A COUNCIL has been criticized for sending homeless people to live in a building where there have been several deaths in the past five years.
East Sussex County Council said it had “significant concerns” about how Brighton and Hove City Council is placing its homeless residents in the county.
The topic was discussed last week at a meeting of the East Sussex Health and Welfare Council – a group made up of councilors, senior officers and NHS leaders from across the county.
The discussion focused on the use of Kendal Court in Newhaven, where eight residents died between 2016 and 2018, as short-term emergency accommodation.
From East Sussex County Council’s perspective, Kendal Court is not a suitable place for people with complex needs. He argues that this view is supported by the coroner’s verdicts and an independent report commissioned after the deaths of residents.
Officers said these concerns had been formally raised with Brighton and Hove City Council (BHCC) on several occasions over the past few years, but had not been “adequately addressed”.
Keith Hinkley, Director of Adult Social Services for East Sussex County Council, said: “In light of these concerns, ongoing work with City Council has been carried out, primarily led by our Head of Child Protection. adults.
“Meetings were held regularly, these meetings continued, but it would be fair to think that they did not address fundamental concerns.
“Essentially, the County Council asked the BHCC for assurances that it had adequate arrangements in place to assess and support the health and social care needs of the people it housed at Kendal Court and that the people with multiple and complex needs would not be placed. [there] and rather be hosted near existing support networks.
While the discussion focused on the use of Kendal Court, officers also raised concerns about the number of placements made by BHCC in Eastbourne and other areas of Lewes.
According to council documents, BHCC has placed 320 homeless households in central Eastbourne or Lewes district “without adequate support,” since the Everyone initiative in March 2020.
As of June 14, that figure stood at 237 households, but ESCC says it has not heard any details on how BHCC intends to reduce this.
Officers also said the board wrote to BHCC asking how it intends to oversee the health and social care needs of those it placed, but had not received a response at the time of the meeting. .
In light of these concerns, the board agreed to write formally to their Brighton counterpart to express their concerns.
Not everyone on the board felt it would go far enough, with Rother District Council representative Councilor John Barnes arguing that the board should ask the government to investigate whether the board had violates its statutory obligations.
This point of view was not, however, shared by all those present at the meeting.
Councilor Zoe Nicholson said, “I can absolutely understand from both the perspective of both the local councilor and the perspective of the Deputy Chief of Lewes District Council why we need to intensify this conversation.
“But I also wonder why that is why we haven’t given this conversation the opportunity to hear and understand our colleagues from Brighton’s perspective on this.
“While it’s really, really important that we all work together to meet the needs of this really important and very, very vulnerable community, at the same time, we also need to work constructively across borders.
“The system is currently designed the way it is designed, which is basically pitting local authority against local authority on how resources and money flow to meet people’s needs. ”
Cllr Barnes replied: “No information has been received from Brighton. Either their members do not know what is going on or they are in fact guilty of a neglect of care of very serious proportions.
“I really think the time has come not only for a strong letter, but I think we should in fact flag them for an investigation into their breach of their legal obligations.”
This was not a view shared by Councilor Keith Glazier, Head of East Sussex County Council and Chairman of the Board.
He said: ‘Ultimately we are neighbors we have to work together and write a very strong letter to Brighton and Hove will send a very specific message that we are concerned about the most vulnerable and that we are looking for a way to resolve it. .
“I think the solution to this problem still lies between us and Brighton and Hove working together. Let’s try this.
“We have the opportunity to report in September. If we weren’t making any progress by then I think I’d be at the front of the line to catch the action [Cllr Barnes] described.
Brighton and Hove city councils have been contacted for comment.
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This notice was published: 2021-07-22 07:49:16