DETAILS of plans to tackle rough sleeping are set to be unveiled by Malvern Hills District Council.

At a meeting on Tuesday, council leader David Chamber will announce that an expert panel to confront the problem will be meeting on Wednesday, February 27, at Great Malvern Priory.

He said: “We are convening an expert panel with vast experience within the housing, health and voluntary sectors to come and explore with us what this model could look like and share the benefit of their experiences.

“It will also look at issues such as bed provision both permanent and temporary and how we can harness and channel the significant public interest and support for rough sleepers in a way that will deliver maximum benefit for those we are seeking to help.

“We have senior regional members from national organisations including Crisis and Shelter attending as well as a representative of the West Midlands Combined Authority Homeless taskforce and key local partners.

“Other councils from across Worcestershire have also been invited to attend.

Attendance to this panel will be invite-only but it will be held on a cross-party basis as this is not about politics. We all want to see an end to rough sleeping.”

The council’s action follows an upsurge of public concern following the deaths of rough sleepers Joby Sparrey and Remigiusz Boczarski late last year.

The council is also planning to train frontline staff - including refuse workers, civil enforcement officers and community and environmental protection officers - to help them identify and engage with rough sleepers.

And it is contacting the volunteer Malvern Against Homelessness group to ensure it is working constructively with the public.

It is also seeking support and advice from the government’s national Rough Sleeping Unit.

MP Harriett Baldwin has written to the Minister for Housing to push for government support for a funding bid for a new approach to rough sleeping.

Coun Chamber said: “We cannot do this alone which is why conversations have already taken place between our head of housing and key partner agencies to begin the process of exploring what we can put in place to address this.

“I hope members of the public and members of council can see we have acted swiftly and comprehensively to these tragedies and will continue to do so.”

*Page 7: A song for Joby