Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Action Group: terms of reference

Terms of reference for the Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Action Group.

Terms of Reference


Ministers have agreed the following membership of the Action Group. To ensure the group is able to act swiftly, members are asked to only delegate to others where they must and that any deputies are empowered to make decisions on behalf of the member.

  • Jon Sparkes, Chief Executive, Crisis (Chair)
  • Russell Barr, Former Moderator, Church of Scotland
  • Maggie Brunjes, Glasgow Homeless Network
  • Mike Dailly, Govan Law Centre
  • David Duke, Street Soccer
  • Suzanne Fitzpatrick, Heriot Watt University
  • Josh Littlejohn, Social Bite
  • Lorraine McGrath, Simon Community/Streetwork
  • Susanne Miller, Glasgow City Council
  • John Mills, Fife Council & ALACHO
  • Shona Stephen, Queens Cross Housing Association
  • Alison Watson, Deputy Chief Executive, Shelter Scotland


The Action Group will provide recommendations to Scottish Government Ministers on the actions and solutions needed to eradicate rough sleeping and transform the use of temporary accommodation in Scotland.

They will also advise Ministers on how to ensure the recommendations are successfully implemented to secure rapid change and improvement towards the Government's goals.

The recommendations will be shaped around the following four questions:-

  1. What can be done to reduce rough sleeping this winter?
  2. How can we end rough sleeping?
  3. How can we transform the use of temporary accommodation?
  4. What needs to be done to end homelessness?

Recommendations for Question 1 will be set out by November 2017; Question 2 by early 2018; Question 3 by early Spring 2018 and Question 4 by late Spring 2018.


For Question 1, the Action Group should note that the £50m Ending Homelessness Together Fund will not be released until April 2018. If there is a case for any additional rough sleeping initiatives to be funded this Winter, Scottish Government officials will work with the Group to advise Ministers on whether this could be funded within current resources, or whether it would be possible to make a case for additional funds. Members of the group may also wish to consider ways to support the Group's work in kind with their own organisations' resources.

Questions 2, 3 and 4 are to be looked at in the context of the Government's commitment to spend an additional £50m over the next 5 years to tackle homelessness. The Action Group may wish to make recommendations on how that additional resource should be used to address the questions.


The Action Group will ensure that they tackle their task in the context of the following principles:

  • Act quickly, bringing evidence and ideas to the very first meeting and taking work on as necessary in between meetings to ensure rapid progress
  • Inspire and drive change and improvement
  • Focus on action and solutions for both immediate and long term change
  • Draw on evidence, including direct personal experience of homeless and formerly homeless people
  • Ensure change leads to improvement throughout the system
  • Lead across the whole system working with and through a wide range of partners

To achieve our aims in light of these principles, the Group will acknowledge and value the fact that each Group member will bring their own knowledge and understanding of homelessness in Scotland and elsewhere. The Group will also benefit from the networks that support some of the member organisations.

The Group will bring their different viewpoints together with the evidence to form joint recommendations. In the case of differences of opinion, the Group will ensure these are surfaced, addressed and do not get in the way of rapid work to set out solutions.


The Group will report to Ministers both in providing regular updates on their plans and progress, and in delivering final recommendations against the four questions set out above.

Officials will support the Group which will complement the existing Homelessness Prevention & Strategy Group (HPSG). The HPSG will also meet once between now and Christmas and will seek to support the Action Group's work. Timing of this meeting will be determined once the Action Group has had an opportunity to discuss their work.

Engaging the wider sector

Some Group members will have a role in representing the views of a particular constituency, in which case they will accept a role in relaying messages from Action Group meetings back to others with an interest as well as delivering feedback to the Group.

All Group members will have a role to play in communicating with and engaging the wider sector, which Scottish Government officials will support. The HPSG will also have a role.


Group members will ensure their organisations work with SG communications colleagues to allow consistency and coordination of messaging around the Group's work and support the successful engagement with the wider sector as well as the public.

Dates of Meetings

  • 5th October (pm, Edinburgh)
  • 2nd November (time and venue tbc)
  • 22nd November (time and venue tbc)
  • 13th December (time and venue tbc)
  • Further meetings in 2018 tbc
HARSAG - papers - ToR - Final.pdf
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