Last year, we complained to the UK Statistics Authority that the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government had published figures on rough sleeping but had ‘buried’ the fact that 88% of those who slept rough were male. They focused solely on the female figures whereas they should have focused on the female and male figures.
This year, the Ministry published its figures and graphically they included male rough sleepers (86%). This is a victory for the Coalition because without our complaint in 2017, they would have continued to not include those figures.
It was still not balanced though, as the main narrative of the report only referenced the female figure. This skews societal understanding as the volume of male rough sleepers, who are the vast majority, are not also highlighted.
The Coalition made an additional complaint (MBC letter to UK Statistics Authority (04 03 2018)) and the UK Statistics Authority responded (UK Statistics Authority response to MBC March 2018) stating that their “view is that male rough sleepers are now suitably represented by MHCLG’s Rough Sleeping Statistics in terms of the overall measurement approach, the coverage of the bulletin and the detailed statistical tables”.
However they added: “We do however believe that MHCLG could be clearer about its rationale for focusing the report’s summary points on rough sleepers from minority groups, and I will ask my regulatory team to approach MHCLG statisticians to ensure that they are transparent about the decision making behind their future, presentational choices.”
We look forward to the Ministry including male rough sleepers in next year’s narrative.