Evaluation of the local authority housing hubs approach

The report presents findings from an evaluation of local authority hubs set up to prevent homelessness by pursuing a housing options approach.

Annex C: Telephone interviews with Hub members - topic guide


11-010156-01 Evaluation of Homelessness Hubs

Qual with local authority representatives

Discussion Guide for telephone depth interviews_FINAL


Introduce self and Ipsos MORI

Thank participant for taking part, should take around 1 hour.

Background: Ipsos MORI has been commissioned by the Scottish Government to carry out an evaluation of local authority housing hubs. In particular, we are keen to explore how well hubs are working to develop, promote and share good practice about the housing options approach.

Explain purpose of this discussion - the purpose of this interview is to get your views on how you think your hub has worked so far, how it helping your local authority to implement housing options, and how hub working could be improved.

We will be speaking to all 32 Local Authority representatives. It's very important that they are as open and honest as possible so the research reflects how hubs are working in practice, what's working well, what's working less well etc.

Assure confidentiality/anonymity - Explain that other hub members will not be told what they say. Inform participant that, as there are only a small number of hubs, we cannot assure complete anonymity when reporting the findings. However, your name will not be used. Advise that if there are any comments which they would like to withdraw then to say so and we will not include them in the report.

Obtain permission to record discussion.

Warm-up (1 minute)

I'd like to begin by asking a few questions about your current post?

What is your current job title?

How long have you worked a) in your current post for <COUNCIL>? and b) in housing?

What are your roles/responsibilities in your current post?

Background to Hub (5 minutes)

What do you see as the main aims and objectives of the housing hubs approach?


What was your initial reaction to the decision to introduce housing hubs?


  • Did you have any concerns?

What were your main expectations of how the hub approach could help your local authority?

How do you feel about [Local authority] being chosen as the lead/host for your hub?

Perceptions of the structure and working arrangements of hubs (15 minutes)

I'd now like to discuss how you feel the hub approach has worked so far

In general, how do you think it's going?


So far, have your expectations of how the hub approach could help your local authority been met?


  • Why has that particular expectation not been met?
  • Have there been any other benefits or problems that you did not expect?

Overall, what are the main benefits of being in a hub?

What does your hub do well?


  • Any particular strengths?


Do you think all of the local authorities in your hub have worked together well?


  • why do you think this has happened?
  • have all local authorities in your hub embraced the housing hub approach?
  • have there been any barriers to working together?
  • how have differences of opinion been resolved?

And what could your hub do better?


  • Any particular weaknesses?


Can you suggest anything that would improve the way that your hub is managed?

What problems have been faced by your hub?


  • How did these arise?
  • How were these resolved?

Do you think the way in which local authorities have been grouped into hubs is appropriate?


  • Does the number of local authorities in your hub work well?
  • Does the geographical spread work well?

Communication (5 minutes)

How did you interact with other local authorities before hubs were introduced?


  • In what ways does the hub approach differ?

What formal contact does your hub have?


  • How useful is this contact?
  • What is discussed?
  • Would you like more or less of this kind of contact with hub members?
  • How could it be improved?

Do you also have more informal contact?


  • How does this contact take place? [Face to face; Email; telephone; CoP Website]
  • What is discussed?
  • Does this involve all or only some local authorities in the hub?
  • How useful is this contact?
  • Would you like more or less informal contact with hub members?

Do you communicate via the Communities of Practice website?


  • IF YES: How frequently?
  • For what kind of things?
  • IF NO: Why do you not use it?
  • How else would you like to use it?
  • How could the website be improved?

Progress towards implementing housing options (5 minutes)

I'd now like to briefly discuss housing options

At what stage is your local authority in developing your housing options approach?

How has the way in which you deal with homelessness presentations changed in recent years?

  • What difficulties has your local authority faced?

What housing options are available to users?


  • How does this differ across different users?
  • What factors influence decisions on what options to recommend?

Are all members in your hub at a similar stage in implementing the housing options approach?


  • Does this matter?

The role of hubs in facilitating housing options (15 minutes)

One of the main reasons hubs were introduced was to encourage a culture change among local authorities in the way they deal with homelessness presentations

In what ways has the hub approach helped to bring about this 'culture change'?

Has the hub approach helped you implement the housing options approach?


  • IF YES:
  • How has it helped?
  • Has it helped raise awareness and knowledge of housing options?
  • Has it helped improve access to sources to support and advice?
  • IF NO: has it made it more difficult for you?

Do you have any examples of when local authorities within your hub have shared good practice with other members about issues relating to housing options?


Do you have any examples of when local authorities within your hub have shared good practice with other members about other issues?


Has your hub shared information and good practice with other hubs?


  • Should information be shared between hubs?
  • Is there a mechanism to do this?
  • What barriers exist to prevent successful information sharing with other hubs?

What barriers exist to successful information sharing with other hubs?

Are you confident that your local authority can meet the 2012 target?


  • What might prevent this?

And, overall, what difference do you feel being part of a hub has made beyond what would happen anyway?

The involvement of other individuals/organisations (5 minutes)

How has the Chief Executive, other senior officials or elected members in your council/organisation been involved in the hub?

How have other people in local authority been involved in the hub?


  • In which ways is it used by colleagues in your local authority?

Have any other organisations been involved in offering your hub guidance and support?

PROMPT: Scottish Government; Scottish Housing Best Value Network; Any other organisations/partners


  • How have they been involved so far?
  • Would you like them to be more/less involved?
  • How has this involvement benefited the hub?

Action Plans (5 minutes)

How did you decide on what to include in your action plan?


  • Was this an easy or difficult thing to do?

Where there any issues deciding on how the funding should be used?


  • How did you prioritise the different needs of members?

How have the tasks required to achieve action plans been delegated among hub members?

Has your action plan changed?


  • Are you allowed to change it?
  • In hindsight, would you have done anything differently?

Are you confident that your hub can meet the targets set out in your action plan?


  • What might prevent this?

Hub working in the future (10 minutes)

In the future, what changes do you plan to make to the way your hub is organised?

How do you feel about your hub being extended beyond 2012?


  • What do you think would be the main benefits of extending your hub?
  • What do you think would be the main difficulties/challenges in extending your hub?

And how do you feel about hub working being rolled-out into other service areas with your council?


  • What do you think would be the main difficulties/challenges in rolling out hubs into other service areas?

What advice would you give to colleagues in other service areas who were looking to set up a hub?

Overall, what are the main aspects that are crucial to make a hub work?

Is there anything else that you'd like to say?


  • Anything about your hub that you feel is important but we haven't discussed?

Thank and close.


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