Publication - Research and analysis

Improving temporary accommodation standards consultation: response analysis

Published: 10 Jan 2020
Directorate:
Housing and Social Justice Directorate
Part of:
Housing, Research
ISBN:
9781839603921

Analysis of responses to a national consultation on improving temporary accommodation standards.

61 page PDF

697.6 kB

61 page PDF

697.6 kB

Contents
Improving temporary accommodation standards consultation: response analysis
Appendix 1.

61 page PDF

697.6 kB

Appendix 1.

Consultation Questions

Questions on the Unsuitable Accommodation Order (UAO)

1. Scottish Ministers have used their powers under the Homelessness etc. (Scotland) Act 2003 to limit the use of unsuitable temporary accommodation for families and children to a maximum of 7 days via The Homeless Persons (Unsuitable Accommodation) (Scotland) Amendment Order 2017. HARSAG has recommended that this restriction be extended to all people experiencing homelessness. Do you think we should:

Option A – Extend the restriction to all homeless people from an agreed date
Option B – Extend the restriction to all homeless people but introduced incrementally over time
Option C – Not extend the restriction to all homeless people

2. If the consensus is for option A what date would you suggest as the legal date for implementation?

3. If the consensus is for option B:

What types of experiences, circumstances or characteristics would you prioritise in the incremental extension?

Would you prefer a consistent national approach to the transition or for local authorities to take forward based on their own local circumstances?

By what date do you consider it would be reasonable for all homeless households to be covered by the extended Order?

4. In your option is option A or B the best way to avoid an increase in the number of breaches of the Order?

Yes
No

5. Please tell us about positive impacts that extending the restriction to all homeless people may have.

6. Please tell us about any negative implications that may result from us extending the restriction to all homeless people.

7. Do you believe the current definition of unsuitable accommodation set in 2004 as set out in legislation (Homeless Persons (Unsuitable Accommodation) (Scotland) Order 2014), which focusses on the location of the accommodation and the facilities the accommodation offers, is still the most appropriate or are there any factors you would like to see changed?

This is still the most appropriate.

There are factors I would like to see changed.

8. In extending the Order do you think the same definition should apply to all homeless households as it currently does to families with children and pregnant women? If not, please provide an explanation of how you feel the definition should be amended to take account of the extension.

Yes
No

9. The Homeless Persons (Unsuitable Accommodation) (Scotland) Order 2014 contains exemptions for certain types of refuges and supported accommodation. With the extension of the Order to all homeless households, should these exemptions still apply?

Yes
No

Do you think any other exemptions should be considered?

10. We have already outlined that some local authorities have breached the current UAO, so that it may mean it is likely that some local authorities will face challenges in meeting the extension of the UAO to all homeless households. We are interested to hear your views on whether additional measures should be introduced to help ensure local authorities do not continue to breach the UAO. Would sanctions provide an appropriate mechanism to encourage compliance?

Yes
No

If so, what sanction would you consider to be an appropriate one?

What additional support should be in place for local authorities to minimise the number of breaches of the Order?

11. The performance of local authorities against their obligation to comply with the UAO will continue to be monitored, including any extension if introduced, by the Scottish Housing Regulator (SHR) as part of its role in assessing performance on discharging of their statutory duties. Would you like to see the SHR gain any enhanced responsibilities in order to effectively monitor and assess the implementation of the extended Order

Yes
No

Questions on Advisory Temporary Accommodation (TA) standards

1. Please confirm whether you agree that the existing CIH Scotland/Shelter Scotland standards provide an appropriate basis for a Scottish Government advisory standards framework.

HARSAG recommended that we build on the existing standards and to work with stakeholders to produce new standards for temporary accommodation to ensure a consistent standard of provision across the country. As a first step in this process we are looking adopt and update the standards contained within the guidance published by CIH Scotland and Shelter Scotland to produce an advisory standards framework for all types of temporary accommodation.

Yes
No

If not, please explain your answer.

2. A summary of the standards that we propose to include in the advisory framework is shown earlier in this section with further detail contained with the CIH Scotland/Shelter guidance. Do you think these standards are still relevant and fit for purpose?

Yes
No

3. Please tell us whether there are any additional standards that you consider should be added to this framework and explain your reasons.

