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 A: Scoping interviews with Hub 'leads' - topic guide


11-010156-01 Evaluation of Homelessness Hubs

Scoping interviews with lead local authority representatives

Discussion Guide_Final


Introduce self and Ipsos MORI

Thank participant for taking part, should take around 40 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 an idea of how your hub is organised and managed, at what stage of development it is at, and your views on how your hub has worked so far.

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.

Background about their role

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

Now I'd just like to ask you a few questions about the background to the introduction of housing hubs

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


How did you first find out that housing Hubs were going to be introduced?

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


  • Did you have any concerns?

What information or training did you receive about the housing hub approach at the start?

Why was <LOCAL AUTHORITY> chosen to be the lead/host for your hub?


  • How do you feel about being the lead/host authority?

And how was the setup process?


  • Were there any teething problems in setting up your hub?
  • How were teething problems resolved?
  • Was there anything that particularly helped at this stage?
  • How was the Chief Executive or other senior officials in your council involved in the set up of the hub? [IF INVOLVED: What was the job title of the most senior person involved?]

Structure and working arrangements of hubs

Can you tell me a bit about how your hub works in practice?


  • Do you meet face to face?
  • How regularly do you meet?
  • Who attends the meetings?
  • What is discussed?
  • How is the information from the meetings disseminated, if at all?
  • Who is the information disseminated to?

Do members also have more informal contact?


  • How does this contact take place? [Face to face; Email; telephone; CoP Website]
  • How frequent is it?
  • What is discussed?
  • Does this involve all or only some local authorities in your hub?

Do hub members communicate via the Communities of Practice website?


  • IF YES: How frequently?
  • For what kind of things?
  • IF NO: Why do you not use it?

Are all hub members people who do similar jobs to you in other local authorities?

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


  • How has this impacted on the way your hub works?

What are the funding arrangements in place for your hub?


  • Have the current funding arrangements had any impact on how your hub operates?

Action Plans

Could you tell me a bit about how the action plan for your hub was drawn up?


  • Were all members in agreement about what the priorities of the action plan should be?

Being the lead/host local authority, do you have responsibility for ensuring the action plan is delivered?


  • How are the tasks required to achieve action plans delegated among hub members?
  • How will you make sure the plan is delivered?

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


  • What barriers exist that might prevent this?

It is our understanding that hubs are required to report to the Scottish Government on their progress towards meeting actions plans. How are you planning to do this?


  • How regularly is your hub planning to do this?
  • How will you report?
  • Who will report?

Benefits of Hub Working

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

Has it made implementing housing options more difficult for any local authorities?

So far, 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?
  • has anything helped working together?

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

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

Has your hub shared information with other hubs?


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

From what you know, how does your hub compare to those operating elsewhere in Scotland?


  • Is your hub more or less developed?

Monitoring data and further research

I'd like to talk a little bit about monitoring. Clearly, it is still very early days for the hub, so some of this might be about what you are going to do rather than what you have done already…

What has been done/what is planned for ongoing monitoring in relation to:

  • progress towards meeting the aims set out in the action plans?
  • success in implementing the housing options approach?
  • preventing homelessness in your area?

Have the Scottish Housing Best Value Network been involved so far?

  • What involvement/discussions have you had with them?
  • How is that progressing?

How is the process of bench-marking/building a 'baseline' position going?

  • How close to having a 'baseline' picture do you think the hub members are?
  • Do you have any issues/concerns about benchmarking and ongoing monitoring?

And, at this stage, how do you see statistics being collated by hub members and shared across the hub in future?

One of the elements of evaluation involves looking at local authority's monitoring data on homelessness and housing options. Who would be the best person to talk to in your department about accessing this data?

We also plan to carry out further research with each of the hub representatives - either as a focus group or a series of individual depth interviews. If it was a focus group, we would, ideally, schedule it to coincide with when you are meeting and would also observe the meeting if possible. This can be anytime between June and November. Do you have a meeting scheduled during this time?

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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