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Council promises better support to rough sleepers

James Giles

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Around 400 homeless people in South West London could be helped ‘off the streets’ thanks to a £400k grant.

Kingston, Richmond and Wandsworth councils have been awarded £400k from the Department of Communities and Local Government to fund innovative homelessness prevention schemes and help support rough sleepers.

The councils, together with homelessness charity SPEAR, applied for the funding to expand existing support programmes and introduce new services in each borough.

SPEAR is a charity working with homeless people in South West London. It offers services to street homeless and vulnerable people, to enable them to find secure accommodation.

This funding will enable the current service to be expanded in Richmond and will fund two new outreach model services plus enhanced accommodation in Kingston and Wandsworth.

Cllr Kevin Davis, Leader of Kingston Council, said:

“This funding from the Government will help us to meet the objectives set out in our housing strategy and contribute towards securing a brighter future for rough sleepers and vulnerable households in our borough”

Stuart Nevill from SPEAR Chief Executive, commented:

“Our work preventing homelessness and providing fast and effective solutions for people rough sleeping in South West London is a matter of the utmost urgency – peoples lives depend on it. Rough sleeping continues to grow and so must the services we provide. This grant will enable us to work with more rough sleepers, building on our strong partnership with Kingston, Richmond and Wandsworth councils.”

James Giles is the Editor of the Kingston Enquirer, covering local news and events in Kingston, New Malden, Surbiton, Tolworth and Chessington.

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Stop cuts to schools and special needs children

James Giles

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The Council last night (7th February) passed the ‘SEND Transformation Plan’, despite local residents making clear that they had not been properly consulted.

The plans, which include raiding a potential £5 million from the budgets of mainstream schools, were put out to consultation over the Christmas Holidays, which resulted in a response rate of less than 2% of those with special needs children.

SEND Family Voices, a group who until recently worked with the Council on special needs matters, have described the plans as ‘fantasy’, saying: “The risk of legal challenge is now high; the risk of Tribunal rates going through the roof is also now extremely high. The Plan is unachievable & the savings suggested are completely fabricated.”

If 100 residents sign the ‘call in’ below, the decision is sent to Scrutiny Panel for an investigation.

Please sign to ensure that our schools and special needs children get the education they deserve. We demand better for SEND children.

CALL IN: SEND TRANSFORMATION

We, the undersigned, call in all recommendations from the 'SEND Transformation Plan' from the Childrens and Adults Care and Education Committee for review at Scrutiny Panel for the following reasons:

- Councillors were misled by officers who presented the item, who claimed the consultation was sent to all SEND parents, school governors, publicised on the website and via social media, which is gross distortion of the facts.
- The consultation was not published on Kingston Council's consultation portal until 3rd January, leaving less than three weeks for the public to reply through this forum.
- The 'easy read' consultation was not published until after most schools had broken up.
- The consultation did not meet government guidelines on good consultation.
- Out of Borough schools which have Kingston SEND pupils attending were not consulted on the proposals
- SEND partners and parents were not consulted before the plan was published
- The consultation only had 96 responses. There are 4,000+ CYP with SEND in Kingston - at best, the response rate was 2% and in reality, lower, which suggests there was a major flaw with the way in which consultation was carried out, leaving the Council open to legal challenge.
- The committee wilfully held the authority's constitution in contempt by agreeing to the sending the Written Statement of Action to Ofsted a mere two working days after the committee, despite the constitution being incredibly clear that a decision cannot be fully implemented until expiration of a call-in period.
- The risk of legal challenge is now high; the risk of Tribunal rates going through the roof is also now extremely high.
- The Plan is unachievable & the savings suggested are completely fabricated.

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281 signatures

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