Housing to 2040: Strategic Board minutes - June 2023

Minutes from the meeting of the group on 29 June 2023.

Attendees and apologies

  • Councillor Maureen Chalmers, COSLA Spokesperson for Community Wellbeing (Co-Chair)
  • Paul McLennan, MSP and Minister for Housing (Co-Chair)
  • Patrick Harvie, MSP and Minister for Zero Carbon Buildings, Active Travel and Tenants’ Rights
  • Michael Cameron, Chief Executive, Scottish Housing Regulator
  • John Blackwood, Chief Executive, Scottish Association of Landlords
  • Sally Thomas, Chief Executive, Scottish Federation of Housing Associations
  • John Mills, Co-Chair, ALACHO
  • Jane Wood, Chief Executive, Homes for Scotland
  • Colin Stewart, Chair, North of Scotland Regional Network
  • Ashley Campbell, Policy and Practice Manager (Scotland), Chartered Institute of Housing (attending in place of Callum Chomczuk)
  • Chris Birt, Associate Director for Scotland, Joseph Rowntree Foundation


  • Sean Neill, Director Local Government, Housing and Planning, Scottish Government

Also in attendance

  • Catriona MacKean, Scottish Government
  • Laura Dougan, Scottish Government
  • Adam Krawczyk, Scottish Government
  • Joe Brown, Scottish Government
  • Catherine Whitaker, SOLACE
  • Stephen O’Connor,  Scottish Government
  • Mike Callaghan, COSLA

Items and actions

Welcome and introductions

Councillor Chalmers (Co-Chair) welcomed members to the second meeting of the Housing to 2040 Strategic Board and introduced the new Co-Chair of the board, Paul McLennan, MSP and Minister for Housing. The Minister noted he had been in post for around 13 weeks and had already met with most on the board. There had been a huge amount of activity and he was keen to meet as many people as possible in the period ahead to take the work forward.

Mr McLennan provided an update on Temporary Accommodation and the Scottish Government (SG) response. Highlighting that reducing the number of people in temporary accommodation was a government priority and a clear commitment included in the First Minister’s Policy Prospectus, the Minister recognised the important role of local government and that he had held extensive discussions with COSLA, ALACHO and Housing Convenors on how to reduce the use of temporary accommodation. 

Mr McLennan also noted that work to set the conditions for effective delivery of action to reduce numbers in Temporary Accommodation had been progressing alongside preparing the Government’s response. He highlighted elements including:

  • maximising use of existing funding 
  • working with pressurised local authorities on targeted solutions
  • continuing to work in partnership with LAs, SFHA and Housing Associations
  • working with the Scottish Housing Regulator to provide clarity for LAs
  • convening a Ministerial oversight group on homelessness which will drive partnership working on homelessness across Government 

Review of previous minutes and action tracker

The note of the board meeting on 22 March 2023 was agreed subject to one suggested amendment and Councillor Chalmers noted that the minutes and agreed terms of reference for the board would be published on the Scottish Government (SG) website over the course of the summer.

John Mills noted an action on the tracker relating to approaches to support movement of PRS properties into social housing supply (where appropriate). John updated the board that he would be attending the Housing Review Group on 4 July where this issue was under active consideration and would update the board thereafter.


  • officials to update the draft meeting note and publish papers on the SG website over summer recess
  • John Mills to provide an update to the next meeting of the board in relation to PRS properties moving into social housing supply

Strategic board workplan and prioritisation

Councillor Chalmers invited Laura Dougan to present to the board on a draft workplan developed by officials, based on the three pillars (prioritisation, data and research) identified by members at the first meeting. Laura noted the intention for the workplan to act as a framework for the board (and any sub groups) carrying out its work. Laura invited members to consider the definition of each pillar, the framework applied to translate those into topics/tasks and those tasks most appropriate for early development. 

Overall, members were supportive of the approach taken in the draft workplan, noting that the framework will be useful to support the board to identify particular areas of interest and develop those into tangible outputs. 

There was a substantial discussion on the pillar of prioritisation. The Minister for Housing identified key priorities, such as the Affordable Housing Supply Programme, addressing cost pressures, tackling homelessness and improving the supply of rural housing. Mr Harvie described the interaction between zero carbon and housing supply, noting that it will be important for the board to drive work to identify the opportunities in this interaction. Councillor Chalmers noted a range of issues, such as skills gaps and recruitment challenges, as well as a wider challenging economic context.

Members agreed that housing supply is a critical priority, noting challenges such as funding certainty, materials/labour costs and land supply. Members also discussed the importance of identifying the barriers to delivering new housing supply and looking at solutions for these across immediate, short and medium/long timeframes.

As well as supply, members agreed that achieving net zero targets was a key priority. Members also noted important work on improving the quality of existing stock and addressing housing challenges in rural areas. 

A number of members suggested that it will be important to ensure there is a strong narrative both within and outside of Government on the social and economic benefits of housing (of all tenures) and that this will support work across all timeframes to meet the Housing to 2040 Vision. 

Members also agreed to focus in on data/research for priority areas identified by the board, rather than attempting to cover the whole of the housing system.

This broad discussion concluded with agreement that SG officials should look to update the draft workplan and discuss with members ahead of the next meeting.


  • officials to update the workplan in line with discussions and discuss with members ahead of the next meeting
  • officials to consider options for developing a narrative on the economic and social benefits of housing to support the board’s work
  • officials to consider inviting a Scottish Government economist to a future meeting of the board
  • officials to share a link to the quarterly publication of the Scottish Housing Market Review

Housing Review Group

Councillor Chalmers invited Joe Brown (SG) and Catherine Whitaker (SOLACE) to update the board on the newly established Housing Review Group (HRG), which met for the first time on 2 June. 

Joe updated that the group, developed by SOLACE, COSLA, ALACHO and SG, was looking at what work could be done in the short-term to address some of the immediate challenges and pressures impacting on the wider housing sector, homelessness services, as well as humanitarian protection and resettlement programmes. The group was looking holistically to build on what currently existed to address the pressures identified and intended to report on its work by the end of September. The output would then be put to the H2040 Strategic Board for consideration of the strategic implications.


  • officials to liaise with HRG to bring the report to the board for consideration and discussion at its next meeting

Next meeting: The next meeting was scheduled for November but the board agreed that officials explore if an earlier meeting in September would be helpful to align with the Housing Review Group reporting its outcomes.


  • officials to consider and inform board members if an earlier meeting is to be held in September

[Post-meeting edit: timescales for the work of the Housing Review Group now suggest an October meeting date for the strategic board will be most appropriate]

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