Oxford City Council has become the first council in Oxfordshire, and one of only eleven Local Authorities in England, to receive a the National Practitioner Support Service ‘Gold Standard’ top award for its efforts in preventing and tackling homelessness in the city.
The programme, based on a national assessment framework, involves ten challenges, all aimed at promoting good practice and ensuring services are fit for purpose.
Councillor Mike Rowley, Board Member for Housing, said:
"Congratulations to all involved! This is a real testament to the quality approaches that the City Council takes across all teams to tackle and prevent homelessness, and a great recognition of the dedication of staff. Delivering high quality services that make a real difference to people in need is what matters. It is fantastic that we can do this and receive recognition by external parties.’’
The Big Issue Foundation team in Oxford works closely in partnership with Oxford City Council to prevent homelessness as well as supporting people off the streets and into accommodation.
Congratulating the Oxford City team, Paul Webber, Area Services Manager – Midlands, Oxfordshire and the South West, said:
“This is great news indeed, congratulations on winning the 'Gold Standard' Award. Well done to everyone involved in helping to prevent and tackle homelessness in the city. As a partner of the Oxford Homeless Pathway, The Big Issue Foundation recognises the visible on-going challenges of the scale of homelessness in the city. We remain committed to working with the Pathway in tackling the issues and on a daily basis we work with individuals to provide a ‘hand up and not a hand out’, recognising that earning an income is a key step in a person’s journey towards stability and a better life. We seek to address the fundamental issues attached to social and financial exclusion to change lives for good.”
Developed as a result of the ‘Making every contact count’ report published in 2012, the Gold Standard Challenge is a local authority sector-led peer review scheme, designed to help local authorities deliver more efficient and cost effective homelessness prevention services. The scheme, aimed at supporting local authorities to improve their frontline housing services and increase opportunities for early intervention and prevention of homelessness, has been developed by the National Practitioner Support Service (NPSS) in consultation with voluntary sector and local authority partners.