Severe weather emergency protocol

Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP)

UPDATE: 17 January 2019: Please note the SWEP protocol is currently activated in response to the freezing overnight temperatures.

Extreme cold weather increases the risk of death or serious illness to people who sleep rough. This protocol sets out the arrangements that Daventry District Council will put into place to ensure that people who are sleeping rough in our District during extreme cold weather are not at risk. 

When is the protocol activated?

Arrangements under this protocol are triggered when the night time temperature is predicted to drop to freezing (zero degrees Celsius) or below for three or more consecutive nights. When this happens emergency accommodation is made available to rough sleepers until the overnight temperature rises above freezing. The Council monitors the weather forecasts for Daventry District during the winter months on the MetOffice website

Eligibility criteria

When the SWEP protocol is in force the Council will assist rough sleepers so long as the following applies:  

  • The person will be at risk if they continue to sleep rough during the course of the severe weather
  • They have nowhere to sleep indoors during the course of the severe weather (indoors in this context does not include cars, sheds or garages)  
  • They agree to the assistance offered by the Council.


What happens next?

Rough sleepers meeting the above criteria, will be offered emergency accommodation for the duration of the severe weather (until the night time temperature rises above freezing). 

Our Housing Options Officers must be satisfied that anyone asking for help is rough sleeping and will make reasonable checks in order to determine this. A risk assessment will also be carried out to ensure that the person being considered for help would not pose an unacceptable risk to others staying in the emergency accommodation.

Where someone is considered to be a risk the Council will refer them to the most appropriate agency, for instance a mental health service, the National Probation Service, or the police.

In cases where an individual is aggressive, violent or threatening violence the Housing Options Manager will make a final decision as to whether emergency accommodation will be offered or not.

Temporary accommodation

During office hours, the Housing Options team will make temporary accommodation arrangements for those who are eligible. 

If assistance is being sought outside of office hours or there is an out of hours emergency then please contact Northampton Borough Council's out-of-hours service on 01604 629804 in the first instance. 

All clients placed into emergency accommodation under the terms of the SWEP protocol will be referred to either:

  • Emergency accommodation provided by the voluntary sector (including churches, community centres and night shelters)
  • A bed and breakfast establishment on the Council’s approved list. 


The weather forecast will be checked daily and once the minimum temperature is predicted to rise above freezing, the emergency accommodation will be withdrawn.  

Daventry Winter Night Shelter

The Council is working with Daventry Methodist Church to create a temporary shelter for rough sleepers when the SWEP protocol is activated. 

If you would like to volunteer to help at the shelter please email or visit the Facebook page at

Further support

Anyone seeking help under the SWEP protocol will also be asked to attend the drop-in service to see the duty housing options officer the next working day, so that advice and assistance may be offered, and other housing options and long-term options may be discussed.

For more information please ask for the Housing Options Service on 01327 871100 or email