A safeguarding review is under way after a vulnerable 25-year-old tenant from Brighton and Hove died after being placed out of the area here in Eastbourne.

Councillors were told that he died during a period when no welfare checks were carried out – for more than a month – because of staff leave, with no cover provided.

The lack of cover came just months after Brighton and Hove City Council stopped using Kendal Court, in Newhaven, where at least 10 people died and similar concerns had been raised.

A senior member of East Sussex County Council even accused Brighton and Hove City Council of outsourcing vulnerable people to die – and the county council threatened legal action.

A safeguarding review is under way into the 25-year-old man’s death, councillors were told at a meeting of the full council at Hove Town Hall on Thursday (1 February).

It followed a deputation of family and friends led by Clare Whitworth who painted a bleak picture of someone cut adrift almost 30 miles away from their support network

She said that vulnerable people in temporary housing away from Brighton and Hove need someone to keep an eye on them.

She asked the council to appoint a lead person for vulnerable people to make sure that the various agencies who should look out for those people were working together properly.

Councillors applauded Ms Whitworth after she made her comments as a “bereaved family member”.

Care leavers, abuse survivors, people with mental health problems and drink and drug addicts had been housed in Eastbourne and should have had weekly wellbeing checks, Ms Whitworth told the meeting.

But from Wednesday 7 December 2022 to Wednesday 11 January 2023, no wellbeing visits took place because staff were on leave, with no one covering their absence.

And during this period, the 25-year-old man in temporary housing died.

Ms Whitworth said that while housing provided somewhere to live, it did not meet all the basic needs that people had.

She said that 40 residents had to share just one microwave to cook, spurring people to buy expensive prepared food.

There was no washing machine in the Eastbourne housing, leaving people with nowhere to wash clothes and bedding.

Moving to Eastbourne also meant that people were discharged from their Brighton and Hove GP.

And, Ms Whitworth said, there was no training on how to treat bereaved families when a loved one died and their rooms needed to be made available.

She said: “To receive a phone call within 24 hours of a devastating, shocking death of a 25-year-old we will never get back – however much I speak up, he’s never going to come back – to be told his things are going to be removed from that room without giving families the choice – we pushed for it – to remove the few belongings and dignity that person left, is heartless.

“I don’t know what the timescale should be – but more than 24 hours.”

Labour councillor Tristram Burden, who chairs the council’s Adult Social Care and Public Health Sub-committee said that a referral had been received by the Safeguarding Adults Board last February.

Councillor Burden said: “Your concerns are heard by the safeguarding partnership of Brighton and Hove and we will work together to learn from the review which is being completed independently.

“Safeguarding adult reviews provide a vital opportunity to improve how agencies work together, sharing what we learn and ultimately enhancing how we safeguard adults at risk of abuse and neglect.”

He offered to keep in touch with Ms Whitworth on what was learnt and what could be done to improve the council’s policies and procedures.