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European Commission MPHASIS Mutual Progress on Homelessness through Advancing and Strengthening Information Systems THE RESEARCH PROGRAMME Matt Harrison.

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Presentation on theme: "European Commission MPHASIS Mutual Progress on Homelessness through Advancing and Strengthening Information Systems THE RESEARCH PROGRAMME Matt Harrison."— Presentation transcript:

1 European Commission MPHASIS Mutual Progress on Homelessness through Advancing and Strengthening Information Systems THE RESEARCH PROGRAMME Matt Harrison Homeless Link Final Project Conference Paris 17 th September 2009

2 European Commission Action Oriented Research Five areas of research  Transferability of Good Practice  Service Provider Databases  Client Record Systems  Making Use of Administrative Data  Institutional Population Data  Population Register Data  Usability of Core Variables  Survey of all partner countries

3 European Commission Service Provider Databases  The majority of homeless people use homelessness services  There is a wide range of services provided by the state, municipalities, NGOs, faith groups and the private sector  We developed a typology of services in the Measuring Homelessness project  Our research then found that few countries have comprehensive databases of service providers  We described a methodology for compiling and maintaining a directory or database of service providers  We carried out research to test out our findings in Bulgaria, Italy and the Netherlands

4 European Commission Service Provider Databases  Studies examining proposed methodology in Bulgaria, Italy and Netherlands  Different levels of service provision, existing systems and national government policy  Identified existing databases, stakeholders involved and next steps to be taken  Support for proposed methodology for developing databases appropriate in different national contexts  Staged approach and use of existing data  Evidence of common data collected about services

5 European Commission Service Provider Databases  New national database being developed in Italy and proposal for new Shelter Atlas for Netherlands  Link with client data important  Evidence to confirm costs and timescales involved  Barriers and ways of overcoming them identified  Gaining backing from government and key stakeholders and clear purpose crucial

6 European Commission Client Recording Systems  Recent years have seen the widespread development of computerised client recording systems in homelessness services  No country has a comprehensive common client information system – although some are in development  One aim of the research was to test the applicability of one system (Link) in different national contexts.  Pilot systems were developed for Hungary and Sweden

7 European Commission Client Recording Systems  An alternative approach is to define methods for extracting data from multiple systems for national collation  This approach is used in France and Germany  We commissioned research to look at the French situation

8 European Commission Client Recording Systems  Link software (already used in UK and Ireland) was translated into Hungarian and Swedish  Local NGOs in Budapest and Stockholm identified to pilot the software with their clients  Pilot system evaluated

9 European Commission Client Recording - Issues  Data Protection  Translation  Technical issues  Conflicting needs of operational data collection and statistical data collection  Not all data known about users of low threshold services

10 European Commission Data Extract Modules: France  Aim  To examine issues involved in extracting data from existing software systems  Three systems examined  Regional Information System-Poitou Charentes, COHPHRA (both local level systems) and Research System 115 (national level)  Method –  documentary analysis of the software used  interviews with the key personnel in each information system.  Findings - Work in progress in France with aim of:  Moving towards a computerised real time system of data collection  Obligatory for all services for the homeless  Development of a standard definition of variables

11 European Commission France  An information system requires a formal piloting policy:  Financial investment (by the public authorities)  Mobilisation of actors and cooperation  Definition of the needs of data collection –  specification of the variables and data items  standardisation of the nomenclatures used  Definition of the theoretical and geographical perimeter of the services to be covered  Agreement on an application of collection and its development

12 European Commission Organisational Issues  Joint institutional policy working needed with a range of stakeholders  Co-ordination by the State or regional government  A degree of flexibility needed – various options  Obligatory for those providing services to homeless  Incentive measures needed  Clear management by service provider organisations  System that provides tool for providers and on-line benefits

13 European Commission Implementation Issues  Involvement of field workers  The degree of computerisation of services  Training of Staff  The confidentiality of data collected  The reproduction of data uploads  The use of data for purposes of management control?  The impact of information systems on the practices of social interventionists

14 European Commission Use of Administrative Data  Administrative data is data collected by the state and/or municipal authorities in the course of their work  For some groups of homeless people this may be an important source of data – this is of particular relevance for homeless people in institutional settings.  We commissioned research into the prison population in Norway and Poland and how homelessness is defined, identified and measured in people leaving prison in these countries

15 European Commission Administrative Data – Prison Population  The purpose of the research was to examine the use made of administrative data on people released from prison who have no home to go to.  The research aimed to identify the procedures used and good practice models of using such data.  Undertaken in Poland and Norway which were considered to represent examples of good practice.

