London Together: Transforming services for the most excluded in the capital
London is a prosperous city, which generates significant wealth and opportunity. However, many Londoners still face entrenched exclusion linked to significant
social problems in the capital:
• 27% of Londoners live in poverty, and London has the highest proportion of people in the poorest tenth nationally (15%)
• Levels of homelessness in London are more than double that in rest of England, and the number of people found rough sleeping in the capital has more than doubled since 20107
• London is home to 23% of the UK’s drug dependent adults, including an estimated 52,600 problem drug users
• London has a proven re-offending rate of 25%, with just over 20,000 reoffenders responsible for almost 60,000 offences in 2013
• 900,000 Londoners are affected by a mental health disorder such as anxiety or depression, while 90,000 have been diagnosed with schizophrenia or other psychoses
For thousands of the most disadvantaged Londoners, these problems overlap. They face multiple and complex needs – which may include any combination of poor mental health, homelessness, substance misuse issues, poverty, repeat offending, repeat victimisation, experience of domestic or sexual violence, and past trauma. They experience repeated exclusion from services, and too often end up stuck in a negative ‘revolving door’ cycle - living chaotic lives and causing damage to themselves and their communities. Despite this high level of need, we fail to co-ordinate the right kind of support.
The challenge is complex, and cuts across a range of service boundaries and silos. However, there is growing evidence that providing intensive, holistic, and co-ordinated support can help people in this situation to achieve greater stability and live a more fulfilling life. Furthermore, there are a range of local innovations and London-wide developments across policing, homelessness, criminal justice, health, and mental health care that hold potential to improve responses across the capital.
What is needed now is the commitment, leadership, and strategic drive for key partners to bring this work together and deliver improved services across London. Published as part of Revolving Doors Agency’s Capital Gains project, this report seeks to inform that journey by providing an overview of multiple and complex needs in the capital, and identifying some of the key opportunities and drivers for change in a context of austerity, devolution, and public service reform.