In its 50th year, homelessness charity Crisis is developing a plan to end homelessness and, to inform this plan, Crisis have undertaken a wide-ranging evidence-gathering and consultation exercise, involving calls for evidence, reviews of evidence and input from people with lived experience of homelessness.

As part of this consultation, Crisis commissioned SCIE to produce this rapid evidence assessment to understand what services work, to address and end homelessness, and to assess the quality of evidence that exists in published studies.

A new plan, prepared by the Department of Health and Social Care, sets out how the government will improve support for carers in England over the next two years. 

Every year, more and more people take on a caring role. The enormous contribution of our country's carers not only makes an invaluable difference to the people they support, it is an integral part of our health and social care system and it deserves to be better recognised.

To doctors, carers are the experts-by-experience turning treatment plans into reality. To pharmaceutical companies, they can be an important influence towards the achievement of treatment success. To the people they help, they are the indispensable family members, friends, and neighbours that make each day possible. Within our communities they are vital partners, bridging the gap between local health and care services. What none of us must forget is that carers have their own needs too. We must be alert and responsive to those needs, or we risk compromising their health and wellbeing and – by association – the recipients of their care. 

The new plan is structured around themes including: services and systems that work for carers, employment and financial wellbeing, and supporting young carers.  

Are you involved with people with learning disabilities and want to ensure they have a voice on issues? 

Local forums in the county feed information to and from the Learning Disability Partnership Board.  The learning disability partnership board (LDPB) aims to show the values of inclusiveness, respect, dignity and equal partnership in working together locally with people with learning disabilities, and their families, to support better lives for them. 

  • In the north, Berwick Voices meets once a month in Berwick upon Tweed.  This forum then feeds into the North forum: Northumberland Echo.   Meetings for this group alternate between Berwick and Alnwick.  Members of the forum are made up of council providers, but they also include voluntary and community groups such as Border Links.  For further information contact 07917 553933 or email Joanne at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
  • Have a Say group: Based in Hexham.  Contact is Joanne Elliott: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Central User Forum: Based in Blyth.  Contact is Michelle Stoker: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The forums work direct from the partnership board and help with consultation on key documents and areas of focus for the council, such as housing.  They also raise important local issues with the partnership board.

During the summer of 2017, Children North East managed a project looking at the impact of summer holiday clubs across the north east of England.  In 2016, the North East Child Poverty Trust (NECPT) commissioned a study, carried out by the Institute for Local Governance.   They found that 'holiday hunger' was a key issue for struggling families and applied for funding from Big Lottery to run a regional project with holiday activities and healthy food over the summer of 2017. 

The research side of the project was taken on by The Living Lab at Northumbria University, led by Professor Greta Defeyter and the evaluation of the project found that children’s diets were significantly improved on days attending holiday club compared to days they did not attend.   Children reported improvements in their education and learning, confidence and self-esteem and gained knowledge in food and nutrition.  Both children and parents stress the importance of clubs in providing children with a safe space to play during the holiday.

Useful information including the evaluation report from the project can be accessed here.

An inquiry into the delayed modernisation of the Disclosure and Barring Service was launched on 8 March, with only 5 days to respond.  A National Audit Office (NAO) report found that the aims of this modernisation have not been met and the project has faced significant delays and additional costs.

One factor was that demand for the new update service has been much lower than expected and has not delivered the savings intended.  

The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) would now like to hear more from you changes to the update service.