Joint Housing Policy and Delivery Group meeting: February 2019

Minutes from the Joint Housing Policy and Delivery Group meeting in February 2019

Introductions, apologies, declaration of conflicts of interest, minutes of previous meeting and matters arising

Paper: JHPDG 86


1. Tom Barclay (TB) chairing, welcomed everyone to the 14th meeting of the Joint Housing Policy and Delivery Group (JHPDG), and noted apologies and attendees as above.

2. Members were invited to declare any specific conflicts of interest which might arise in the course of discussions. No conflicts of interest were flagged by any members with regard to the 20 February meeting.

3. The minutes of the previous meeting, held on 7 November 2018, were agreed as read.


Race Equality and Housing – Update


4. TB invited Lesley Fraser (LF) to update the Group on developments since November’s JHPDG session on race equality and housing.

5. LF provided a brief recap of the session and thanked members who had committed to action. Some members had expressed an interest in participating in a smaller group and LF invited other members to let her or the JHPDG Secretariat know if they would like to be involved. (Action Point 1)

6. LF also set out the SG’s commitments (Action Point 2), which were to:

  • Host a seminar to clarify the statutory duties in the Race Equality Act 2010 and, as part of this, to hear directly from BME tenants about their housing experiences;
  • Consider ways to bring BME colleagues into the SG’s Housing & Social Justice Directorate; and
  • Discuss BME issues with the Scottish Housing Regulator


7. TB invited members to respond and comments included the following:

  • It was more important to agree to 3 or 4 actions and to deliver on them, rather than have a plethora of actions that are not progressed;
  • The issue of how we make housing an attractive profession for BME people was also raised;
  • There is an opportunity to give broader thought to this e.g. what might an Equalities and Humans Rights framework for social housing look like? 


8. In summary, TB said he felt it was important to harness the enthusiasm in the room.


Brexit and Housing – Update

9. The Group welcomed the Minister for Local Government, Housing and Planning, Kevin Stewart MSP.

10. The Minister provided an update on the anticipated impact of Brexit on housing, highlighting a number of issues where Brexit outcomes are likely to impact affordable housing provision and homelessness in Scotland. These included: 

  • Both the short and longer-term impacts of  ‘No Deal’ on the supply of building materials as trade between the UK and EU would potentially be disrupted;
  • Problems associated with the loss of non-UK EU nationals and/or the relocation of skilled workers residing in Scotland to other parts of the UK;
  • The risk to borrowing within the house building industry if Brexit impacts on the financial sector’s capacity to lend money; and
  • The potential challenges faced by vulnerable communities across Scotland e.g. rising food and fuel costs and the need for a joined up approach to this across the sector – including working with LF and her team in government to tackle this.

11. In the Q&A session that followed the Minister stressed that the SG was exploring all options to protect Scotland from the impacts of Brexit and that this work was intensifying across the Scottish Government. However, he indicated that while the Scottish Government would do everything it could to protect Scotland from the worst impacts of Brexit, it could not do everything. The Minister strongly encouraged members to be prepared and to have assessed the impact of Brexit on their business/service – highlighting the multi-agency support and advice for businesses in the Prepare for Brexit website: In response to concerns about the impact on tenants and society more widely the Minister added that the SG had launched a website on 6 February specifically designed to provide support and advice on a wide range of Brexit issues:


12. Going forward the minister highlighted the importance of communication and the timely sharing of insights/intelligence on the ground. JHPDG members were asked to share their concerns and insights with the Minister directly or through Lesley and her teams in Government. (Action Point 3)


Quality and Sustainability

Paper: JHPDG 88

13. TB welcomed David Signorini (DS) who provided a high-level introduction to the session. 

14. DS updated the Group on the progress of Energy Efficient Scotland, as well as an update on the Fuel Poverty and Climate Change Bills.

15. Following this, Luke Macaulay talked about the SG’s action on supporting better ‘house conditions’, ‘energy efficiency measures’ and ‘standards’ – slides available on the Web.

