Housing services and integrated health and social care: housing advice note

Guidance for integration authorities, health boards and local authorities on their responsibilities to involve housing services in the integration of health and social care.

4. Some key housing functions of particular relevance

4.1. This section provides information about key housing services which must or may, in part, be delegated by the Local Authority: adaptations, aids and equipment; housing support; and homelessness services. A good source of evidence on the scale of current, and future provision, of these items can be found in Local Authority Housing Need and Demand Assessments.

Adaptations, aids and equipment

4.2. The provision of adaptations, aids and equipment under the Housing (Scotland) Acts 2001 and 2006 must be delegated. This means that Integration Authorities will take on responsibility in relation to adaptations provided to council tenants and those living in the private sector such as home owners and private renters, as part of the planning and direction of integrated health and social care services.

4.3. Currently there are different arrangements for funding adaptations for tenants of Housing Associations, which are directly supported by the Scottish Government.

4.4. Further information can be found in a separate Advice Note about Adaptations, Aids and Equipment.

Housing Support

4.5. Housing support services have developed over a number of years as a response to a wide range of needs, with the aim of helping people to live independently in the community. Recipients of housing support services cover a wide range of population needs including the homeless, people with mental health issues, disabilities, older people and young people.

4.6. Housing support services can be delivered in conjunction with personal care and support services, and where this happens the housing support service will be planned and directed, alongside integrated health and social care services, by the Integration Authority. Examples of such services include care at home and support services for people with learning disabilities, mental health problems and / or dementia, delivered in their own homes, sometimes on a 24 hour basis. There are other types of housing support service which do not involve personal care and it will be the decision of Local Authorities as to whether or not they delegate their planning and delivery of these services to the Integration Authorities. Examples of such services include resettlement services, supported accommodation for people who are homeless, sheltered housing services and women's refuges. [3]

4.7. Overall to achieve improved outcomes across the population it is important that Integration Authorities and strategic housing authorities work closely together on key aspects of housing support including:

  • Assessing the range of housing support needs across the population and understanding the link with health and social care needs;
  • Identifying common priorities that are reflected in both the Local Housing Strategy and Strategic Commissioning Plan (see also section 5);
  • Identifying and making best use of resources to meet the housing support needs of the local population.

Homelessness services

4.8. The Act allows for the delegation of various homelessness functions by a Local Authority. The delegation of these functions is not mandatory. However, whether the services are delegated or not, it is imperative that Integration Authorities and strategic housing authorities work closely together on improving outcomes for homeless households, given the acknowledged link with health inequalities. Improved joint working is required on:

  • Assessment of the housing, health and social care needs of the homeless population;
  • Formulation and delivery of homelessness strategies and the link with the Strategic Commissioning Plan;
  • Joint commissioning of advice and support services for homelessness, making best use of the resources available.


4.9. Specifically in relation to adaptations, housing support and homelessness the expectation is that the new strategic planning process for health and social care provides an opportunity to bring together a joint focus on priorities and shared outcomes, and highlight more clearly the housing contribution.

Key Points on Adaptations, Housing Support & Homelessness

  • Adaptations services for council tenants and those living in the private sector must be delegated in tandem with a focus on improving planning and delivery across all tenures.
  • Integration Authorities, Health Boards and Local Authorities need to consider the arrangements for improved joint working on homelessness and housing support.
  • A joint analytical capacity needs to be developed to improve understanding of housing, health and support needs of specific population groups.
  • Joint priorities, resourcing and commissioning for homelessness and housing support should be developed and articulated through both the Local Housing Strategy and Strategic Commissioning Plan.


Email: hscintegration@gov.scot

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