On May 21 iStandUK with iNetwork held a Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Workshop. The workshop was inspiring and it succeeded in bringing delegates together to share, learn, help and support each other. Furthermore, it looked to deliver results for Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) evaluation of the ‘Somewhere Safe to Stay (SSTS)’ Hubs, introduced by government in August 2018.
Shelley Heckman welcomed delegates and explained the objectives of the workshop were to identify whether an individual who has entered the SSTS Hubs can be identified in rough sleeping outreach data and that the workshop aimed to bring together delegates to link and analyse their data.
It has been great to get an insight from a collective group
The workshop began with an update from MHCLG colleagues Clare Hyde and Mike Brookes on the SSTS Hubs and the process of the evaluation all Hubs would be required to complete. The evaluation they explained consisted of three parts:
- Impact (data-driven) evaluation to understand how effective the pilots are at reducing rough sleeping.
- Economic evaluation to understand how cost-effective the pilots are.
- Process (qualitative) evaluation to understand what contributes to success, and how the hubs work with other local services.
The evaluation will help MHCLG to identify how effective the SSTS Hubs are at reducing rough sleeping and support future funding bids.
Introductions done at #roughsleepingdata - good and varied group of people here - data people, policy people, and front-line people dealing with homelessness and related issues from a range of organisations - local authorities, central gov, academia & 3rd sector.— Jamie Whyte (@northernjamie) May 21, 2019
Delegates were then asked to review the individual journey of those rough sleepers entering the SSTS Hubs and discuss any similarities, differences and improvements. The purpose of this exercise was to identify rough sleepers who were maintaining a tenancy agreement after they left the Hub and any gaps that could inform future strategy and pathways. The group discussion led to some valid feedback, as delegates discussed the feasibility of tracking individuals into tenancies and beyond as not practical because in some cases rough sleepers were inconsistent with leaving any address or contact details.
After a short break, Paul Davidson from iStandUK introduced the data landscape and how delegates can use the iStandUK framework to look at the data contexts, standards for data sharing and data licencing. The seven areas of data context are: operational, statistical, analytical, reference and political. In order to use this framework, delegates then discussed that having access to different data from housing associations, health organisations and police would allow them to capture their own data readiness, which in turn would help those working with rough sleepers to better understand any barriers and their journey.
The event was useful for data validation & will use this when I go back to my organisation
Furthermore, the agenda looked to explore data matching algorithms and after lunch Alex Haines from Bristol City Council showcased how at Bristol City Council they have used a sequel service system to link together different data sources. This would be useful for the purpose of this workshop, however data matching is not a perfect science and there will always be a margin of error and it would be difficult to data match rough sleepers because they would rarely have a single place of residence.
The most practical benefit was the data matching algorithm that Bristol City Council have used and will be keen to explore this
The final discussion of the day was led by Jamie Whyte from Propolis on any potential barriers that could be identified to the evaluation. In conclusion, three barriers were identified, there were concerns over the quality and accuracy of the data, how to record the data when it is recorded differently and the lack of capacity which would mean extra administrative tasks would create burden over any core tasks.
The workshop was brought to a close and delegates reflected on the day, the next workshop is aimed to collate all the information from the self-assessments and provide proposals about the work necessary to improve homelessness and rough sleeping data in the longer-term.
Today has been useful in seeing the role of MHCLG to coordinate this and so that they understand what is going on