7.1. The Board considered a report providing information on the significant welfare concerns about the placing of unsupported homeless people in Kendal Court and the wider Lewes and Eastbourne areas by Brighton and Hove City Council (BHCC).
7.2. The Board asked whether there were staff on site at Kendal Court 24/7.
7.3. Keith Hinkley said Kendal Court is not set up as a 24/7 care service and East Sussex County Council (ESCC) is not trying to make it into one. The Council is seeking to ensure that BHCC provide appropriate support for those vulnerable people who are placed there. There are ways of providing this support in a consistent way to people in the unit, but not as a 24/7 service.
7.4. The Board asked whether there was a known length of stay of residents.
7.5. Keith Hinkley said there is minimal throughput of clients, i.e., some clients have been there for a very considerable time, and this is one of the main areas of concern.
7.6. The Board asked whether BHCC, as a neighbouring authority, had been engaged sufficiently over the issue. The Board also asked whether BHCC should be reported to the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) for not fulfilling its statutory duties.
7.7. Keith Hinkley said that ESCC has made it clear that the needs of the residents placed at Kendal Court are at the forefront of the actions being undertaken by the Council. The Director of Adult Social Care and Health said that homeless support was a complex issue that local authorities face, but ESCC is committed to working collaboratively and had sought over a period of time to address these challenges with BHCC. It is clear, however, that during this time fundamental issues around people receiving the right care and support to meet their needs have not been addressed, even though they are solvable. BHCC has been informed about this report and the local authority’s views had been reflected in the report’s contents. Health and wellbeing boards are concerned with the oversight of the wellbeing of local residents, which is why this issue has been escalated to the East Sussex HWB. The proposed letter will raise the Brighton & Hove HWB’s awareness of the issue and will provide a further opportunity to work together in the best interests of these vulnerable people who have been placed in Kendal Court and elsewhere in East Sussex. A further update is proposed in September and it will give the HWB the opportunity to reflect on next steps if progress is not made.
7.8. The Board took the view that it should be a very strongly worded letter, as residents in East Sussex had expressed concern about the plight of these vulnerable homeless people who had been placed across the county by BHCC, and meeting their needs was a clear strain on ESCC and the district and borough council’s resources. BHCC is a neighbour and attempts should be made to work together as far as practicable, however, if no progress has been made by September there could be a need to escalate the matter further.
7.9. The Board RESOLVED to:
1) note the concerns highlighted in this report and the work undertaken to try and address them;
2) agree that the Chair of the Health and Wellbeing Board write to the Chair of the Brighton and Hove Health and Wellbeing Board to request that Brighton and Hove City Council (BHCC) urgently resolve the inequalities experienced by the vulnerable adults that it has placed at Kendal Court and elsewhere in Lewes and Eastbourne by fulfilling its statutory health and welfare responsibilities;
3) agree to receive a further update report on the situation at its next meeting on 30th September 2021.