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 E: Telephone interviews with Local authority data representatives - topic guide

Data scoping interviews with LA staff - Topic Guide


The first thing to point out, before we start our discussion, is that the work that I'm undertaking with Ipsos MORI is part of an independent evaluation that has been commissioned by the Scottish Government. I'll take full notes of the interview and use quotes from individuals to reflect the views of local authority staff but no individual views will be attributed - everything you say is anonymous.

At this stage, we know that the Hub approach is still very much under development. I've read over the Action Plans and see lots of activity going on and planned, relating to identifying training needs, staff training, sharing expertise, joint procurement of consultancy and the development of monitoring frameworks etc. The purpose of this interview is to get some sense of where data and monitoring sit within your current work, what is planned and what hurdles there might be to get where you want to be.

Roles and responsibilities

What role do you have within the local authority? Where is the Housing Options work 'sitting' at the moment? Is that within the Homelessness service or somewhere else? Does a department have responsibility for it or is it shared across different people/divisions? Who tends to go to the Hub meetings? How is that working out?

Who within the organisation is currently involved in monitoring/performance reporting? Who looks after management performance data on rent arrears, voids, tenancy? Who looks after HL1/HL2 reporting? (In transfer LAs we'll need to amend this to exclude housing management data)

Data systems

At the moment, how is information about homeless case files held? Is it on paper or electronic files? If on electronic files, does that system 'talk' to the Housing Management data? If not, what information is carried over to the HM data when a homeless allocation is made? (In Transfer LAs) How is data transferred from the Homelessness section to the housing provider - what data/information is carried across?

Reporting and using data

What sort of reporting (if any) do you do from the homelessness case data? Just HL1/HL2 or other data? How often is that done? Who uses that data?

How well does it work - is it fairly systematic/automatic? Are there standard reports? Are there any frustrations?

Recording housing support and prevention activities

If someone gets housing support or another type of referral, or information or advice, is that flagged/recorded in the case-file? What sort of activities would be logged in the case-file? Is that done using a standard form?

How is it recorded when the client is a homeless applicant? Is this different when the client does not make an application?

Would any record be made of activities being done - advice, information, sign-posting, etc. where no application is made? Would that person be recorded as potentially homeless or something else?

How consistent do you think staff are in their recording? Is activity being 'lost' from reporting/recording?

Data aspirations

Where would you like to be, data/monitoring-wise, in 12 months time? In 5 years? What is likely to affect progress? What resource issues/barriers are there?

How does your organisation's monitoring and data experience or 'ethos' fit into the Hub's Action Plan? Do you feel ahead or behind others in the Hub? Is anyone in the Hub taking the lead on monitoring data?

Do you feel you (and your staff) have the skills you need to record and monitor activity? What kind of help/support/insights might be useful to get? What sort of monitoring are you aware of being developed elsewhere?

Has the Hub discussed benchmarking/monitoring yet? How far is there agreement on the approach? What plans are in place for future monitoring?

Current benchmarking

Are you receiving support from anyone outside of the Hub to help to design your monitoring framework? Is that something you might do in future?

What about other housing benchmarking data? Are you involved in the Scottish Housing Best Value Network? Or any other benchmarking?

Is there anything else you'd like to say, about monitoring homeless prevention, the Hubs or anything else?


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