4a. On page 15 of this document we suggest that it would be appropriate for the agreed new standards for temporary accommodation to be included in the refreshed Code of Guidance on Homelessness which is due to be published later this year. Please tell us if you agree that it would be appropriate to include new standards for temporary accommodation within the refreshed Code of Guidance.

Yes
No

4b. Do you think that the new standards should also be published elsewhere?

Please explain your answer.

5. Do you have suggestions on how local authorities could/should be supported or encouraged to adopt the new standards for temporary accommodation?

6. Page 9 of this consultation advises that there are already a number of other legislative standards relating to housing, that can apply to some or all types of temporary accommodation. Do you agree that a reference to these other legislative and regulatory mechanisms is made within the new set of accommodation standards?

Yes
No

Please explain your answer.

Questions on Enforceable Temporary Accommodation (TA) standards

1. Do you agree with this approach?

HARSAG recommended we work with the Scottish Housing Regulator to explore options for enforcing new TA standards. In order to enforce standards it is likely this will need to be achieved through the introduction of legislation. We propose that rather than trying to create legislation that seeks to set a uniform standard across all types and tenures of temporary accommodation, that we develop a standards framework that recognises the existing legislation and regulation and seeks to fill in the gaps, utilising appropriate legislative mechanisms.

Yes
No

Please explain your answer.

2. We want to better understand how local authorities currently monitor the standard of temporary accommodation that is used to place homeless households. Please can you tell us what sort of processes and procedures are in place to:

Assess the standards of these types of property:

Address the issues where standards are not being met:

Monitor ongoing issues:

3. It is possible that some local authorities may not be able to meet new standards on temporary accommodation when introduced. Do you think that there should be sanctions, such as penalties or fines applied to those local authorities failing to meet the new standards?

Yes
No

Please explain your answer.

4. Please tell us about any other approaches or options that you consider are appropriate to implement to ensure that local authorities adhere to new temporary accommodation standards.

5. In line with the HARSAG recommendation, we also envisage a role for the Scottish Housing Regulator (SHR) in monitoring and assessing performance in meeting new standards. Do you agree that it would be appropriate for SHR to take on this role utilising their current powers or by extending their current powers?

Yes
No

Please explain your answer.

6. In establishing up a Working Group to take forward the production of a new standards framework we will set terms of reference which will define their purpose, aims and objectives.

In setting the remit of the group, what do you think the Group need to take into account as they develop a new standards framework for temporary accommodation?

Lived Experience Questions

1. When you first became homeless were you given access to temporary accommodation immediately by your council if you required it?

Yes
No

2. What type of temporary accommodation were you placed in? (B&B, hostel, furnished flat etc.)

3. What do you need from temporary accommodation to make it suitable for you?

4. How many different temporary accommodations were you placed in? Why was this the case? What impact did this have on you?

5. We are making changes to the Unsuitable Accommodation Order so no-one has to stay in 'unsuitable' accommodation for more than 7 days. What does unsuitable mean for you?

6. Legally, suitable accommodation currently means that you:-

  • Are housed where people in your household can access schools and medical services in the local area
  • Have adequate bedrooms for members of your household
  • Have exclusive use of toilet and washing facilities for members of your household
  • Have access to your own or shared cooking facilities and use of a living room
  • Can stay in the accommodation at all times, with no curfew and are allowed visitors

Is there anything else you would add to the above list or take away?

7. In your experience how common is it to stay in unsuitable accommodation like this?

Very common
Quite common
Not common

8. What types of accommodation are more likely to be unsuitable?

Bed and breakfast
Hostel
Furnished flat

9. Would you change the description of suitable accommodation in any way?

Yes
No

Please explain your answer:

10. Currently the Unsuitable Accommodation Order means that local authorities must not house families and pregnant women in unsuitable accommodation for more than 7 days. Do you think that this should be changed so that everyone is covered by the Unsuitable Accommodation Order?

Yes
No

11. We want to improve the standards in temporary accommodation across Scotland.

Thinking about your experience(s) of living in temporary accommodation, what types of things would make/have made your stay more positive or pleasant?

12. How would you compare the standard of temporary accommodation with the standards of any permanent accommodation that you have experienced?

