Critics point out change of compiling method led to decrease in total count of rough sleepers
Councils have been accused of deliberately hiding the scale of the rough sleeping crisis in England by changing the way they compiled figures for the 2018 official count, the Guardian can reveal.
Official government statistics reported a 2% fall in rough sleeping in England in 2018 after seven consecutive years of rises when the figures were released last month. But critics have suggested the percentage decreased after several councils changed their counting method and does not reflect the reality on the streets.
The government has described the claims as “an insult” to the volunteers and charities who help compile the official figures. But back in 2015 the figures were also criticised as low-quality, untrustworthy and vulnerable to political manipulation by the UK Statistics Authority who threatened to remove their official status.