16. The break-out group discussion that followed was introduced by David Stewart (SFHA), who described the Cross Party Working Group consultation work on Tenement Maintenance, and their published interim recommendations: 

  • Compulsory owners’ associations, established as corporate bodies so that they can enter into contracts.
  • Compulsory sinking funds to pay for ongoing maintenance costs, enforced by a requirement to pay any outstanding contributions during conveyancing.
  • Five yearly inspections of the common parts of tenements by a qualified professional, to show what work is needed and how much it is likely to cost. This should be made publically available.


17. The Minister for Local Government, Housing and Planning joined members in their break-out groups to hear and discuss the views being expressed on the above recommendations.


18. Representatives from the five break-out groups subsequently fed back to the Minister and the plenary group with their main points – to be circulated as an information paper.
19. The Minister for Local Government, Housing and Planning thanked members for their contributions and following this, set out his own thoughts and reflections in response to the discussion points shared by the groups. He emphasised the need to focus on practical actions which individual JHPDG members, member organisations and the SG were able to implement going forward. He picked out the following as themes for future work:

  • Firstly, think about the practicalities for people that are subject to these measures. What happens to them in reality? What position does it put them in?
  • Who controls the money (with reference to the ‘sinking fund’)
  • We need to shift the culture, but primary legislation may not be the right instrument to achieve this
  • Primary legislation may not be adaptable enough for everyone and over time. There may be a case for setting up a framework where secondary legislation can respond more flexibly
  • There may be a need for more evidence on the potential impact of these measures and any unintended consequences
  • The SG would give due consideration to the work of the Cross Party Group in due course

Big Data and Innovation

20. TB introduced the session, inviting Gerard Scullion from the SG’s Directorate for Digital to set out their work on ‘Big Data’ including the SG approach to getting the most from data, and the role of the Data Lab in this.

21. Following this, Nick Bailey, Director of the Urban Big Data Centre, and Ken Gibb, Director of CaCHE, spoke about the concept of Big Data, how it’s being used for housing and some of the big challenges around this, and, on a more practical level, the work of CaCHE in this area. The latter linked into the last part of the session where Lorna Wilson provided an outline of the SFHA’s Innovation and Future Thinking Programme – slides available on the Web.

22. The Group were then asked to consider what the priorities were for them and to feed this (including any ideas) back to the Group for discussion. This is summarised as follows:

  • We need to better understand the value of data, and how this links into the use of evidence, its quality etc.
  • We should encourage people/members to work together on ‘big data’ work more. (e.g. John McNairney’s team were involved in a place-based digital mapping tool which could help determine where we build future housing).
  • How can we use ‘big data’ to demonstrate the impact of area based schemes, and incorporate this work into the place making agenda.
  • Communities may need support mechanisms to help them digest the data and think about how to utilise this information.
  • Data should be used to empower tenants and citizens by presenting it in accessible and interesting ways.
  • How do we let people, particularly tenants, know that the information is out there?
  • Having better access to public data and using this to break down barriers across the sector.


23. JHPDG Secretariat would ask members leading on ‘big data’ initiatives to share information on their projects. A subsequent invitation to the wider membership will help build a fuller picture of activity in the space. (Action Point 4)


SG Strategic Update


24. LF provided a summary of SG Strategic Developments, which included an update from John McNairney on the Planning Bill.


Housing Beyond 2021 – Update

25. TB invited Elaine Bell (EB) to briefly update the Group on the timetable for Housing Beyond 2021.

26. EB thanked members for their responses to the Housing Beyond 2021 discussion paper and explained that SG officials were currently in the process of analysing the wealth of feedback received. The feedback would assist with identifying themes and options to explore further, which will feed into the development of a consultation paper later in 2019. Plans were also in place to develop a housing exhibition for Summer/Autumn 2019 as another means to gather feedback. It is expected that a final vision and route map will be delivered in Spring 2020.


Any other business/date of next meeting

27. TB reminded members of the upcoming JHPDG Annual Report due in summer 2019 and encouraged the Group to start thinking about its content and the highlights that it should reflect. Thoughts on its content should be sent to the JHPDG Secretariat as soon as possible. (Action Point 5)
28. There was no other business brought forward.

