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Helping Christians Respond To Social Needs

Bristol Homeless Forum
Road Map - Context



This is part of the BCAN Road Map of services for homeless people. The main pages are:

Access: how can I find help? Timetable: when is it provided?
Services: what is provided? Organisations: who provides it?
Context: structures and policies Words: names and abbreviations
Related: relevant services Links: other web sites


1.   Structures
  1a.     Bristol Partnership
  1b.     Homelessness Consortium
  1c.     Safer Bristol Partnership
  1d.     BCAN Homeless Forum
2.   Policies and Strategies
  2a.     Homelessness Strategy
  2b.     Homelessness Strategy Action Plan
  2c.     Homelessness Code of Guidance
  2d.     The Compact
3.   Systems
  3a.     The Tier System
4.   Regulators
  4a.     The Care Quality Commission
  4b.     The Independent Safeguarding Authority
5.   Reports

1.   Structures

1a.   Bristol Partnership

The Bristol Partnership is Bristol's LSP, or'Local Strategic Partnership'.

The Bristol Partnership "brings together key public agencies, the business community and the independent sectors (voluntary and community sector organisations, higher and further education and neighbourhoods) to improve services and quality of life in Bristol."

1b.   Homelessness Consortium

The Homelessness Consortium is the main Council-run group which is responsible for all aspects of the Council's response to homelessness, both their own provision and all the services they provide funding for.

The Homelessness Consortium meets four times a year, and has seven sub-groups:

  • Case Review Group
  • Hostel Review Group
  • Meaningful Occupation Group
  • Homelessness Prevention Group
  • Practitioners Forum
  • RSI Group
  • Young Person's 16+ Panel

There seems to be no information on the council's web site describing the work of the Homelessness Consortium.

1c.   Safer Bristol Partnership

The Safer Bristol Partnership is the Bristol DAT ('Drug Action Team') and the part of the Bristol Partnership which deals with crime and drugs.

1d.   BCAN Homeless Forum

The BCAN Homeless Forum is a group which meets every two months to coordinate work with homeless people and to share information and support each other.

2.   Policies and Strategies

2a.   Homelessness Strategy

Actually, there is no 'Homelessness Strategy' as such: there is the Bristol Preventing Homelessness Strategy 2008-2013, and it is not entirely clear if this updates or replaces the previous strategy (it seems to say both).

If the full strategy is too much, you can read the Bristol Preventing Homelessness Strategy Executive Summary instead.

As the name suggests, this strategy looks mainly at ways of preventing homelessness. There is very little about how to deal with people once they become homeless. There is no analysis of the problem, either qualitative (what is the nature of the problems homeless people face? what are the main causes of homelessness? and so on) or quantitative (how many people suffer from these problems? how frequently do these problems occur? and so on). There is no linking in the strategy of the ideas contained in it with any evidence base, other than quotes from other policy documents and speeches by politicians.

2b.   Homelessness Strategy Action Plan

Similarly, there is a Bristol Preventing Homelessness Strategy Action Plan. This document covers Phase 1: April 2008 - March 2009.

2c.   Homelessness Code of Guidance

The Department for Communities and Local Government published a Homelessness Code of Guidance for Local Authorities in July 2006. This identifies the legal obligations the council are required to meet.

2d.   The Compact

The Bristol Compact is an agreement made between local public agencies and the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise Sector (VCSES) in the city.

The current version is the Bristol Compact 2008.

According to the first page, "The Bristol Partnership has adopted the Compact and endorses its implementation. It defines and strengthens positive working relationships between the public and voluntary, community and social enterprise sectors by establishing a set of working principles that all partners are signed up to and a framework for developing better working practices and positive partnership working, particularly within the Bristol Partnership and in the delivery of the Local Area Agreement."

It has been suggested that the Compact would be more interesting and relevant if it had any teeth - if there were any penalties for the local public agencies failing to comply with the Compact. At present, there are none.

There are eight 'Codes' relating to the Compact, describing good practice in areas such as volunteering, funding and dispute resolution, which are available from the Bristol City Council Compact page.

