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Protocol between Housing Services, Children’s Social Care and other related services in respect of out of hours Representations of Roofless 16 and 17 year olds

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

This Out of Hours Protocol supplements the general Protocol on services for homeless 16 and 17 year olds. Both Housing Services and Children's Social Care have responsibilities towards roofless 16 and 17 year olds and services from other agencies are also available to meet their immediate needs for overnight shelter. This Protocol sets out how respective services will work together to provide roofless young people with safe accommodation out of normal office hours.

AMENDMENT

This chapter was reviewed and updated throughout in May 2015. It should be read in full.

Contents

  1. Agreed Vision
  2. Aims
  3. Objectives
  4. Systems and Processes
  5. Specific Provision and Agreements
  6. Partner Agencies and Roles
  7. Related Forums, Plans and Ownership
  8. Relevant Legislation
  9. Key Contacts

1. Agreed Vision

Young person centred services that link together to provide joined up initial screening and safe accommodation until individual needs and circumstances can be more fully assessed.

2. Aims

  • To provide safe accommodation overnight, at weekends and during bank holiday periods;
  • To provide sufficient initial screening to ensure that immediate welfare and health needs are identified and addressed;
  • To route the young person seamlessly through to homelessness services on the next working day;
  • To avoid use of Bed and Breakfast and to ensure that if Bed and Breakfast is used in exceptional circumstances, it is used safely.

3. Objectives

  • Common knowledge of out of hours provision and collective understanding of routes into it;
  • Delivery of appropriate, safe accommodation;
  • Information sharing to support initial screening and safe onward pathway to next working day services;
  • Linked approaches within existing options and commissioning of complimentary emergency options to meet any recognised gaps;
  • Establishment of agreed screening and risk assessment if Bed and Breakfast is used in exceptional circumstances.

4. Systems and Processes

In order to avoid the dangers of street homelessness, any recognised agency can refer a roofless 16 or 17 year old out of hours to the following provision, taking account of time of night:

  • Nightstop – referrals accepted only from recognised agencies up to 9.00 pm
  • Homeless hubs (Octavia Court only) – referrals accepted all hours

Roofless young people may also refer themselves directly to Octavia Court but should refer themselves to Nightstop through either the Police or the Social Services Emergency Duty Team.

Providers will be responsible for undertaking their own risk assessments and initial screening of young people. These should be fit for purpose and should aim to identify any immediate welfare or health-related need, particularly any concerns related to self harm. With the consent of the young person (or without consent where circumstances justify dispensing with it), agencies should share information relevant to the provision of accommodation. The Emergency Duty team should be contacted to check whether a young person is known to Children's Services and whether Children's Services has information relevant to their health or welfare.

Young people present in a range of widely differing circumstances and providers will need to recognise those who may face ongoing risk of harm (such as forced marriage) in case additional safety measures are required.

Providers will take responsibility for directing young people to appropriate services the following day and, with appropriate regard to issues of consent, to passing on relevant information that might contribute to a smooth reception and appropriate action by those services.

Some young people homeless due to parental exclusion may become reconciled with parents by the next working day and immediately return home. It is likely that most young people will require onward direction to statutory services, with joint consideration of their needs by both housing and children's services. Joint services provided by Housing Options and Leaving Care are based within the Information Shop for Young People at Culture Fusion, 125 Thornton Road, Bradford BD1 2EP Tel: 01274 432 431. A youth homelessness worker is on duty daily and can also be contacted through Leaving Care (Tel: 01274 436 760).

Providers should ensure that vulnerable young people at risk of ongoing harm reach daytime services safely through prior discussion with the duty youth homelessness worker, particularly where secure arrangements are required.

Providers will periodically share anonymous information about the provision of services, the numbers and characteristics of young people involved in order to assist future planning.

5. Specific Provision and Agreements

Nightstop: Nightstop is a voluntary sector provider able to arrange overnight stays for 16 to 25 year olds in a host household. Referral is via telephone to a Duty Co-ordinator who will screen referrals on the basis of scheme criteria and information given by the referring agency. Young people are given individual information about pick up arrangements. Young people often find that the value of the arrangement is that volunteers are providing accommodation "for them" and not as a job or for reward and that the organisation is not directly linked to statutory services. Nightstop has agreed that at weekends and bank holiday periods, it will book 16 and 17 year olds with hosts for the entire period until normal daytime services resume (other young people have to rebook on the Saturday by presenting at the Young Peoples Information Shop at Culture Fusion). The normal arrangement would be for the Nightstop host to provide the young person with the means to get to daytime housing and children's services at Culture Fusion. With the young person's consent, Nightstop may alert the Duty Youth Homelessness worker on the next working day to facilitate smooth arrangements.

