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Guidance

Scottish Housing Quality Standard guidance was originally set out when the SHQS was introduced in 2004 and new SHQS guidance was published in March 2011 to add clarity and technical detail on the elements and sub-elements of SHQS.

The 2011 technical guidance supersedes the original (2004) guidance from Scottish Executive and any guidance published by Communities Scotland.

The monitoring of social landlords' performance towards meeting the SHQS is the responsibility of the Scottish Housing Regulator and you can view the annual progress report.

The 2011 guidance is set out in a number of annexes and in different formats:

Document No Title Web Poster Leaflet

Annex A

SHQS Technical Guidance for Social Landlords: Must be Compliant with the Tolerable Standard

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Annex B

SHQS Technical Guidance for Social Landlords: Must be Free From Serious Disrepair

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Annex C

SHQS Technical Guidance for Social Landlords: Must be Energy Efficient

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Annex D

SHQS Technical Guidance for Social Landlords: Must have Modern Facilities and Services

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Annex E

SHQS Technical Guidance for Social Landlords: Must be Healthy, Safe and Secure

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Annex F

A Summary of the 5 Broad Criteria and 55 Elements of the Scottish Housing Quality Standard

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Annex G

A Guide to the Technical Guidance for Social Landlords on the Scottish Housing Quality Standard

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Annex H

The Scottish Housing Quality Standard: A Guide for Tenants

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Annex I

Guidance for Social Landlords on Scottish Housing Quality Standard Exemptions and Abeyances

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Annex J: Policy Guidance

Policy guidance for social landlords on targeting and cost saving when implementing the Scottish Housing Quality Standard

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Annex K: Statistical tables

SHQS element-by-element analysis (2009)

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Annex L: Scope of The SHQS Target For Social Landlords

Guidance on properties in social landlord's housing stock which must meet SHQS by April 2015.

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Note that annexes A-F were updated in May 2011 as a result of some publishing errors and some slight technical changes to Annex C (energy efficiency) in particular.

Annexes C and I were updated in April 2015.  The update does not affect the standard that social landlords are expected to meet and will not place any additional burden on landlords.  The update is intended to cover the relation between SHQS elements for energy efficiency and the standard set out in the Energy Efficiency Standard for Social Housing (EESSH) guidance.

 

Technical Guidance for Social Landlords

Technical annexes A-E, which relate to the five broad criteria, are aimed principally at social landlords faced with bringing their stock up to SHQS. The annexes can be found here:

A more digestible summary of the SHQS, aimed at those who do not need to know the full technical detail, can be found in Annex F.

This document can also be obtained (subject to availability) in hard copy in the form of an A2 poster, principally aimed at social landlords, by emailing shqs@scotland.gsi.gov.uk.

As the technical tables in Annexes A-E are extensive, a short guide to using the annexes has been written to help users understand the layout of each annex:

Guidance for Tenants of Local Authorities and RSLs

Residents (and particularly social rented tenants in view of the April 2015 policy target for social housing) are the principal beneficiaries of a standard which lays out the expected minimum conditions for housing in Scotland. Thus, Scottish Government has produced a straightforward SHQS guide for tenants that briefly illustrates every feature of the SHQS.

This guide can also be obtained (subject to availability) in hard copy in the form of a fold-out leaflet, by emailing shqs@scotland.gsi.gov.uk.

Exemptions and Abeyances

The original SHQS guidance from 2004 referred to the possibility that some properties could be exempted from meeting some elements of SHQS for technical or other reasons. Guidance on SHQS exemptions and abeyances was also published in March 2011 and can be found here:

Policy Guidance on Potential SHQS Cost Savings

As economic conditions have changed dramatically since 2008, many social landlords are re-assessing their business plans and general financial situation. However, even before 2008, it was clear that social landlords have established local standards over and above the SHQS (often in consultation with their tenants). Landlords are fully are entitled to do this but, if a landlord's resources are already stretched, they may want to consider the standard at which properties are upgraded to more carefully as it may come at the expense of other objectives that may need to be fulfilled simultaneously such as building new housing or investing in measures to reduce carbon emissions from the existing stock. Scottish Government has issued a policy guidance note for social landlords on how they might go about 'targeting' SHQS investment to maximise the SHQS pass rate without necessarily incurring all of the capital expenditure (and consequential borrowing in some cases) associated with extensive refurbishment.