29. Members were invited to submit any further suggestions for issues to be discussed in future plenary meetings to the JHPDG Secretariat. (Action Point 6)

30. Date of next meeting: 13 June 2019 (morning).


Scottish Government

April 2019


Attendees and apologies

Lesley Fraser                        Director for Housing and Social Justice, SG (JHPDG Co-Chair)

Tom Barclay                         RICS (JHPDG Co-Chair)

David Signorini                     Deputy Director, Better Homes Division, SG

Caroline Dicks   More Homes Division, SG (subs)

Sarah Newton                       Communities Analysis Division, SG (subs)

John McNairney                   Chief Planner, Planning & Architecture Division, SG

Beltus Etchu                         African Housing Forum

Annette Finnan Association of Local Authority Chief Housing Officers

Tony Cain                             Association of Local Authority Chief Housing Officers (Policy Manager)

Callum Chomczuk                Chartered Institute of Housing in Scotland

Liz Marquis                           Existing Homes Alliance (subs)

David Bookbinder                 Glasgow and West of Scotland Forum of Housing Association (Director)

Peter Marshall                      Heads of Planning Scotland. (Strategy & Policy Manager – Planning & Regeneration, Perth & Kinross Council)

George Dodds                      NHS Health Scotland (Director of Health Equity)

Matt Lowther                         NHS Health Scotland

Nicola Barclay                      Homes for Scotland (Chief Executive)

Hugh McClung, George McGuinness            Regional Network of Registered Tenants Organisations

Archie Rintoul                       Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, Scotland

Craig McLaren                      Royal Town Planning Institute (Director)

Christa Reekie                      Scottish Futures Trust (subs)

Michael Cameron                 Scottish Housing Regulator

Graeme Brown                     Shelter Scotland (Director)

Sharon Donohoe                  Tenant Information Service (Director)

Rohini Sharma Joshi            Trust Housing Association (Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Manager)

Professor Ken Gibb              Professor in Housing Economics, University of Glasgow


Others Attending:              

Kevin Stewart MSP              Minister for Local Government, Housing and Planning

Nick Bailey                            Urban Big Data Centre (Director)

Lorna Wilson, David Stewart                       Scottish Federation of Housing Associations

Terrence Kirby                      Regional Network of Registered Tenants Organisations (shadowing)

Stephen Garland                  SG

Luke Macauley                     SG

Gerard Scullion                     SG

Niall Davidson                      SG

Elaine Bell                             SG (Secretariat)

Keith Fernie                          SG (Secretariat)

Jesse Knowles                     SG (Secretariat)



Audrey MacDougall              Deputy Director Communities Analysis Division, SG (subs Sarah Newton)

Deborah Smith /Katherine Peskett  Deputy Director More Homes Division, SG (subs Caroline Dicks)

Lori McElroy                         Existing Homes Alliance (subs Liz Marquis)

Peter Reekie                         Scottish Futures Trust (subs Christa Reekie)

Kate Morrison                       CoSLA

Ed Monaghan                       Construction Scotland (Chair)

Malcolm Fraser                     Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (Director of Halliday Fraser Munro Architects)

Margaret Dymond                Regional Network of Registered Tenants Organisations

Norman Kerr                         Scottish Fuel Poverty Forum

Caroline Elgar                       Scottish Association of Landlords

Derek Logie                          Rural Housing Scotland

Items and actions

Action Point 1: Members are invited to let the Secretariat know if they would like to participate in a smaller group looking at Race Equality and Housing.  

Action Point 2: point 6 in the minute sets out various SG’s commitments on Race Equality and Housing, including hosting a seminar.

Action Point 3: members were asked to share their concerns and insights on Brexit issues with the Minister directly or through Lesley and her teams in SG.

Action Point 4: JHPDG Secretariat would ask members leading on ‘big data’ initiatives to share information on their projects. A subsequent invitation to the wider membership will help build a fuller picture of activity in the space.

Action Point 5: members were encouraged to start thinking about the Annual Report content and send their ideas of what it should highlight to the Secretariat as soon as possible.

Action Point 6: Members are invited to submit any further suggestions for issues to be discussed in future plenary meetings to the secretariat.

JHPDG February 2019: Agenda
JHPDG February 2019: Tenement Maintenance Presentation
JHPDG February 2019: Big Data and Innovation Presentation
JHPDG February 2019: Discussion Paper Tenement Maintenance



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