Octavia Court: At Octavia Court there is an overnight room and space in the playroom that can be used for a young person. Where a 16 or 17 year old is admitted, Octavia Court will liaise with Emergency Duty Team for relevant screening information, taking into account consent issues, and Emergency Duty Team will include the Duty Youth Homelessness worker in next working day notifications through fax to Leaving Care at Odsal. During weekend and bank holiday periods, young people may require a small amount of finance for food or a change of clothes and, following agreement through Emergency Duty team, Leaving Care will reimburse these amounts. Octavia Court will notify daytime services of any ongoing risk of harm so that safe arrangements can be made for the young person's reception. In exceptional circumstances where no other arrangements are possible, the Duty Youth Homelessness Worker can refer directly to Octavia Court a vulnerable young person whose placement elsewhere would constitute a serious risk of self harm.

Emergency Duty Team: The Team provides a Duty Worker who operates out of hours to cover essential functions for both Children's Services and Adult Services. The Duty Worker has access to information in Children's Services records. In youth homeless cases, the Duty Worker is able provide advice, to broker arrangements by telephone and make referrals to relevant provision. On the next working day, the Team informs the relevant section of Children's Services of action undertaken, usually through fax reports.

Bed and Breakfast: The placement of roofless 16 and 17 year olds in Bed and Breakfast accommodation is unsuitable and should only be used in exceptional circumstances as a last resort to avoid street homelessness if all other options have been explored. Any young person placed in Bed and Breakfast must be physically seen and screened with a risk assessment completed.

6. Partner Agencies and Roles

Incommunities

Bradford's Community Housing Trust providing "temporary accommodation" to meet statutory housing duties for homeless families and individuals in "priority need". Incommunities is also Bradford's largest social landlord.

Children's Social Care / Leaving Care Service

Children's Act assessments, social care support and accommodation. Employs Youth Homelessness Workers who work with Housing Options workers on needs of homeless 16 and 17 year olds.

Housing Options Service

The Council's housing service for homeless people, providing advice and homelessness assessments.

Centrepoint

Voluntary sector provider of supported accommodation holding the Adult Services - Housing Related Support contract for the 16 to 25 year old sector.

Adult Services - Housing Related Support

Commissioner of supported accommodation and housing related support.

Leaving Care Contracted Projects

Contracted accommodation providers where Leaving Care hold nomination rights.

Culture Fusion

Multi agency centre run by YMCA to provide a range of services to young people including the Information Shop for Young People.

Nightstop

Voluntary sector provider of overnight accommodation with host households.

Octavia Court

Homelessness provision run by Incommunities, holding homeless hub contract for Bradford South.

Information Shop for Young People

Part of the Council's Youth Service provision and based in Culture Fusion. There is also an Information Shop for Young People in Keighley.

Local Authority Commissioners

Commissioning and contact management and related support.

Related Strategic Forums:

  • Homelessness Strategic Core Group;
  • Housing Related Support Commissioning Body;
  • Looked After Strategy Sub group.

Related Operational Forums:

  • Youth Homelessness Front Line Managers Meetings;
  • Leaving Care Accommodation Forum.

Key Strategic Ownership:

  • Senior Management Teams in Housing and Children's Services.

Key Operational Ownership:

  • Service Manager - Housing Options Service;
  • Unit Manager - Octavia Court;
  • Team Manager - Nightstop;
  • Team Manager (Housing) - Leaving Care Service.

Related Plans:

  • Homelessness Strategy;
  • Youth Homelessness Strategy;
  • Children and Young Peoples Plan.

Monitoring and Review:

  • Operational monitoring through Leaving Care.

8. Relevant Legislation

9. Key Contacts

Octavia Court: 01274 257 600
Nightstop: 01274 499 094
Social Services Emergency Duty: 01274 431 010
Housing Options Service: 01274 435 999
Duty Youth Homelessness Worker: Contactable at Information Shop for Young People based at Culture Fusion, Tel: 01274 436 760 and via Leaving Care Service at Odsal who will reroute call Tel: 01274 436 760