Dear Jeremy  

Management information on support for people rough sleeping in England

I am writing to endorse your department’s publication of new management information on support for people rough sleeping in England. These data were collected during the UK Government’s efforts to protect those sleeping rough, or at risk of sleeping rough during the COVID-19 pandemic. They provide monthly estimates at local authority level for: people sleeping rough on a single night; people in emergency and short-term accommodation; and people that have moved on to long-term accommodation. My team has carried out review of the data against the pillars of the Code of Practice for Statistics, the findings of which have been published today. We appreciate the open and positive engagement of DLUHC analysts during this process. 

The new monthly data is a significant step forward, offering enhanced insights into the numbers of people supported into emergency, or longer-term move on accommodation, since the start of the pandemic. The new monthly snapshot series also fills a longstanding gap for year-round rough sleeping estimates. OSR also supports the stated aims set out in the bulletin to: ‘provide a fuller picture of the dynamic and seasonal nature of rough sleeping’ ‘driving better outcomes through increased data and transparency’. This approach is very much in line with OSR’s published guidance on intelligent transparency 

On potential improvements, the value of the data would be enhanced by DLUHC analysts publishing them as official statistics and at more timely and regular intervals throughout the year. We believe this would also support the Public Accounts Committee’s interest in having better data to inform planning to end rough sleeping in England, as highlighted in its 2021 report: COVID-19: housing people sleeping rough, which anticipated the publication of monthly rough sleeping data at the time. 

Overall, this is a great example of how advances in the understanding important societal topics can be gained by developing management data sources and making them public. DLUHC analysts should look to share this work as a good example to others throughout the Government Statistical Service. I welcome the publication of this important information and look forward to DLUHC analysts developing it further over the coming months.  

I am copying this letter to Sandra Tudor, DLUHC Head of Profession for Statistics, and Jon White and Sally Frost, the Responsible Analysts. 

Yours sincerely

Ed Humpherson
Director General for Regulation