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 D: Telephone interviews with Heads of service - topic guide


11-010156-01 Evaluation of Homelessness Hubs

Qual with local authority Heads of Service

Discussion Guide for telephone interviews_Final


Introduce self and Ipsos MORI

Thank participant for taking part, should take around 30 minutes.

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 the hub approach, how you think it is helping your local authority to implement housing options, and how hub working could be improved.

We have been speaking to all 32 Local Authority representatives. We are speaking to a sample of Heads of Service to explore their views on the hubs process.

Please be 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 couple of questions about your current post?

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 (3 minutes)

When did you first hear about the housing hubs approach?

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


  • Did you have any concerns?

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


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?

How do you feel the hub approach has been generally received?


  • Have any local authorities/organisations been more positive or negative than others?

Involvement of senior staff/other organisations (5 minutes)

How, if at all, have you and other senior officials or elected members in your council/organisation been involved in the hub so far?


  • Do you think you/senior official should be more/less involved?
  • Do you expect to have more/less involvement in the future?

IF NOT MENTIONED ABOVE: How, if at all, were you involved in the set up of the hubs approach?


  • Would you have liked more or less involvement?

And so far, how have other members of the housing team been involved in the hub?


  • In which ways do they get involved?
  • Do you expect them to get involved more in the future

How, if at all, is information from the hub shared with other staff in your local authority?


  • Do you think more could be done to share information from the hub?

From what you know, how have other organisations been involved in supporting the hub approach? PROMPT: Scottish Government; Housing Associations/ RSLs in your area; Third Sector; Any other organisations/partners


  • How have they been involved so far?
  • Would you like them to be more/less involved?

The role of hubs in encouraging a 'culture change' (12 minutes)

READ OUT: 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

Would you say there has been a culture change in the way your local authority deals with homelessness presentations?


Had the culture change started before the implementation of the hub?


  • What factors helped to bring about the culture change?

Has the hub approach helped to bring about this 'culture change'?


What impact, if any, has the hub approach had on practical working arrangements in your department?


  • Resourcing [IF HAD AN IMPACT, PROBE: How has this been managed?]
  • Training

Has the hub approach helped your local authority 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?

Have you changed your plans for implementing housing options as a result of the hub?


  • In what ways did the plans change?

READ OUT: The Scottish Government allocated a total of £500k 'enabling funding' for the five hubs to spend.

What do think about how your hub has spent its allocation?

Do you feel there should have been more or less funding?

Do you feel that resources allocated to the hubs could have been used more effectively?

Overall, what difference do you feel being part of a hub has made beyond what would have happened in your local authority anyway?

Hub working in the future (10 minutes)

As you may know, the funding for the hubs has been confirmed up until the end of March 2012.

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

Do you feel there would be any benefits to rolling out the hub approach to other service areas within your council?


  • Are there any service areas in which you think it would work particularly well?
  • And are there any service areas that you think would not be suitable for a hub approach?

And what particular aspects of the hub approach would be of benefit to other service areas?


  • partnership working/building relationships with other local authorities
  • shared learning
  • enabling funding
  • Any other aspects that participant mentioned in previous discussion

Has there been any interest in the hub approach from other departments/senior managers?


  • Has it been discussed in meetings you've had with senior colleagues

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

What concerns, if any, would you have about hub approach being rolled-out into other service areas?

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


  • what aspects of hub working would you retain?
  • what aspects would you change?

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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