No timetable agreed for Leeds rough sleeper deaths review six months after announcement

The scope of a review into the deaths of rough sleepers is yet to be agreed, six months after it was first announced by Leeds Safeguarding Adults Board.

Rough sleepers in the doorway of a shop in Briggate, Leeds.

Chairman Richard Jones CBE said in June that the board was due to start a thematic Safeguarding Adults Review (SAR) of the experience of several people in Leeds who had been homeless and experienced abuse and neglect prior to their deaths.

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However, limited progress has been made since the initial announcement back in June.

Rough sleepers in the doorway of a shop in Briggate, Leeds.

A Leeds City Council spokeswoman said the review was currently being “scoped” and a timeline was yet to be agreed.

Gordon Laing, general manager of rough sleeper charity Simon on the Streets, said: “I believe that the reluctance of the safeguarding board to action this is a bit short sighted. There is very little to ‘scope’ – just set the terms of reference, which are pretty straightforward, and conduct the review.”

He said the Leeds-based charity would be more than happy to help with this, as would many others.

The original review announcement came shortly after a report by the national charity Crisis called for a SAR to be carried out whenever someone living as homeless dies.

The suggestion was later adopted by the Government in its rough sleeping strategy, which said SARs should be conducted if there was concern that partner agencies could have worked more effectively.

Mr Laing said his main concern was what definition of rough sleeper would be used.

He said: “We strongly believe it should include those that are accommodated, whether temporary or permanently, if they still return to the streets.

"It should also include those that have progressed into housing for 12 months after their last date on the streets, if the cause of death is attributable to their previous lifestyle.”