Annex K: Statistics on which property elements are passing, failing and not applicable to SHQS

The Scottish House Condition Survey (SHCS) is the official, national measure of SHQS progress towards the April 2015 deadline for social landlords.
To give social landlords, tenants and other interested parties a detailed Scotland-wide picture of what particular property elements are failing SHQS (and which therefore do require investment) and which elements are passing or are "not applicable" to SHQS (and which therefore do not necessarily require investment), a series of 15 statistical tables have been prepared from the SHCS data on SHQS. These give a comprehensive 'line-by-line' snapshot of the stock for the 55 elements and nine sub-elements of the SHQS split by local authority and RSL sectors. This data represents the 'average' position of the social rented stock in relation to SHQS. In practice, some landlords will be ahead of these averages in terms of progress and some will be behind. The tables are colour-coded according to the five broad SHQS criteria and in keeping with the rest of the guidance appendices.
The first table is a a contents table given there are number of separate statistical tables to interpret.

Tables 1A and 1B relate to the number and percentage of elements failing SHQS, passing SHQS and "not applicable" to SHQS in the local authority stock.

Tables 2A and 2B relate to the number and percentage of elements failing SHQS, passing SHQS and "not applicable" to SHQS in the Registered Social Landlord (RSL) stock.

Tables 3A and 3B relate to the number and percentage of elements failing SHQS, passing SHQS and "not applicable" to SHQS in the social rented stock as a whole i.e. local authority plus RSL. These tables therefore represent the aggregate status of social rented housing elements in relation to SHQS achievement, non-achievement and non-applicability.

Tables 4A, 4B and 4C show the total number of elements passing, failing and not applicable to SHQS together with the total number of dwellings which are passing and failing SHQS (on at least one element). This is a very important distinction. The different extent to which elements are failing and dwellings are failing represents the degree to which future investment to reduce SHQS failure can be targeted. Annex I discusses how specific elements of each dwelling can be targeted in order to meet SHQS within a minimum timescale and with minimum expenditure.

Tables 5A, 5B and 5C show the proportion of elements passing, failing and not applicable to SHQS together with the proportion of dwellings which are passing and failing SHQS (on at least one element). Again, this shows how much faster a targeted, elemental approach to SHQS investment can increase SHQS pass rates compared to untargeted investment across entire dwellings. These tables should also be read in conjunction with Annex I.

Further updated data of this kind from SHCS will be published at a later date as it becomes available. In addition,
if landlords wish to import their stock condition survey information into the same format as tables 1A-3B above, they can do so by filling out the attached blank data sheet containing tables 6A and 6B (the final two tables). This will then provide a direct comparison of element-level fail, pass and "not applicable" to SHQS between their own stock and the national picture.

Landlords only need to fill out table 6A as table 6B will populate automatically to calculate pass, fail and not applicable rates. Once again, this sheet should be filled out in conjunction with the material in Annex I and in particular the guidance, within Annex I, on how to assess passes, fails and "not applicable" elements.

Annex K Notes

The Tolerable Standard used in this element-by-element analysis is that which was amended by the Housing (Scotland) Act 2006 rather than the one that is used in the SHCS report for 2009. This is because SHQS guidance must reflect the current (legal) position on the Tolerable Standard rather than a previous legal position. Most importantly, as the changes in the Tolerable Standard are already part of SHQS (elements 11 and 12), the overall pass/fail/not applicable SHQS rate is unaffected by the changes to the Tolerable Standard.

Disrepair to paths and paved areas are not included in the serious disrepair section but are included in healthy, safe and secure along with safe laundry and drying areas (element 49). This does not lead to a change in the overall pass/fail/not applicable rate for SHQS but may change these rates for individual criteria slightly.

Kitchen Facilities: safe working arrangements (element 38) is included within Modern facilities and services in this analysis rather than Healthy, safe and secure as in the 2009 SHCS Report. Again, this change will not affect the overall pass/fail/not applicable rate for SHQS.

When these tables are next updated, statistical notes will appear on the tables rather than here in the text.