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Operation of the Homeless Persons Legislation in Scotland: 2014-15

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Introduction

This statistics bulletin provides information on homelessness applications, assessments and outcomes to 31 March 2015. It includes information on the characteristics of applicant households, local authority assessments and the action taken in respect of cases that were concluded. Snapshot data on households in temporary accommodation as at 31 March 2015 are presented, together with data on the implementation of the Homeless Persons (Unsuitable Accommodation) (Scotland) Order 2014.

The purpose of this web only publication is to give an overview of key trends and features of homelessness in Scotland. As a consequence, the bulletin provides mainly summary tables and charts. More detailed reference tables providing a full suite of detailed tables have also been published on the Scottish Government website.

In November 2012 the Scottish Parliament approved the Homelessness (Abolition of Priority Need Test) (Scotland) Order 2012. This meets the homelessness commitment and ensures that from 31st December 2012 onwards, local authorities no longer apply the priority need test to homeless households. As a result all unintentionally homeless households in Scotland are entitled to settled accommodation. With the priority need test now abolished, information on this aspect of the homelessness legislation has ceased.

This publication includes information on the Housing Support Services (Homelessness) (Scotland) Regulations 2012. These regulations were approved by the Scottish Parliament in November 2012, and came into force on 1st June 2013. These regulations place a duty on local authorities to assess the need for housing support services as prescribed in regulations for any applicant the local authority has reason to believe may be in need of housing support services and who is unintentionally homeless or threatened with homelessness. If an assessment of a need for support is made, local authorities must ensure that service is provided to the person who needs it.

This bulletin also updates previously published figures. There may be delays in some cases being reported to the Scottish Government due to IT issues, quality assurance processes and delayed entry of data - particularly at the end of the financial year. As a result, we estimate that the headline number of applications may change by as much as 2% (around 200 cases for the current financial year) between first and subsequent publications (see Notes on the Statistics).

The first Housing Options (PREVENT1) statistics were published on Tuesday 27th January 2015 covering the six month period of 1st April 2014 to 30th September 2014. Further PREVENT1 statistics, covering the full financial year of 1st April 2014 to 31st March 2015, will be released simultaneously with this publication at 9:30am on 30 June 2015. These will also be available at http://scotland.gov.uk/homelessstats.

Consultation on the Frequency of Publications

Under the Code of Practice for Official Statistics we publish a timetable of statistical releases for twelve months ahead[1]. We are currently committed to publishing quarterly homelessness statistics until summer 2016. We moved to quarterly publication in October 2012 in order to monitor the implementation of the abolition of the priority need test. However, we are now reviewing the need to publish the data quarterly as many of the key trends change very little from one quarter to the next. By reducing the frequency of publications to either six-monthly or annually, this will free up resources for other analyses. For example, we are currently at the start of a project to link health and homelessness data. We welcome users' views on our proposed change to move to either six-monthly or annual publication. Please send responses to homelessness_statistics_inbox@scotland.gsi.gov.uk.