Publication - Impact assessment

Homeless Persons (Unsuitable Accommodation) (Scotland) Order 2020 amendment: EQIA

Equalities impact assessment (EQIA) for the Unsuitable Accommodation Order extension.

33 page PDF

300.9 kB

33 page PDF

300.9 kB

Contents
Homeless Persons (Unsuitable Accommodation) (Scotland) Order 2020 amendment: EQIA
Stage 4: Decision making and monitoring

33 page PDF

300.9 kB

Stage 4: Decision making and monitoring

Identifying and establishing any required mitigating action

Have positive or negative impacts been identified for any of the equality groups?

This policy is intended to give equality of opportunity to all groups by extending the seven day restriction on unsuitable accommodation from pregnant women and families with children to all. This aims to have a positive impact on all groups by limiting the time local authorities can place them in unsuitable accommodation, however for pregnant women and families with children who were given priority for suitable housing prior to this policy, the increased demand on suitable housing this policy may have a negative impact for this group if the policy intentions cannot be realised by local authorities due to funding pressures, housing shortages and other realistic barriers to the policy being fully implemented in all local authorities.

Is the policy directly or indirectly discriminatory under the Equality Act 2010?

The policy aim is not to directly discriminate any group with a protected characteristic.

The policy will be applied to everyone in the same way which may potentially disadvantage pregnant women and families with children by removing the priority given to this group however this is not indirect discrimination due to the intentions of the policy which aims to provide better legislative protection for suitable accommodation to all. The group this duty already applies to may only be negatively impacted if the policy is not fully realised by local authorities.

If the policy is indirectly discriminatory, how is it justified under the relevant legislation?

Not Applicable

If not justified, what mitigating action will be undertaken?

The policy may only have a negative impact for pregnant women and families with children if the policy is not fully implemented for all.

It is recognised that this may happen in some local authorities due to funding pressures or shortages of housing that full compliance of the UAO extension within the timescale may be difficult.

To mitigate against this the Scottish Government will work with local authorities to help them overcome any barriers they face and ensure they do not breach the Order. Part of this role will to be develop guidance, to consider options and learn of good practices in the sector and share these with local authorities to help bring about this change that will benefit all those at risk of homelessness.

Describing how Equality Impact analysis has shaped the policy making process

The Equality Impact analysis has shown that the extension of the UAO is beneficial to all homeless households as the policy to be introduced will affect the maximum number of days that local authorities can use unsuitable accommodation for any homeless person will be reduced to 7 days and therefore there is no need for policy changes to be made.

It is recognised that for some local authorities there will be pressures in the local housing market that will mean they it may be difficult to achieve full compliance to meet the maximum 7 day restriction that homeless households can be placed in unsuitable accommodation. In these special cases, SG will seek to agree specific solutions that recognise the challenges as long as the local authority has set out clear plans to initiate the transformational change required to ensure compliance as quickly as possible. SG will work closely with these authorities to help bring about this change that will benefit all those at risk of homelessness.

It may be the case that local authorities will ask for flexibility in the approach to breaches in the short term and for support and resource to be provided to them to help transition from the current use of B&B in some areas. However, the extension will also end the use of bed and breakfast as temporary accommodation – apart from in emergency situations, which will help to reduce the amount of money all local authorities spend on expensive B&B accommodation.

The EQIA aims to evidence that the UAO extension is beneficial for people and communities as the policy proposal will reduce the time that local authorities can use unsuitable accommodation for any homeless person.

Monitoring and Review

Statistical information is gathered throughout the year from local authorities and includes data on the number of breaches of the UAO by each local authority. This information is used by the Scottish Housing Regulator who monitors, assesses and reports on social landlords' performance, including how local authorities deliver homelessness services and how local authorities and RSLs work together to provide homes for people who need them.

Additionally, where breaches of the UAO occur the Minister writes to the relevant local authority and requests to meet with senior officials of the local authorities who have the highest number of breaches to hear and discuss the plans that they have in place to address the issue and ensure that they do not breach the Order.

It is recognised that for some local authorities there are pressures that full compliance in the short term may be difficult. In these special cases, SG will seek to agree specific solutions that recognise the challenges as long as the local authorities clearly set out plans to initiate the transformational change required to ensure compliance as quickly as possible. SG will work closely with these authorities to help bring about this change that will benefit all those at risk of homelessness.

SG will continue to monitor the statistical information closely to identify local authorities that are having issues meeting the UAO legislation and continue to engage with them to address any non-compliance.

In addition we aim to work with analysts to change the information captured by the housing/homelessness returns by local authorities to look to include data on the characteristics that are currently absent. We will also seek to engage with organisations representing those characteristics to establish what their concerns are and then use that information to review and revise as necessary our policy, with this stakeholder intelligence sitting alongside information developed by analysts.


Contact

Email: Homelessness_External_Mail@gov.scot