Agenda item

Agenda item

Procurement Exemption - Rough Sleeper Winter Accommodation and Intensive Support for Rough Sleepers with and without recourse to public funds

Report of the Head of Housing


Cabinet received a report of the Head of Housing setting out details of the procurement exemption agreed on 2 November 2020.  It enabled the council to procure two projects with One YMCA.


Councillor Johnson, Portfolio Holder for Housing, was invited to introduce the report.  He stated that the Head of Housing and Housing Strategy Officer had put together strong bids to support the most deprived group in the town.  The schemes would provide Covid-19 compliant accommodation and support for up to five rough sleepers with no recourse to public funds up to 31 December 2020 and up to 15 rough sleepers with recourse to public funds to March 2021.  He invited the Head of Housing to further introduce the report.


The Head of Housing explained the bidding process to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG).  The process had involved working through the bid with the MHCLG and the county council.  This procurement exemption referred to two schemes that would provide Covid-19 compliant accommodation through the winter.  The previous communal facilities used for the winter night shelters would not have been suitable under the Covid restrictions.  Soft market testing had been carried out and three providers had submitted bids.  One YMCA had been chosen due to the quality of its bid and the ability to deliver the scheme.


In response to a question from the Mayor about progress on the homelessness strategy, the Head of Housing confirmed progress was being made.  The team carried out a significant amount of monitoring.  The target was for a near zero number of people on the streets.  The service had a better understanding of this community.  It was trying to support those from outside Watford back to their original communities.  There was a fear that successful schemes became a magnet for people to come to the area as word spread amongst the rough sleeper community.  It had to be recognised that it would be difficult to achieve actual zero as some people did not want support.   The team worked with colleagues in the health and mental health profession.  They would also be working with Community Protection to show that it was no longer acceptable to remain on the street in Watford.


Councillor Bell thanked officers for the comprehensive report, which he supported.  He had taken part in the rough sleeper count.  He had yet to hear the result.


The Head of Housing explained that the figure had to be verified at government level and would be announced in January.  The Portfolio Holder added that he believed it to be significantly less than the last verified number which was 13.


Following a question about success rates, the Head of Housing advised that it would take some time.  For example the next report covered the Housing First scheme which was at least a two-year project.  Other schemes would be a minimum of nine or 12 months before it would be possible to see a difference.




that Cabinet notes the Approved Exemption to the Council’s Procurement Procedures in relation to the Winter Accommodation and Intensive Support provision for Rough Sleepers set out in Appendix 1 to the report.

Supporting documents:


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