3.   Systems

3a.   The Tier System

The National Treatment Agency ('NTA') divide drug treatment into four 'tiers' or levels, which are intended to reflect increasing intensities of activity, or 'intervention' as they call it.

These tiers are descriptions of the types of service which are provided to drug addicts, not a description of the stages of treatement a drug addict will go through.

Tier 1 and Tier 4 are straightforward to understand. Tier 2 and Tier 3 are a bit more complicated. The key characteristic of a Tier 3 service appears to be a Care Plan, but it includes some services (such as prescribing) which would normally be provided in the context of a Care Plan, whether or not a Care Plan is actually in place and it also includes some services which would normally be Tier 2 if they are provided as part of a Care Plan.

One other odd point to note is that it seems from the NTA information that a home detox, even if supervised by a GP, does not count as drug treatment.

Tier 1 services are not specialist drug services, but general services which can be accessed by drug users. The Wild Goose Coffee Shop is a Tier 1 service. As the NTA describe it:

This level mainly involves interventions from general healthcare and other services that are not specialist drugs services, for example hospital A&E departments, pharmacies, GPs, antenatal wards and social care agencies. Tier 1 services offer facilities such as information and advice, screening for drug misuse and referral to specialist drugs services.

Tier 2 services provide open access drug treatment. This is generally an introductory service which is intended to hold and stabilise the user until they are ready and able to access more intensive treatment. The Life Recovery Group run by CCM is a Tier 2 service. As the NTA describe it:

This is open-access drug treatment (such as drop-in services) that does not always need a care plan. Tier 2 covers things like triage assessment, advice and information, and harm reduction given by specialist drug treatment services.

Tier 3 services are the ones which fall between Tier 2 and Tier 4 - anything which is neither open-access nor residential treatment. It includes community based rehabilitation. The expectation is that most clients making use of a Tier 3 service will have a Care Plan. However, some services are Tier 3 whether or not a Care Plan is in place. Confusingly, some Tier 2 services become Tier 3 if they are accessed as part of a Care Plan. As the NTA describe it:

This is drug treatment in the community with regular sessions to attend, undertaken as part of a care plan. Prescribing, structured day programmes and structured psychosocial interventions (counselling, therapy etc) are always Tier 3. Advice, information and harm reduction can be Tier 3 if they are part of a care plan.

Tier 4 services provide residential treatment. As the NTA describe it:

This is residential drug treatment, both inpatient treatment and residential rehabilitation. Treatment should include arrangements for further treatment or aftercare for clients finishing treatment and returning to the community.

4.   Regulators

4a.   The Care Quality Commission


The Care Quality Commission ('CQC') is the new 'super-regulator' for all health care and all adult social care in England - "to make sure better care is provided for everyone, whether that's in hospital, in care homes, in people's own homes, or elsewhere".

The CQC took over from three different inspectorates - the the Healthcare Commission ('HCC'), the Commission for Social Care Inspection ('CSCI'), and the Mental Health Act Commission ('MHAC') - on 1 April 1 2009 (seriously!).

4b.   The Independent Safeguarding Authority


The Independent Safeguarding Authority (another 'ISA') will operate the Vetting and Barring Scheme ('VBS'). It says that this will start on 12 October 2009, but workers can only register from July 2010, and employers will only be required to use it from November 2010.

It seems that this will replace the process of CRB checks for people working with children and vulnerable adults.

The web site says: "We will assess every person who wants to work or volunteer with vulnerable people. Potential employees and volunteers will need to apply to register with the ISA. Applicants will be assessed using data gathered by the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB)... Using this information we will decide on a case-by-case basis whether each person is suited to this work."

So they (not you) will decide whether an applicant is suitable, without knowing what work they might be asked to do, or what safeguards you might have in place.

5.   Reports

Who is My Neighbour? - A church response to social disorder linked to gangs, drugs, guns and knives, published by Churches Together in England.


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This page last updated: 4 September 2014
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