16 European Commission Poland  1,450 prisoners (from 90,000) leaving prison annually registered as requiring support due to homelessness  This underestimates the scale of the real problem  Current procedures are based on individual assessment of housing status by officials  Supporting vulnerable prisoners to acquire housing on release is not a priority  Being a person without a permanent address has implications  Existing procedures screen housing status three times:  Article 38 of the Executive Penal Code sets the ground for cooperation with NGOs

17 European Commission Poland - Conclusions  The need to promote evidence-based planning and implementation of policies  Transfer the paper registration systems into a fully computerized (NOE.Net) database  A unified procedure for defining homelessness status before release – the same set of questions taken into account across the whole country  Disconnecting data collection on housing from any consequences for receiving awards, passes and permissions during imprisonment

18 European Commission Norway  The operational definition of a homeless person in Norway is a person without owned or rented accommodation and who is staying in one of five situations  One of these is a person that is under Criminal Services due to be released within two months and is without a dwelling of his or her own  More than 60% of inmates are homeless. Approximately 6,000 persons are released from prison to homelessness each year  Three main administrative registration systems have been used for collecting data on homelessness

19 European Commission Norway - Issues  Link of release on parole to housing status –  satisfactory housing situation seems to be an almost mandatory rule for release  Impact on reliability of data collection –  inmates often give their address at time of imprisonment or give a false address  Data Quality  on housing status held in KOMPIS system not reliable.  KOSTRA system for use of temporary accommodation after release from prison and discharge from institution.  Data on housing after release from prison is not covered in Bokart

20 European Commission Norway - Conclusions  National monitoring system on homelessness based on administrative data not yet implemented  Registration of the housing status of convicts and persons on remand in KOMPIS not reliable or complete  Questions on homelessness on release from prison, taken out of the KOSTRA system  Due to lack of resources to quality control the figures  The most reliable statistics on homelessness among prisoners remains the national survey of homeless persons  The Criminal Services Department has been a respondent in all four national surveys of homelessness

21 European Commission Population Registers  The 2011 Census aims to count the whole population, including homeless people  Some countries have introduced population-registers to augment or replace the Census.  We commissioned research in two countries (Slovenia and Germany) to test how homeless people are or could be identified and measured in their population registers.

22 European Commission 2011 Census – Register Based Systems  12 Countries to use registers or combination of register and survey  Germany and Slovenia chosen as case studies  recent decisions to use registers  Census data mainly drawn from  Central Population Register (CPR)  Database of Households  Register of Dwellings / Buildings  Questions  Are homeless counted in the register based system?  Are some categories of homeless difficult to count?

23 European Commission Limits of Register Based System  Germany  No CPR – local authorities to provide information  Register of Dwellings being established (7.5m owners)  Register of Special Dwellings to be developed  Linking registers + data protection = aggregate data  Slovenia  Registers Dwellings in establishment phase  eDatabase of Households being computerised  CPR – relationships among persons not complete

24 European Commission Germany - Issues  Rough Sleepers / Emergency Accommodation  Not registered at any registry office  Register of Special Buildings  Definition and identification issues  Homeless accommodation diverse (budgets, providers)  Fictitious addresses (welfare departments)  Community, institutional and emergency accommodation  Combined in a common group  Homeless may be counted but can not be identified

25 European Commission Slovenia - Issues  Register of Buildings  “buildings for special purposes” - maternity homes, shelters and asylums, homes for the elderly, student dorms  The Residence Registration Act (2006)  registers homeless at agency where they receive help  requires a complete register of services  requires ability to identify homeless services  Living with Family/friends will be excluded  Buildings not intended for habitation  CPR needs cross-reference to Register of Buildings

26 European Commission Core Variables  In the Measuring Homelessness report we proposed a set of Core Variables about homeless people  This was a restricted number of variables which should be collected across Europe using the same definitions  This would provide the basis for information about the profile of homeless people in Europe.  We carried out a survey of 20 countries to test the proposed core data set

27 European Commission Core variables  Research carried out by Mphasis project and national partners  Questionnaires sent to 20 countries  20 responses from 15 countries  Each of the proposed core variables is used by a majority of the existing systems  All systems collect data on age and sex of homeless people

28 European Commission Core variables  Most systems collect information on Nationality, Country of birth and Household structures/living situations.  Some modifications are suggested to align these variables with Eurostat recommendations for core social variables.  The majority of systems collect information about previous accommodation, duration of homelessness and reasons for homelessness.  Lower levels of standardisation of variables in these areas.  Some changes to variables are proposed but each category should be maintained.

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