Section 3: Proposed Changes and Questions on Advisory Temporary Accommodation (TA) standards
HARSAG recommended the following actions on temporary accommodation standards:
1. Build on existing standards work, co-produce new standards for temporary accommodation with stakeholders.
2. Work with the Scottish Housing Regulator to explore options for enforcing new standards.
3. Review relevant data collections to ensure that the new standards can be monitored and their impact assessed.
In line with the HARSAG recommendation we propose to build on existing work and consult and work with stakeholders to produce new standards that are applicable to all types of temporary accommodation. We will work with the Scottish Housing Regulator to explore options for enforcing new standards and how these can be implemented and monitored.
This will be a two stage process. In Phase 1 we will create Scottish Government advisory standards which we propose to base on the adopted and updated Guidance on Standards for Temporary Accommodation published by CIH Scotland and Shelter Scotland in 2011.
In Phase 2 we will work with stakeholders to produce a standards framework that can apply across all types of temporary accommodation in order to ensure a consistent quality and level of service provision. We will also look at how the proposed framework of standards can be enforced and consider whether legislation is required and we will talk more about Phase 2 in Section 4.
Phase 1 - Advisory Standards
The Code of Guidance on Homelessness is currently under review with a refresh planned to be published later in the year. We are therefore proposing to incorporate these advisory standards within the refreshed Code of Guidance, which provides guidance to local authorities in exercising their statutory homelessness duties.
The CIH Scotland and Shelter Scotland guidance incorporates a wide range of different types of standards. A summary is included here with the full detail contained within pages 7-12 of the full document.
- The accommodation should be a sufficient safe and secure space.
- Is suitable for any disability requirements.
- Is clean.
- Meets the appropriate energy efficiency standards.
- Has adequate access to on site cooking and washing facilities, and private bathroom for each household.
- Households are given notice when landlord needs to access the room.
- Has adequate communal living space which includes, for example, space for children to play or do homework.
- Has a suitable standard of furniture to meet the households needs.
- Accommodation must be suitable for the specific needs of the individual applicant, and of his or her household.
- Accommodation must also be affordable.
Location and network standards
- The accommodation should be located close enough to services (supermarket, doctors etc.) so that they can be reasonably reached by foot or public transport, and to support networks and places of work.
- It should meet cultural or religious needs as well as social and economic needs.
- An assessment of need should be carried out and referrals to appropriate agencies made, with periodical reviews.
- Flexible and needs-led support should be provided and there are regular visits by allocated officers, all underpinned by good quality communication with the household.
- There should be procedures in place in regards to moving in and out of the accommodation and how possessions will be protected.
- Residents should have the opportunity to be involved in discussions regarding their stay and their needs. There should be sufficient numbers of trained staff to realise these standards and understand the needs of the people using temporary accommodation.
- Tenants should be provided with a written occupancy agreement, details of any accommodation rules and repairs and complaints procedures.
- In light of changes to social security with the introduction of Universal Credit, a rent statement of charges and how they are paid should also be a requirement.
The following questions in this section are seeking your view on some of the proposals mentioned above:
1. 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 to 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.
Please confirm whether you agree that the existing CIH Scotland/Shelter Scotland standards provide an appropriate basis for a Scottish Government advisory standards framework. 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 and explain your answer?
3. Please tell us whether there are any additional standards that you consider should be added to this framework and explain your reasons.
4. 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 and explain your answer;
- Think that the new standards should also be published elsewhere and 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? Please explain your answer.