Agenda item

New Rough Sleeper Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP)

To consider the report of the Cabinet Member for Communities and Neighbourhoods concerning changes to the Rough Sleeper Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP).

 

(Report to follow)

Minutes:

104.1  Councillor Watkins, Cabinet Member for Communities and Neighbourhoods, provided an overview of the report, detailing the key changes that were being made to the SWEP procedure.

 

104.2  Councillor Pullen thanked the Cabinet Member for her report and welcomed the changes to SWEP. He queried what measures were in place for those who could not access the existing SWEP shelters. The Cabinet Member replied that ‘crash-pads’ would be made available across the county to provide emergency accommodation. There were also pop up arrangements available for those who could not access the ‘crash pads’ for various reasons, such as if a person had a dog or could not go to a particular area of the county.

 

104.3  In response to a question from Councillor Pullen regarding why flooding had been included in the new definition whereas heavy rain had not, the Cabinet Member stated that heavy rain would be covered by the Met Office weather warning which would trigger SWEP.

 

104.4  Councillor Wilson queried how the Council ensure vulnerable people do not fall through the net once SWEP has been called. In response the Housing Team Leader stated that all partner organisations were notified once SWEP has been enacted and there was an emergency duty officer to direct those in need to the correct shelters. There was also the possibility of providing temporary accommodation in Travelodges across the County in emergency situations.

 

104.5  In response to a query from Councillor Hilton regarding how the temperatures were determined and whether wind chill was taken into account, the Head of Communities stated that the Council use the Met Office data as they do not have access to their own monitors. He further stated that wind chill was taken into account when deciding to call SWEP.

 

104.6  Councillor Hilton further questioned how many beds were available in the City. The Head of Communities replied that 25 beds were available in Gloucester and there were a range of other accommodation providers across the County.

 

104.7  Councillor Pullen asked whether SWEP would be called in the event of residual snow, to which the Cabinet Member stated it would be enacted in any severe weather. 

 

104.8  The Spokesperson thanked the Cabinet Member for her report and welcomed the changes to the protocol. He questioned how the additional costs would be met from within the existing budget. In response the Head of Communities stated that the cost would be borne across the County.

 

104.9  Councillor Haigh asked how Community Builder and the public would be utilised in the event of SWEP being called. The Cabinet Member stated that it was hoped the public would be vigilant in reporting rough sleepers in the severe weather conditions. She further stated that the County Communication team would be notified when SWEP was called, who put the message on the City Council website and inform the public. Community Builders were also to be informed, as they would be able to provide additional information of people sleeping rough. The Cabinet Member commented that Members would be considered Community Connectors as they would also have extensive knowledge of their wards.

 

104.10 In reference to the George Whitefield Centre contract, Councillor  Hilton noted that the planning permission for use for SWEP covered December to March. He queried whether the Council would be able to use the Centre if SWEP was called outside those months. In response the Cabinet Member stated that there were other venues available to the Council if this situation were to arise. She further stated that the Council have an open dialogue with the George Whitefield Centre and was sure a solution would be sought in this situation.

 

104.11 The Chair thanked the Cabinet Member and Officers for their report.

Supporting documents:

 

 
 
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