved with services that are fragmented.
2.3    There is provision within the current contract to extend NSNO for a further year. Given the recent streamlining of this service with NLOS in September 2014, the proposal is to extend this service for a further year to ascertain the effectiveness of this streamlining.  The new service would then be commissioned to commence on 1 April 2017 (see Section 1.5 above). 
2.4    The key objective of the programme is to meet the Mayor’s rough sleeping aims, so that no-one lives on the streets and new arrivals do not spend a second night out. As currently, each service will have milestones and stretching targets and KPIs built into its contract, potentially, and where appropriate, payment by result with incentives for achieving these (or penalties for not doing so). It is anticipated that these will remain the same for the duration of the contracts, though some minor variations to the contracts may be necessary (in agreement with the service provider) to ensure that services remain as strategically relevant as possible throughout the contract period.

2.5    The programme will have the following high level KPIs:
•    number of people exiting rough sleeping as a result of GLA-funded services (80 per cent each year)
•    number of new rough sleepers not spending a second night out as a result of GLA-funded services (90 per cent each quarter, 80 per cent each year)
•    number of former rough sleepers sustaining their tenancies as a result of GLA-funded services (95 per cent each year)
2.6    There will, in addition, be more detailed KPIs for each service. Examples of key KPIs and milestones for currently contracted projects are set out in Appendix 4. 

Equality comments

3.1    Of those seen rough sleeping in 2013/14:
•    54% were non-UK nationals
•    46% had a mental health need
•    13% were women
•    most of those seen rough sleeping (57%) were in the 26-45 age group
•    12% were under 26 years old
•    10% were over 55
•    11 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

Key risks and issues

Risk description



Mitigating action


With the reduction of rough sleeping being a clear policy and the problem in London showing no sign of abating, there would be a serious reputational risk to the Mayor if he were to cut or reduce resources in this area. Indeed, in 2013, the plan to divert resources from the GLA’s rough sleeping budget attracted significant and high profile criticism from both the homelessness sector and from central government.  

High risk      

Fund the programme at the average annual level of the last four years - £8.45 million.

Uncertainty amongst providers about the GLA’s future commissioning intentions will damage service provision during 2015/16

Low risk           

Robust contract monitoring and excellent relationships between the GLA and service providers will continue during 2015/16 to ensure there is no dip in performance. 

Services may not be reprocured in sufficient time to enable them to be in place by 1 April 2016



GLA officers are working closely with TfL Procurement to a robust procurement timetable and with TfL Procurement support throughout

There may be insufficient time to mobilise new services, or to mobilise current services where a new provider has been procured

Low risk           

The procurement timetable will allow sufficient time for services to be in place by 1 April 2016

That the GLA will not commission the most appropriate and relevant services

Low risk           

The new Commissioning Framework, which will underpin commissioning priorities and decisions, has been developed in a robust way, including widespread consultation with key partners and a needs assessment

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

Low risk           

Robust contracts, contract monitoring and excellent relationships between the GLA and service will ensure that poor performance is identified and rectified quickly and appropriately.

The number of rough sleepers may reduce to the point where the services are no longer required, or required at the levels specified in contracts, or the nature of rough sleeping may change, making certain services 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 Rough Sleeping Group). Contracts can be varied to incorporate new or different requirements and all will contain break clauses to allow for termination should this be necessary. 

A new Mayor, elected in May 2016, may want to change or decommission services that have contracts that run for a number of years

Low risk           

All political parties share a commitment to reduce rough sleeping, so there is little risk, at a strategic level, that this would not be a priority for a new Mayor. Given the high profile and strong all-party support for the Mayor having responsibility for funding and commissioning rough sleeping services, stepping back from doing so would be a significant reputational risk for a new Mayor. However, in the unlikely event of a new Mayor wanting to change or stop funding services, there would be scope in the providers’ contracts to allow for this.

Links to Mayoral strategies and priorities 
The objectives of the proposals are in line with the Mayor’s London Housing Strategy priority 39: The Mayor will 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.  

Impact assessments and consultation 
The draft Commissioning Framework has been subject to consultation with key stakeholders. In addition to this consultation meetings have taken place with: DCLG, key London boroughs, St Mungo’s Broadway, Thames Reach, Connections St Martins, The Passage, Crisis, Homeless Link, Look Ahead, One Housing Group, Groundswell, St John of God Hospitallier service, the Metropolitan Police Service, Immigration Compliance and Enforcement Team as well internal GLA teams including MOPAC. A service user consultation is also taking place. 

Financial comments

5.1    The GLA’s 2015-17 Business Plan allocates £8.45 million a year for the Mayor’s rough sleeping services in 2015/16 and 2016/17, subject to review for 2016/17 at budget setting for that year.
5.2    As the 2016/17 budget will be the last to be set by the current Mayor, all contracts will contain an appropriate break clause as well as the flexibility to increase or decrease services.
5.3    The Programme Policy and Services team within Housing and Land will be responsible for managing this programme and ensuring that all activities and associated expenditure complies with the Authority’s Financial Regulations, Contracts &Funding Code and Expenses and Benefits Framework. 


Investment and Performance Board

The funding and procurement of the Mayor’s programme of rough sleeping services was considered by IPB (with Stages 1 and 2 papers received simultaneously) on 17 June. The Board considered a report proposing the procurement of a programme of pan-London rough sleeping services, in line with the Mayor’s Rough Sleeping Commissioning Framework, which would run from 1 April 2016 to 31 March 2020. The Assistant Director, Programme, Policy and Services, Housing and Land confirmed that there were a number of programmes which aimed to support foreign nationals who were rough sleepers.

The following decision was agreed that the Stage 1 (Strategic Case) and Stage 2 (Investment Proposal) to fund and procurement the Mayor’s programme of pan-London rough sleeping services from 1 April 2016 to 31 March 2020 at a total cost of £33.8 million (£8.45 million a year) be approved in principal.

The funding and procurement of the Mayor’s programme of rough sleeping services was considered by the Housing Investment Group (HIG) on 19 June. HIG members approved this in principal and noted that this is very important programme of work.  

Planned delivery approach and next steps



Procurement of contract [for externally delivered projects]

Start process 1 July 2015

Contract award 15 March 2016

Announcement [if applicable]

15 March 2016

Delivery Start Date [for project proposals]

1 April 2016

Final evaluation start and finish (self) of new Tenancy Sustainment Team and London Reconnections Project

June 2017

Delivery End Date [for project proposals]

31 March 2020

Project Closure: [for project proposals]




MD approval (subject to IPB approval in principle)

End of June 2015

Publication of Rough Sleeping Commissioning Framework 2016-20

End of June 2015

Procurement of contracts (other than NSNO/NLOS)

Start process 1 July 2015

Contract award 15 March 2016

Delivery start date 1 April 2016

One year contract extension for NSNO/NLOS

1 April 2016

Contract monitoring


Procurement of NSNO/NLOS

Start process 1 July 2016

Contract award 15 March 2017

Delivery start date 1 April 2017

Evaluation of new Tenancy Sustainment Team and London Reconnections Service (GLA)

June 2017

One year contract extensions (other than NSNO/NLOS) – subject to review and approval

1 April 2019

Delivery end date

31 March 2020

Project closure

31 March 2020

One year contract extensions – subject to review and approval

1 April 2020

Appendices and supporting papers

Appendix 1      Rough sleeping services commissioned in 2015-16

Appendix 2      Rough sleeping in other world cities

Appendix 3      The draft Mayor’s Rough Sleeping Commissioning Framework

Appendix 4      Key KPIs and milestones for current services

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