Empowering communities to end rough sleeping: DLUHC's innovative alert system

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Female empowering communities to end rough sleeping

DLUHC's innovative platform leverages community alerts to aid individuals sleeping rough, driving the mission to end homelessness across the nation.

Almost 7000 persons sleeping rough found

323 local authorities actively working with StreetLink

Above 90% H-CLIC returns consistently achieved

The challenge

With the imminent Homelessness Reduction Bill, DLUHC needed a robust and future-proof online system to efficiently support the upcoming Homelessness Reduction Act. The goal was to empower the public to help individuals sleeping rough through an easy-to-use alert system.

The solution

Embracing an agile approach in line with the GDS Service Standard, our team, with Unboxed as our partner, conducted a streamlined 'Discovery' phase to validate the 2019 discovery report and understand the current user needs and system requirements. This led to a focused 'Alpha' phase, where we developed and iterated high-level concepts based on user journey and story mapping.
The 'Beta' phase brought our prototype to life, meticulously testing and refining to ensure a seamless, user-friendly service. Our system was uniquely configured for Westminster, enabling real-time communication and extensive collaboration with key partners like The Passage and Shelter. 

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The results

Since going live on 30th September 2023, the StreetLink platform has processed over 52,000 alerts, successfully aiding almost 7,000 individuals, representing around a 15% success rate in a wide network of 323 active local authority areas. The system's innovative features like real-time messaging and an automated H-CLIC compliance & error checker have been instrumental in its success, achieving consistently above 90% H-CLIC returns.

What we learnt

The most advantageous element of agile is how adaptable it is to requirements and even developing teams. It ensures that the customers are the point of focus and that the problems they need to be fixed first are given priority. Stakeholders also gain as the development is progressive. It was interesting to hear views from in and out of London as far as system ideas and functionality was concerned. Out of Londoners seemed to have an appetite for StreetLink doing more case management so they can abandon spreadsheets and other offline systems in favour of having a single system, there was also issues around a web-based system and challenges for rural locations. In London the scene was very different because of the way triage is carried out and many boroughs in London only using a third-party system CHAIN to interact with alerts. The pilot initiated by DLUHC will hopefully give us some more feedback about how London processes may be improved.

Looking ahead

We successfully went live on 30th September 2023 and have a dedicated support team to help manage advice and day to day queries from users and the public. A development team committed to the project to help shape the service and a new unit specialising in AI and data science.

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