Local authorities evaluate the extent of rough sleeping within their area in accordance with the methodology on street counts set out in the Department's “Guidance on Evaluating the Extent of Rough Sleeping—2007 Revision,” which was developed in conjunction with the voluntary sector. This guidance gives the following definition of rough sleepers:
“People sleeping, or bedded down, in the open air (such as on the streets, or in doorways, parks or bus shelters); people in buildings or other places not designed for habitation (such as barns, sheds, car parks, cars, derelict boats, stations, or “bashes”).
In 1998 there were estimated to be 1,850 rough sleepers in England. Since then good progress has been progress has been made in reducing the total number of rough sleepers to 464 in 2009, based on local authority street counts.