Homelessness in Scotland: update to 30 September 2017

Information on homelessness applications, assessments and outcomes in the period to 30 September 2017.

This document is part of a collection

Notes on the statistics

1. The statistics presented in this release relate to applications made under the legislation. Given the continuous nature of the recording system, figures are updated on an on-going basis and may differ from those previously published.

The statistics presented in this release relate to applications made under the legislation. Given the continuous nature of the recording system, figures are updated on an on-going basis and may differ from those previously published.

2. The data presented in these tables are based on the time period relevant to the analysis. In some cases, this might be the quarter of application, while in others this might relate to the quarter in which the assessment was made or action taken. All years refer to financial years, 1 April to 31 March.

3. To facilitate comparisons between authorities, some of the Local Authority tables are presented in the form of percentages. However, where the number of applications is small the percentage figures should be treated with caution.

4. Unless otherwise stated, the assessment category of 'homeless' includes both homeless and those threatened with homelessness, as well as unintentional and intentional homeless. Although the focus of the homelessness legislation is on providing settled accommodation to those assessed as unintentionally homeless, the number of applications assessed as intentionally homeless is relatively small – typically 400 cases per quarter (around 5% of all homeless or potentially homeless). This category has therefore been combined with that of unintentionally homeless for the more complex analysis.

5. In December 2001, the Scottish Government changed the data collection system for the case-based HL1 return to provide more detailed information on applications by individual households and to allow more timely reporting. This entailed changing to an electronic data capture system which allows cases to be registered and updated on a continuous basis, as well as enabling applications made by the same household to be linked.

6. The data collection system introduced in December 2001 allows analysis by individual households and the identification of repeat applications. However, this is not the case for earlier data and so analyses comparing data over longer time periods will tend to refer to applications rather than individual households. This is also the case for analyses of flow through the assessment process where repeat applications by the same individual household might be assessed differently and have different outcomes. For other analyses, it is useful to distinguish individual households and so the unit of analysis (applications or individual households) is specified in the footnotes for each table.

7. The data collection was further revised in April 2007 in the light of the Homelessness etc. (Scotland) Act 2003, with some additional information included to reflect current best practice. Further information on the HL1 can be found at http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Statistics/15257/HL1revisions.

Interpretation of statistics on temporary accommodation

8. The figures on households in temporary accommodation relate to households which have been placed in temporary accommodation by a Local Authority under the Homeless Persons legislation. This will include households for whom the Local Authority’s decision and final action is still pending, as well as households which were secured such accommodation as a final action by the authority under the legislation. The data provide a snapshot picture of the numbers in temporary accommodation as at the last day of each quarter and are collected in the summary HL2 return.

9. In June 2005, the HL2 return was revised in order to monitor the implementation of the Homeless Persons (Unsuitable Accommodation) (Scotland) Order 2004. The revised return records the number of households with children or pregnant women in temporary accommodation as at the end of the quarter, the number of those in unsuitable accommodation as defined by the Order, and the number of those in accommodation which breaches the Order. Not all use of unsuitable accommodation is in breach of the Order as such use may be allowed under exceptional circumstances as defined in the Order (see summary of legislation).

How we maintain quality

10. The quality of this publication depends critically on the quality and consistency of the information supplied to us by Local Authorities on the HL1 and HL2 returns. The quality statement on the Scottish homelessness statistics website at http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Statistics/15257/quality sets out the ways in which we do this. The main focus of our systems is to ensure consistency between the HL1 and HL2 returns and consistency of the case level information within each HL1 return.

The HL1 data for Aberdeenshire for the period July to September 2017 was not consistent with figures sent through the aggregate HL2 return - the HL1 submission did not include information on around half of Aberdeenshire’s homelessness applications.

Aberdeenshire are still investigating this issue. We have therefore estimated HL1 cases for the purpose of this publication and the Scotland totals, and the estimated figures are based on the number of applications received to the local authority as quoted through the HL2 return for Aberdeenshire. Figures on Temporary Accommodation are not affected by this data estimation as they are submitted through the HL2 return.

Once Aberdeenshire have rectified the data extraction problem, the HL1 data for the period in question will be revised – see below.

How we deal with revisions and corrections

11. Our approach to revisions and corrections is set out in detail on the Scottish homelessness statistics website at http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Statistics/15257/revisionpolicy. In summary, published statistics and supporting reference tables are generally revised when the figures next appear in any publication. However, if a revision is significant resulting in a major change to the published figures a note showing the revisions will be published as soon as possible on the homelessness statistics website. It will also be distributed to all known recipients of the originally published data via email and the ScotStat mailing list.

How we consult with users and providers of statistics

12. Local Authorities in Scotland provide homelessness statistics as a by-product of their administration of Scottish homelessness legislation. The main users of homelessness statistics are Local Authorities, housing associations, the Scottish Government and voluntary bodies such as Shelter and Homeless Action Scotland. In November 2011, we re-established the Scottish homelessness statistics user provider group with representatives of providers and users of the statistics. We aim for the group to meet once a year. The minutes and papers from meetings of the group can be found on the Scottish homelessness statistics website at: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Statistics/15257/22540.

Obtaining additional analyses

13. The HL1 returns provide a very rich dataset capable of supporting a great deal more analysis than we provide in our regular publications. If you can’t find the analysis you need, contact us at homelessnessstatisticsinbox@scotland.gsi.gov.uk. We can also supply case level extracts from the HL1 database suitably anonymised to prevent disclosure.


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