Housing Options (Prevent 1) Statistics: 2018/19

Housing Options (PREVENT1) Statistics in Scotland to 31 March 2019

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Main Points

Number of Approaches

  • In the last year (1 April 2018 to 31 March 2019), there were 42,850 approaches recorded.
  • Compared with the same period one year ago, there has been a reduction of 2,995 approaches across Scotland (-7%). 24 Local Authorities have seen a reduction in approaches. 
  • It is for local authorities to decide what constitutes an approach, and this can lead to large differences in the volumes of approaches recorded. Across Scotland, the national average for the period 1 April 2018 to 31 March 2019 is 160 approaches per 10,000 households – around 2% of all households in Scotland. 

Open Approaches

  • At 31 March 2019, there were 19,310 approaches recorded since 1 April 2014 that still remained open. This equates to 7% of all approaches recorded since 1 April 2014.
  • During the first four years of the Housing Options statistics, some local authorities have built up a large number of open cases. However this can be a reflection of local practices and is not, of itself, a measure of success or failure. For example, North Lanarkshire has 23% of its cases still open. Where Local Authorities have a high proportion of open cases, it is difficult to assess the effectiveness of the Housing Options approach as approaches can have no recorded outcome.

Reasons for Approaches

  • Despite the overall reduction in Housing Options approaches when comparing 2018/19 with 2017/18, the proportion of approaches made for homelessness type reasons (59%) versus prevention type reasons (41%) has fallen across these two years. In 2017/18, 61% of approaches were for homelessness type reasons.


  • There is wide variation in the mix of activities offered by local authorities. During 2018/19, 54% of all approaches had activities not exceeding Type I advice - active information, sign-posting and explanation. Type II advice (casework) was carried out in a further 46% of approaches.
  • The most common type of activity was to provide general housing advice and tenancy rights advice - this accounted for 37% of all activities during 2018/19. Informing clients of their rights under the homelessness legislation accounted for 28% of all activities. 


  • For approaches closed during the 2018/19 financial year:
    • 50% of approaches made a homelessness application.
    • 22% remained in their current accommodation.
    • 13% had an unknown outcome or contact was lost.
    • 15% found alternative accommodation, including a social rented tenancy (5%), a private rented tenancy (2%) and moving in with family and friends (2%). Other known outcomes accounted for a further 6%.
  • The outcomes achieved by Housing Options vary considerably by Local Authority. For example, during this period:
    • In Clackmannanshire, 98% of all approaches resulted in a homelessness application being made, whilst this figure was 20% in Orkney.
    • 54% of approaches in Stirling remained in their current accommodation, compared to 0% of approaches with this outcome in Orkney.
    • For Orkney, 40% found alternative accommodation. This figure was 1% in Clackmannanshire.
    • For Orkney and Midlothian, 40% have an outcome of lost contact or not known. In Local Authorities where there are high proportions of lost contacts and unknown outcomes, it is difficult to evaluate the effectiveness of their Housing Options policy. 

Repeat Approaches

  • During 2018/19, the rate of repeat approaches for Scotland was 8% of all households. Falkirk had the highest rate of repeat approaches at 15% of households, however this may be a reflection of recording practice. East Dunbartonshire, East Lothian, East Renfrewshire, Eilean Siar, Orkney and West Dunbartonshire all had no repeat approaches in 2018/19. 



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