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National Homeless Advice Service

Co-location and joint working in two-tier authorities

Hampshire County Council: Gateway agencies

For 16 and 17 year olds in housing need, Hampshire County Council launched a joint working protocol between Children’s Services and all 11 local authority housing departments.

The next step involved setting up an independent information and advice service for 16 & 17 year olds in housing difficulty. The services in each locality are known as Gateway Agencies and are designed to:

  • provide a non-statutory service on the premise that most young people do not want - or need - statutory interventions
  • create a single access point in each locality to make access arrangements clear, and to and make the service as focused as possible
  • make better integration and joint working possible within the wider partnership, which is required to maximise prevention options - for example, through links with Supporting People providers

Between 2011 and 2012, a total of 9 independent Gateway Agencies were created. Of these, 4 are County Council Youth Support Service teams and the other 5 are voluntary or charitable organisations.

Gateway Agencies work differently across the county according to local provisions and arrangements. For example, in Havant, Basingstoke and Rushmoor the Gateway Agency runs a joint drop-in service with the local housing department. This helps to make sure that young people are seen by both agencies from the onset and their needs are assessed jointly.

Some Gateway Agencies delivered by youth support service teams complete initial assessments on behalf of the referral and assessment teams.

Each Gateway Agency was officially launched with a multi-agency training workshop. This covered subjects such as the Southwark judgement, homelessness legislation and information sessions from relevant local providers.

Further information is available from Hampshire County Council.

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Devon County Council: new team to carry out assessments

Devon has reconfigured functions and added specialist capacity to make sure that it complies with the G v Southwark ruling.

Assessments of all 16/17 year olds presenting with housing need is now carried out by a Permanence and Transitions (P&T) team. Previously, this was performed by the children’s services referral and assessment team. In the P&T team there are 3 designated advanced professionals (one for each of the 3 areas of Devon) who manage all assessments and support work for 16/17 year olds.

In two of the areas of Devon, children’s services and housing staff are co-located within Youth Enquiries Centres, which are run by a voluntary agency (Young Devon). This provides a ‘young person friendly’ place to assess young people and work with them.

These new arrangements are generally accepted to have brought about a great improvement in the way that the council responds to young people. It has also led to closer working links between Children’s Services and housing authorities.

For more information contact Exeter City Council.

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