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24 March, 2021 Open access

Independent Commission launched to examine lessons learned from emergency response to rough sleeping during Covid-19 pandemic

Commission, chaired by Lord Kerslake, aims to learn from 'what went right' and embed good practice for the future

An independent Commission has been launched to examine and learn the lessons from the emergency response which supported people sleeping rough during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Chaired by Lord Bob Kerslake, the Kerslake Commission on Homelessness and Rough Sleeping aims to help all agencies involved in supporting those who are sleeping rough, or homeless and at risk of rough sleeping, to understand what worked during the pandemic, and what is now needed to embed the good practice developed during the past year.

Announcing the launch of the Commission yesterday, Lord Kerslake - who is the former Head of the Civil Service and the Department for Communities and Local Government, and current president of the Local Government Association - said -

'I am delighted to be chairing this independent Commission which is an unusual one because, for once, it will examine what went right rather than what went wrong.

By general consent 'Everyone In' was a terrific success which made a real and tangible difference to the lives of some of society’s most vulnerable members.

What I want to do through this Commission is to look at how we can build on this for the future. It is an opportunity to learn, and share learning across the public sector, the health sector as well as local and central government. And if we can do that, we will have done something really valuable for this country.'

In addition, Steve Douglas, chief executive of homelessness charity St Mungo's who will provide secretariat support to the Commission, said -

'A year ago this week saw the start of 'Everyone In', the public health emergency response to ensure that everyone sleeping on the street was provided with secure and safe accommodation, and the support that they needed. Since then we have seen an unprecedented effort from charities, frontline service providers, health and social services, local and central government to help people move away from sleeping rough for good.

Lives have been saved, opportunities seized and it is clear just what can be achieved when we work together...

This has to be a watershed moment. Through this Commission we have the opportunity to listen, learn and change the way we address homelessness and rough sleeping.'

NB - the Commission - whose board members include Chair of the NHS Confederation Lord Victor Adebowale, co-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Homelessness Bob Blackman MP, and Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham - will produce an initial findings report in summer 2021 with a final assessment and recommendations in September 2021.

For more information, see St Mungo’s welcomes formation of new Commission on Rough Sleeping and Homelessness as a ‘watershed moment’ from