13. How easy was it to raise any issues or problems about the standard of your accommodation and get things fixed?

Very easy
Quite easy
Not easy

14. Would having a set of Scottish Government standards for temporary accommodation help you raise any problems you face with your accommodation?

15. Do you think councils should be penalised (for example, through a fine) if the accommodation they provide does not meet these standards?

Yes
No
Don't know

16. As a first stage, we want to put the standards into a refreshed Code of Guidance, which local authorities are expected to follow. These will be known as Advisory Standards and will allow us to do something quickly. The second stage will be to introduce Enforceable Standards but this will be a longer process as we need to consider all of the existing legislation that covers permanent housing standards to make sure that temporary accommodation meets all of these.

Do you have any comments about this approach?

17. We propose that standards cover the following areas:

  • Physical: safe and secure, access to proper cooking, washing facilities, suitable for disabled people, clean, enough living space etc.
  • Suitability: affordable and meets your needs
  • Located near services: schools, medical facilities
  • Support: you can get the support you need from a range of services
  • Management: your possessions are protected, you have a written occupancy agreement, you are involved in discussions about your stay and there are processes for moving in and out, you get a rent statement

Do these cover the right areas to improve standards in temporary accommodation? Is there anything missing?

18. We will set up a Working Group to develop the new standards framework for temporary accommodation. Is there anything you think this group should do or take into account as they do this?

Responses to subset questions from individuals

There were two sets of questions asked by an organisation. There were 317 responses to the following set of questions. The first three are based on questions 1, 2, 3 and 5 under 'Questions on the Unsuitable Accommodation' order from the consultation. The fourth does not directly relate to anything from the consultation.

1. The Scottish Parliament has time limited the use of unsuitable temporary accommodation for families to a maximum of 7 days, but this doesn't apply to other people experiencing homelessness. Do you think Government should extend the same legal 7 day limit to all people experiencing homelessness?

2. How quickly should the 7 day restriction should be extended to all homeless people? Should it be extended from an agreed date, or introduced incrementally by certain groups over a period of time?

3. What are the potential impacts of extending the 7 day restriction to all homeless people?

4. This question is optional. Do you know anyone who has experienced living in this kind of accommodation? What kind of impact do you think it has had on their life?

153 respondents answered all four questions, 125 answered three questions, 17 answered two questions and 22 answered one question

There were also 18 responses to the following set of questions, which are loosely based on the Lived Experience Questions from the consultation. Questions 3, 4, 5 and 6 are taken more or less directly from the consultation with minor rephrasing, whilst the first two cover much of the rest of it.

1. Tell us about your experience of living in unsuitable emergency accommodation

2. What makes temporary accommodation unsuitable to live in and how could it be made better?

3. Currently the law says that local authorities only must not house homeless families and pregnant women only in unsuitable accommodation, such as B&Bs, for more than 7 days. Do you think that the law should be extended to everyone experiencing homelessness, and if so, why?

4. A property is defined as 'unsuitable' if:

  • It is away from facilities and services for the purposes of health and education which are being used by the household members;
  • It is not wind and watertight;
  • It is not suitable for occupation by children;
  • It Lacks adequate toilet and personal washing facilities for the exclusive use of the household;
  • It lacks adequate bedrooms for the exclusive use of the household;
  • It lacks adequate cooking facilities and use of a living room; or
  • Is not usable by the household for 24 hours a day.

Is there anything that you would add or remove from the list above and why?

5. It is proposed that standards for temporary accommodation cover the following areas:

  • Physical: safe and secure, access to proper cooking, washing facilities suitable for disabled people clean enough living space etc.
  • Located near services: Schools, medical facilities
  • Support: you can get the support you need from a range of services
  • Management: your possessions are protected you have a written occupancy agreement, you are involved in discussions about your stay and there are processes for moving in and out. You get a rent statement

Do these cover the right areas to improve standards in temporary accommodation? Is there anything missing?

6. A Working Group will be established to develop the new standards framework for temporary accommodation. What do you think the Group need to take into account as they develop a new standards framework for temporary accommodation?

14 respondents answered all six questions, 2 answered five questions and a further 2 answered four questions.


Contact

Email: Myra.quinn@gov.scot