Please see the section on data quality for a discussion of known factors which might affect the tables in this publication.
Where figures have been rounded, the total shown may not equal the sum of its constituent parts.
All tables in this publication are available at: http://www.gov.scot/homelessstats
Why collect this data?
In March 2012, in its report on the 2012 Homelessness Commitment, the Infrastructure and Capital Investment (ICI) Committee recommended that the Scottish Government should consider the development of a measurement tool for homelessness prevention work.
Consultation began with the Homelessness Statistics User Group (HSUG) on the development of the return (known as PREVENT1), and the final version was agreed by Local Authorities in April 2013. In October 2013, the Minister for Housing and Welfare and COSLA decided that the collection of Housing Options activity should be mandatory in order to achieve a comprehensive understanding across all Scottish local authorities. Data capture commenced in April 2014.
Main users of the data are Local Authorities and Scottish Government policy colleagues, academics and third sector parties. User needs are represented by the Homelessness Statistics Users Group, which also sets out to improve the quality of the data collected.
How the data is collected
One month after the end of each quarter, Local Authorities are asked to submit an XML file containing the information as set out in the data specification. This data is then uploaded to the Scottish Government’s ProcXed website. Once the data has been validated by our software, the data is passed over to the Scottish Government’s Communities Analytical Division.
The data submitted via the agreed specification includes a number of validations. These validations are provided through an XSD schema and have also been implemented into the ProcXed system. Once Local Authorities submit data to the ProcXed system, a number of validations are triggered and warning messages appear. Local Authorities may re-submit data to fix these errors or they can comment on them to explain why they believe the data is valid. On submission of the data to the Scottish Government, each Local Authority is sent a detailed automatic report showing the contents of the data and any remaining errors.
Please note here is a known issue with the number of approaches for Q1 2018/19 and Q3 2018/19 for Perth & Kinross, for this reason please treat any results for this local authority with caution. This issue will be rectified in the next publication.
The data specification for the Housing Options (PREVENT1) statistics is available at: http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Statistics/15257/1529/prevent1
Guidance to help Local Authority officers to record information is available at: http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Statistics/15257/1529/introductionprevent1
Calculation of Households
We collect information on all people within each application. To group people into household units we filter the people table to contain only the main applicant and their partner. We ensure that there is no more than two people for each application. We generate a unique household reference based on the hashed National Insurance Number, gender and date of birth of the main applicant, and if applicable, their partner.
Local Authorities working on the Housing Options approach have looked at the broad description of providing a tailored service to households and have adopted it for their own uses. Housing Options opens up further areas to explore in attempting to achieve the most sustainable options available for them.
Housing Options Hubs
The hubs were awarded grants to undertake joint training, commissioning joint research, developing joint approaches to prevention, benchmarking and sharing practice and learning. These are supported by quarterly seminars which brings the hubs together to discuss their own developments, receive a Scottish Government update, discuss topical issues of the day and enable other organisations access to the hubs to explain their work and the benefits they can offer.
Ayrshire and South Hub
North Ayrshire Council, Dumfries and Galloway Council, East Ayrshire Council, Inverclyde Council, South Ayrshire Council.
City of Edinburgh Council, East Lothian Council, Falkirk Council, Midlothian Council, Scottish Borders Council, West Lothian Council.
North and Islands Hub
Highland Council, Aberdeen City Council, Aberdeenshire Council, Eilean Siar, Moray Council, Orkney Islands Council, Shetland Islands Council.
Tayside, Fife and Central Hub
Perth and Kinross Council, Angus Council, Argyll and Bute Council, Clackmannanshire Council, Dundee City Council, Fife Council, Stirling Council.
East Dunbartonshire Council, East Renfrewshire Council, Glasgow City Council, North Lanarkshire Council, Renfrewshire Council, South Lanarkshire Council, West Dunbartonshire Council, Glasgow Housing Association (GHA).
Recommendations from the Scottish Housing Regulator thematic inquiry
These recommendations have been taken from: http://www.scottishhousingregulator.gov.uk/publications/housing-options-scotland-thematic-inquiry
The Scottish Government should:
- provide enhanced guidance for Local Authorities on the delivery of Housing Options;
- ensure that guidance provides clarity on how Local Authorities operate Housing Options effectively within the context of homeless duties and obligations; and
- use the recently introduced mandatory data collection for Local Authorities to evaluate the success of policy on Housing Options.
The Scottish Government and Local Authorities should:
- build on the work of the Hubs to further develop clear and supportive practice tools to help practitioners deliver Housing Options effectively.
Local Authorities should:
- ensure all outcomes in Housing Options cases are recorded in accordance with the Scottish Government’s recently introduced monitoring system;
- ensure that outcomes achieved through Housing Options are consistent, appropriate and meet people’s needs;
- consider opportunities for early intervention and work to prevent homelessness;
- ensure that support assessments are given to people who need them;
- review any use of staff performance targets around reducing numbers of homeless applications to ensure these do not result in behaviours that act against the achievement of good outcomes for people in need;
- minimise the time people wait between initial contact and Housing Options interview;
- support front line officers with appropriate training and clear guidance and procedures;
- ensure they complete a homeless assessment, while progressing Housing Options efforts, where there is clear evidence of homelessness or potential homelessness.
- have a consistent structure for Housing Options interviews to ensure that relevant and important questions are always asked;
- ensure that advice and information is given in a balanced and appropriate way;
- improve the quality of record keeping to ensure accurate records of discussions and outcomes and provide a timely record of discussions and actions for the service user; and
- implement a systematic and consistent system of audit of Housing Options work with the aim of improving service delivery.
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