3. Housing Support Services - The Legal Framework
The legal framework that confers "social care" functions on Local Authorities can be found across a wide range of legislation.
Housing support services have developed over a number of years as a response to a wide range of needs, with the aim of helping people to live independently in the community. There is no single legal authority for the provision of housing support services, which have also developed from a range of different funding streams related to the provision of these services.
It should be noted that previous definitions of housing support are specific to their particular legislative purpose.
Some aspects of housing support services, which are provided to individuals as, or in conjunction with personal care or personal support services, must be included in integration arrangements ("delegated" under an integration scheme). This relates to the provision of such services as a package of care or services under, the Social Work (Scotland) Act 1968 Section 12 and the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003 Section 25 to 27.
This approach aims to retain local flexibility alongside integrated care plans, by prescribing elements of housing support services provided to individuals as, or in conjunction with personal care or personal support services, provided under specified functions. See also Health and Social Care Functions - Support Note.
The Regulations require certain "social care" functions (for example, section 12 of the Social Work (Scotland) Act 1968) to be delegated except in relation to housing support services. The effect of the definition of housing support services set out above is that services involving equipment and adaptations, and housing support services provided to individuals as, or in conjunction with personal care or personal support services, will not be covered by this exception, and so must be delegated.
The Public Bodies (Joint Working) (Prescribed Local Authority Functions etc.) (Scotland) Regulations 2014 ("the Regulations"), set out a specific definition for "Housing Support Service". This definition will determine the extent to which any function under which a housing support service is provided must be included in integration arrangements. The definition is :
"Housing Support Service"
(a) means any service which provides support, assistance, advice or counselling to a person for the purpose of enabling that person to occupy, or to continue to occupy, accommodation as their sole or main residence;
(b) does not include any service which involve the installation or maintenance of an aid or adaptation; or any service which is provided to a person as, or in conjunction with, personal care or personal support services provided in the person's place of residence.
This approach aims to retain local flexibility by prescribing only certain elements of housing support services for inclusion in integration.