- 20 Oct 2020
Attendees and apologies
- Kevin Stewart - Minister for Local Government, Housing and Planning
- Katey Tabner - COSLA
- Sally Thomas - SFHA
- Nina Ballantyne - CAB
- Catriona MacKean - SG
- Naeem Bhatti – SG
- Charlotte McHaffie – SG
- Margaret Irving – SG
- Cllr Elena Whitham – COSLA
- Laura Cavan, COSLA
- John Blackwood - SAL
- Angela O’Brien - SG
Items and actions
1. Welcome / Introductions / Apologies
The Minister welcomed everyone to the meeting.
2. Note of previous meeting / actions
The note of the previous meeting was agreed.
3. Updates from Resilience Groups
Social Housing Resilience Group
Group discussed the following:
- Reversion of notice period for evictions which was well received by the group.
- Noted that PfG mentioned homelessness and housing 104 times.
- Scottish consolidated advice note on cladding.
- PPE going well.
- Will discuss the National Care review at next meeting.
- Had a useful discussion on the Tenant hardship loan fund and hope to get some consultation responses.
- SHR returns for August.
- Community resilience at grass roots level. PHS going to start a working group which will link with HSPC work on lived experience.
- Homelessness Action plan.
- Future role of group.
Local Authority Housing Resilience Group
Group discussed the following:
- Refocus terms of reference of group to include Housing to 2040, recovery from Covid, reduce to monthly meetings but scope to increase again.
- Gypsy /Traveller Action Plan
- No recourse to public funds roadmap consultation
- Void processing moving up to 60%
- Welcomed return to 28 notice period of ASB
PRS Resilience Group
The group discussed the following:
- Supporting tenants with debt.
- Issues around evictions.
- DHP fund as a whole, looking for feedback from the group. Intend to pull together info about DHP in different geographical areas. Pleased to note there is additional funding.
- Landlord loan fund – worked well for those who had accessed it.
- Additional stats on housing advice data were provided for the members of this group.
The Minister noted the following:
- Aware there is concern about the Internal Market Bill. Need to look at UK Infrastructure spending priorities compared to Scotland. There needs to be more discussion about what the bill means.
- Good to see movement in terms of voids but think we could go quicker and worthwhile exploring best practice.
- Pleased there is continuing discussion about NRPF and Gypsy/Traveller work.
- The resilience groups are influencing the decisions we are taking. ASB aspect and extension of coronavirus act is as a result of influence of the groups.
- Tenant hardship loan fund is not ideal but it is another solution which has arisen from the groups. Where possible individuals should be signposted to other help before using this scheme. The Welsh are looking at something similar but we are working at faster rate. SG officials dealing with this will make herself available to all groups if required.
- There was a brief discussion of the landlord fund and how this might be amended following suggestions from the groups. This will be aimed at smaller landlords and not larger landlords.
4. Evolution of the Resilience Groups
The Minister noted that the joint housing resilience chairs group had been very useful. The group has helped influence many things during the current pandemic. The situation is still unpredictable and have not yet moved to phase 4. There are upcoming issues around Brexit and the internal market bill so there is a need to keep communicating. This group should continue if you decided that the other 3 resilience groups are still beneficial.
Members all agreed that the Resilience groups were beneficial for many reasons not least the cross referencing in the individual meetings but also in this forum which provided a safe space for discussions. Aware that the scope and focus may change but extremely valuable opportunity to feed in information on the ground. PRS group in particular feel that they are still in crisis mode as the tribunals open up. All agreed to keep the meetings on a 2 weekly basis just now.
5. Housing System Policy Circle Update
Sally Thomas, joint chair of the HSPC, provided an update
- The next meeting of the group takes place tomorrow.
- Next meeting of SRAB also tomorrow.
- Have transformed PFG into recommendations for 2040 to draw out ones we can add value to and produce deliverable actions
- Group have agreed 5 key principles to take forward.
- Group will discuss the challenges we need to overcome, the aims and the first steps to get to those aims for 2040.
- Lived experience voices will be taken into account as part of the process. Still front and centre of our work. As we progress this will inform through EQIA and equalities material.
6. Any Other Business
Is there anything that the groups should be looking at in terms of the upcoming budget?
The Minister responded saying that there is no indication of when the UK budget will take place. SG Intentions are that we would go back to our normal budget timetable. However this is not a certainty and we will let the groups know as we move forward.
Any advice on where we should be concentrating our efforts to help bring you information to support the case?
The Minister noted that we know what is required but the issue is lack of resource. Need to influence UK chancellor infrastructure spend.
He confirmed that information on landlord’s loan fund and tenant’s hardship fund will be shared as soon as we can.
The next meeting will in two weeks.