Improving housing advice services to prevent homelessness


  1. Project timeline

Housing advice can drastically reduce homelessness but there are challenges to providing accessible advice, managing casework and identifying people at risk. 

This is an increasing problem with 74,320 households in England becoming homeless or at imminent risk of becoming homeless between January and March 2022a rise of 11%, and a 5% rise on the same period last year. The London Borough of Newham had a 16% increase in approaches and an 8% increase in acceptances between 2021/2022 to 2022/2023.

This discovery project aims to prevent homelessness and improve user experience by exploring:

  • contributors to homelessness
  • user needs for tailored advice and support
  • how to identify ways to share data to identify early prevention opportunities
  • solutions needed to manage end-to-end casework

Project timeline

March 2023

The project is awarded £100,000 in funding through Round 6 of the Local Digital Fund to begin a discovery phase.

April 2023

The project team recently attended the Local Digital Round 6 welcome event to learn more about ways of working. They have also drafted a procurement specification for a supplier to carry out the discovery, which will be finalised with the project partners.

May 2023

The team has created a Microsoft Teams site where they can collaborate with external project team members, and have scheduled a meeting to agree on roles and responsibilities. The final draft of requirements and specifications has been published on the CCS Contract Award Service.

The Newham project team successfully published the supplier specification on the Crown Commercial Service (CCS) Digital Outcomes framework on Tuesday 23 May and have addressed any clarification questions that have been raised. Currently, the team is in the process of drafting roles and responsibilities, which will be finalised in collaboration with the appointed supplier.

The deadline for supplier responses is Wednesday 7 June. By Wednesday 14 June, the project team aim to complete the evaluation process and make a decision.

June 2023

On Wednesday 7 June, the Prevention and Advice to Tackle Homelessness (PATH) project team received the initial responses (stage 1) to the Technical Competence questions for procuring a supplier. This supplier will carry out the discovery project as part of the CCS Digital Outcomes framework. The team has been assessing these responses and met on Friday 14 June to finalise the shortlist for the second round of procurement.

A dedicated project Teams site has been created, where previous research and findings can be uploaded and organised.

In the upcoming sprint, the team will publish the stage 2 procurement, inviting suppliers to submit their proposals. Members of the project team who are involved in other local government projects and have progressed further in their procurement process are sharing their experiences. This knowledge should help ensure a smooth process for the next stage of procurement.

July 2023

The project team is currently procuring a supplier for the discovery phase via the CCS Digital Outcomes framework. The timeline has experienced a slight delay due to assessing phase one responses, but three suppliers have now been shortlisted and documentation is being prepared.

In the next sprint, they will publish the second phase of the procurement process.

September 2023

The project team is currently using the CCS Digital Outcomes framework to procure a supplier to deliver the discovery, which will explore contributors to homelessness and access to services that may prevent homelessness. They’ve evaluated the supplier responses and are in the final stages of awarding the contract, with plans to commence work on 6 October.

In the upcoming sprint, the team will continue their contract governance work. To align with the supplier’s proposed plan, they’re in the process of compiling a list of stakeholders for interviews and gathering existing research. This will facilitate a smooth transition into the project’s next phase.