CANNOCK CHASE COUNCIL
Severe Weather Emergency Protocol
For Rough Sleepers
Revised October 2018
Purpose of the protocol
Trigger for putting the protocol into place
Monitoring and review
1.1 Rough sleeping is the most extreme and visible form of homelessness and yet many rough sleepers, they do not qualify under the homelessness legislation as being eligible for housing assistance. A Government commitment is that no rough sleeper should have to spend a second night out (Rough Sleeping No Second Night Out July 2011) and SWEP Guidance (2018) from Homelessness Link www.homeless.org.uk
1.2 The Council is committed to working with partners to link roughsleepers with the services that can help them find a way off the streets and into settled accommodation. However, in times of extreme and cold weather, rough sleepers are particularly vulnerable to harm and death.
1.3 This Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP) sets out the arrangements that Cannock Chase Council will put in place to ensure that people are not at risk on the streets in the Cannock Chase area during extreme cold weather.
1.4The Protocol will be in place from 01/12/18 until 31/03/19 and at any time where the criteria at section 3 applies.
2. Purpose of the Protocol
2.1 This protocol will ensure that the Council takes the necessary action to ensure that all rough sleepers have the opportunity to have access to shelter if it is believed that they are at risk due to sleeping rough during severe cold weather
3. Triggers for putting the protocol into place
3.1 Historically SWEP has been triggered when temperatures have been forecast at zero degrees or below for three consecutive days. However, this advice to Local Authorities was updated in October 2018 and now recommends a common sense approach is taken, where the impact of rain, snow and wind chill are taken into account, and the 'feels like' temperature is checked, along with conditions underfoot (i.e. ice), when deciding to implement the SWEP provision.
3.2 Therefore, taking into account the revised recommendations the SWEP Provision for Cannock Chase Council will be implemented if the following criteria applies:
The temperature is forecast to drop to zero degrees celsius or below on a single night or consecutive nights. In addition, local conditions such as prolonged periods of heavy rainfall, flooding, snow on the ground, severe high winds, wind chill and other predicted extreme weathers will also be considered as potential triggers.
3.3 The Housing Options Team receives weather alerts direct via email from the Civil Contingencies Unit and the regional weather forecast will be checked daily on the Met Office website www.metoffice.gov.uk if the above criteria are met the SWEP will be implemented.
3.4 SWEP will be deactivated when the forecast predicts temperatures of 1 degree celcius or above for two or more consecutive nights, however, as previously stated local conditions of prolonged periods of extreme weather will be considered when deactivating SWEP.
3.5 The Council’s website wwwcannockchasedc.gov.uk will be updated to advise members of the Public and Statutory/Voluntary agencies that the Protocol has been implemented and to refer any rough sleeper identified within the Cannock Chase District to the Housing Options Team direct on 01543 462621, the same contact number applies for the ‘Out of Hours’ Homelessness service
4.1 The Council will not apply Part VII Housing Act 1996 criteria (as amended by the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017) that govern access to housing when deciding whether to assist a person sleeping rough during the period of the SWEP. As a result that the individual concerned will not be required to demonstrate eligibility for assistance (including whether they have any recourse to public funds), priority need, intentionality or local connection.
4.2 The individual concerned must only:
- Be at risk if they continue to sleep rough during the course of the severe weather.
- Have no where to sleep indoors during the period of the severe weather period.
- (indoors does not include cars, sheds or garages)
- Agrees to the assistance offered by the Council.
4.3 Many entrenched rough sleepers may be wary of services and less likely to engage. However, extreme cold weather increases the risk of death or serious illness to people who sleep rough. Continued refusal to accept assistance during severe weather conditions this time may therefore; provide grounds to trigger referrals to other services, such as mental health services to safeguard the individual.
5.1 If the rough sleeper meets the eligibility criteria (detailed in Section 4) they will be offered accommodation for the duration of the severe weather
5.2 Within office hours the Housing Options Team will mange the arrangements for booking of emergency accommodation. Outside of office hours the Council’s ‘Out of Hours’ Homelessness Service will arrange to place rough sleepers into emergency accommodation during the time the SWEP is in operation. The contact number is 01543 462621
5.3 All rough sleepers placed into emergency accommodation when the SWEP is in operation will receive a housing options assessment and referred to other agencies for support, subject to their consent.
5.4 Once the minimum temperatutre is predicted to have risen above zero degrees Celcius, emergency accommodation will no longer be provided.
5.5 The rough sleeper will continue to be offered advice and assistance to deal with their longer term issue of homelessness.
5.6 If any incidents of anti-social behaviour or unacceptable behaviour occur during the period of the time that the emergency accommodation is being provided, the Housing Options Team will review the assistance being provided to see if there are any alternative ways to prevent rough sleeping during the severe weather whilst at the same time managing the risks.
5.7 The temporary accommodation accessed will comprise of Hostel, Supported Accommodation, Bed & Breakfast establishments
6. Financial Implecations
6.1 The cost of providing emergency accommodation during the SWEP will be met from existing Council resources: The Bed and Breakfast Budget, Government Homelessness Prevention Fund and Housing Benefit.
7. Monitoring & Review
7.1 The following information will be recorded and used to monitor the extent of rough sleeping in the district.
- Source of the referral
- Number and composition of rough sleepers
- Number of nights accommodated
- The cost of emergency accommodation provided
- Information from the Housing Options assessment
- Referrals to partner/voluntary agencies
8. Partner Agencies
Copies of the Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP) sent to the agencies listed below:
Adullam Housing Association
Birch and Samson
Sanctuary / Beth Johnson
Wrekin Housing Trust
Cannock Chase NHS Primary Care Trust
Adult Services (Social Services)
Leaving Care (Social Services)
Staffordshire Probation Service
National Probation Service
Age Concern Staffordshire
Addiction Dependancy Solutions
Leaving Care (Social Worker)
Staffordshire Children's Placement Service
Staffordshire Youth Offending Team
Staffordshire Womens Aid
Substance Misuse Commissioning Team
Community Safety Team
South Staffordshire Network for Mental Health
CCDC Housing Options
Cannock Advice Centre
South Staffordshire Family Mediation Service
Pye Green Christian Centre and
Cannock District Food Banks
Cannock Lions Club - Portakabin
Staffordshire Support (formerley Chase CVS)
9. Your Views
9.1 As a reader of this protocol your views are important, please contact us if you have any comments on any aspect of the information provided.
For further information please contact:
Carole Makeham, Housing Options Team Leader
Housing Options Team
Civic Centre, Beecroft Road, PO Box 28, Cannock, Staffordshire, WS11 1BG
Tel: 01543 462621
Fax: 01543 464339
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Last Updated: 18/12/2018