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Sleeping Rough: Statistics

Volume 507: debated on Monday 8 March 2010

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what recent discussions the Office for National Statistics has had with the Department for Communities and Local Government on that Department’s methodology for counting rough sleepers. (319637)

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the authority to reply.

Letter from Stephen Penneck, dated March 2010:

As the Director General for the Office for National Statistics (ONS) I have been asked to reply to your recent question asking what recent discussions the ONS has had with the Department for Communities and Local Government on that Department’s methodology for counting rough sleepers. (319637)

As part of the planning of the field operation for the 2011 Census, ONS officials have been in contact with the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) to discuss the counting of rough sleepers, and in September 2008, were invited to observe a count of rough sleepers in Westminster. However there have not been recent discussions.

Local authorities are required to conduct their own annual counts if they have more than ten rough sleepers, and so we have been in touch with local authorities to learn how they carry out their counts to see whether any successful procedures used by them could be used or modified for the 2011 Census. We are also planning to liaise directly with local authorities for information about particular sites where rough sleepers might be found, as well as to obtain information on any local homeless charities. We have had a useful meeting with Homeless Link which represents and supports a number of organisations working with the homeless and are planning to meet them again.