Homelessness: Temporary Accommodation Standards Framework Working Group minutes - 28 October 2021

Minutes from the meeting of the group on 28 October 2021.

Attendees and apologies

  • Moira Bayne, Housing Options Scotland
  • Lisa Borthwick, Shelter Scotland
  • Ashley Campbell, Chartered Institute of Housing
  • Mike Campbell, Scottish Association of Landlords
  • Laura Caven, COSLA
  • Olga Clayton, The Wheatley Group
  • Andrea Elliott, Ayrshire, and South Hub
  • Karen Grieve, Scottish Government
  • Jim Hayton, Scotland’s Housing Network (Chair)
  • Hugh Hill, Simon Community Scotland
  • Allan Jones, North and Islands Hub
  • Eileen McMullen, Scottish Federation of Housing Associations
  • John Mills, ALACHO and Fife Council
  • Callum Neil, Homeless Network Scotland, Change Team
  • Gary Quinn, West Hub
  • Rhiannon Sims, Crisis
  • Louise Thompson, Scottish Government
  • Jade Wallace, Homeless Network Scotland, Change Team

Items and actions

Welcome, minutes of previous meeting, update on action points

Jim Hayton (JH) welcomed everyone to the second meeting of the group. Discussions were to be shaped by the papers shared to focus on key areas to develop an agreed framework which is legally enforceable. 

Members agreed the record of the previous meeting was accurate. 

An update was provided on the actions from the meeting held on 7 October 2021.


  • SG to update Terms of Reference. Update - amended to ensure that equality (including disability), health (including mental health) and lived experience impacts are considered. The working group (WG) membership has also been updated
  • SG officials to liaise with SG legal colleagues on the possible legislative routes as well as any potential implications arising from the implementation of a legally enforceable standards framework by local authorities. Update - SG officials have approached SG Legal Department and will update in due course
  • members to send questions, views, and comments on the supporting paper to MQ who will condense and re-circulate before the next meeting. Update - nothing has been received to date
  • SG officials to liaise with SHR to discuss their role in respect of a standards framework. Update - SG officials have had an initial discussion with SHR on their role, however, further discussion is required. The WG will be kept informed as this progresses

Temporary accommodation standards

JH asked the WG whether these standards remained fit for purpose given the developments since November 2019.

Key points from members-

  • standards should reflect the changes from the development of RRTPs and the effects of the pandemic response 
  • further guidance for local authorities on community hosting, rapid access and shared accommodation and case studies required on what is classified as ‘unsuitable accommodation’
  • energy efficiency should be considered including clarity on energy suppliers as some tenants are missing out on discounts where the local authority retains the account for energy supply. Some local authorities charge a flat rate given difficulties with accessing energy supplier accounts on departure due to GDPR
  • there should be clear communication about tenants’ rights and what tenants can expect to ensure people have redress. The complaint process should be clear and accessible
  • paper leaflets are needed as well as digital communication, and a range of means is needed to communicate the standards, including appropriate communications to target young people. Clear and consistent communication will help to build trust which is a current barrier to supporting statutory homeless households into permanent accommodation
  • there needs to be greater consideration for the access needs of all disabled people, including those that are not physical, e.g., autism appropriate standards. Social policy changes should be included, e.g., National Autism Strategy review 2021. B and Bs may not be appropriate for an autistic adults, e.g., lack of privacy/personal space, training of support staff, etc
  • when defining temporary accommodation, it is useful to think about each setting as the management and regulation of these which can differ depending on what properties are registered or not
  • digital inclusion, e.g., access to devices in shared areas and the availability of broadband. This is more difficult in scatter flats, easier in shared accommodation. Consider top-ups and devices, especially for young people
  • definition of ‘affordability’ should reflect that temporary accommodation should be affordable to all households based on reasonable costs. A lot of funding is through housing benefit which may not be compatible with community based services
  • care needs to be taken that location standards meet the different needs of households, particularly those in rural communities, e.g., location may not meet the standard of accessible public transport
  • a person-focused approach to assess the household’s needs is required rather than this being dictated by the system
  • can we define what is meant be adequate cooking facilities in the physical standards and name specific appliances? Access to a kitchen with a stove and oven, fridge, microwave, washing machine, etc
  • undertaking needs and personal risk assessments are required in communal settings and staff should be trained on how to identify an overdose and administer Naloxone. Is there an opportunity here to better connect with the Drugs Death Taskforce?
  • the social letting agency model in the PRS has traction. There are models of in-house letting agents in Perth and Kinross and South Ayrshire
  • increasing lets to homeless households by private landlords is more likely to succeed if there is access to good quality support for tenants 
  • service standards, needs assessments and framework need to be consistent and reflect existing legislation as well as be flexible to support proposed/future changes, e.g., the prevention duty
  • an overarching set of principles as to how people are treated (i.e., with dignity and respect) should be created as part of the standards, incorporating a human rights based approach


  • SG to consider if the affordability of temporary accommodation is within the remit of this group

How the new advisory standards can be incorporated into a temporary accommodation standards framework

JH spoke to the supporting paper and invited members to consider ways in which the new advisory standards could be included and referenced in a temporary accommodation standards framework. Suggestions included-

  • a single document to be produced
  • the use of simple, clear language to explain peoples’ rights and routes to redress 
  • development of a range of materials, including paper based and digital communications, available in a range of languages and with different levels of detail. Photos should be included to demonstrate acceptable standards
  • should there be standards around turnover, cleanliness, etc, due to Covid? Advice from Public Health Scotland could be sought as to what would be relevant to include here to protect public health
  • incorporation into a Code of Guidance so that local authorities have due regard to the Code of Guidance when discharging their duty
  • need to consider enforcement/regulation/evaluation –and if this would be the SHR or Care Commission
  • the need to align this with international standards and future proof it, e.g., incorporation of human rights agenda and right to adequate housing
  • learn from existing practice to improve people’s experiences, e.g., the success of Edinburgh’s Welcome Centre
  • acknowledge the challenges where the quality and location of temporary accommodation is better than the permanent offer available which can make people reluctant to move, especially if they have developed a local support system
  • the length of time a household spends in temporary accommodation can be unintentionally extended if the offer of permanent accommodation is refused and they opt to wait for an alternative
  • people appreciate honesty in discussions around the social housing stock available and the alternatives open to them. Communication about a household’s expectations and aspirations should be realistic and encourage them to consider changes they may need to make to their daily routine if they accepted other accommodation
  • there needs to be awareness of the complaints system, which should be accessible and credible with regulation/monitoring and evaluation to ensure it is fit for purpose
  • feedback from people using the services should be sought to develop a benchmark
  • people need to be made aware of their rights and how to exercise them.,
  • courts should be avoided and only used as a last resort as the system should support people and issues should be dealt with at an early stage
  • a formal evaluation should be undertaken after a few years to assess the success of the framework and ensure the standards are being met

Any other business and close

JH thanked everyone for their attendance and their contributions.

The next meeting is scheduled for 10.30-12.00 on Thursday 25 November 2021.

Back to top