Publication - Minutes

Local Authority Housing Resilience Group minutes: 15 December 2020

Published: 26 Jan 2021
Date of meeting: 15 Dec 2020
Date of next meeting: 19 Jan 2021

Minutes of the Local Authority Housing Resilience Group meeting on 15 December 2020

Published:
26 Jan 2021
Local Authority Housing Resilience Group minutes: 15 December 2020

Attendees and apologies

Laura Caven, COSLA (Chair)

Marion Gibbs, SG

Mandy Brown, SG (Secretariat)

Tony Cain, ALACHO

Stephen Clark, Stirling Council

Ashley Campbell, CIH

David Goldie, Highland Council

AnnMarie Carr, West Lothian Council

Caroline Dicks, SG

Naeem Bhatti, SG

Douglas Whyte, Argyll and Bute

Katrina Reid, Public Health Scotland

John Mills, ALACHO

David Simpson, Dundee City Council

 

Apologies

Iona Macphail, Argyll & Bute Council

Clare Mailer, Perth and Kinross Council

Connie Smith, SG

Eloise Nutbrown, COSLA

Lorraine Smith, HSC Fife

Michael Cameron, SHR

Phil Daws, East Renfrewshire Council

Angela Keith SOLACE

Items and actions

1. Welcome and approval of previous minutes

The note from the previous meeting was agreed

2. Ban on Eviction Enforcement

On 3 December the First Minister announced a ban on any eviction notices being enforced between 11 December 2020 to 22 January 2021.

This means no eviction orders can be carried out except in limited circumstances relating to antisocial behaviour and domestic abuse.

This is emergency legislation due to the ongoing pandemic.

There isn’t any provision in these Regulations to extend the 6 week temporary ban period.

Discussion:

  • Group raised their concerns that no engagement with the resilience groups or wider sector prior to the announcement of a temporary ban on the enforcement of eviction orders.
  • Group members highlighted that evictions aren’t usually carried out over the festive period although this is slightly longer to allow people to self-isolate, if required
  • Due to last to 22 January, members concerned about implications should this be extended
  • Members also noted concerns about costs that will arise for any future evictions that are implemented nationally and without financial support those costs will likely impact on all tenants through their rent. COSLA finance colleagues have also raised this issue.

3. Climate Change Plan

SG Climate Change Plan is due to publish 16 December

It sets ambitious targets and SG keen to work with sector to look at these challenges and how work is taken forward to meet the buildings decarbonisation challenge.

UK energy wide paper was published 14 December – the press release accompanying that provides a helpful summary on the Prime Minister’s initial 10 point action plan. 

Action:  SG will provide comms to the group on the key ambitions contained within the Climate Change Plan

Action: ALACHO will circulate slides from their meeting with SG colleagues on climate change

4, Affordable Housing Supply Programme

The latest quarterly statistics on affordable housing supply and annual statistics on long-term empty properties and second homes published today, 15 December.

This is showing an improvement and sectors are slowly starting to recover.

1,057 affordable housing supply homes completed in the latest quarter, July to September.

The volume of homes started from July to September was 2,009 homes.

47,000 approvals have been made over this Parliament

SG happy to take any feedback on whether more information should be published, and if so, what data would be useful?

SG would encourage any claims for grants to be submitted now before the end of the financial year.

Interim budget for next year has been increased from 300m to 500m so housing projects can continue to be approved.

Feedback from LAs is that some supply issues such as timber.

SG happy to look at any LAs five year strategic investment plans and will provide comments.

Consultation launched on 9 December on the proposed New Build Heat Standard. The new rules would mean all new build homes must have heating that produces zero direct greenhouse gas emissions, helping to meet climate change targets.  This is open until 3 March 2021.

1000 homes in the AHSP already have these zero emissions heating systems and are evaluating these projects and obtaining feedback from tenants which will feed into the consultation.

PfG includes considering space within homes for home working or study and access to outside space, greater use of offsite construction and digital connectivity.

SG looked at evidence and benefits of off-site construction, which may help with climate change, but will discuss further with the sector.

SG were advised that may be useful to speak to colleagues at the City Region Deal in Edinburgh.

Committed to updating Housing for Varying Needs.

Ht2040 work is ongoing, with recommendations from HSPC feeding into that as well.

Housing Infrastructure Fund will be included in Ht2040.

SG are committed to reviewing the subsidy rate.  Current subsidies are flexible as aware costs have went up due to Covid.

Review of the subsidy rate has been raised by the Resilience Group Chairs at the meeting with the Minister.  COSLA have also written to the Minister and are currently waiting for a response.

ALACHO commented further discussions are needed about the impact on the HRA Business Plans and the correct balance between national taxation assistance and rent assistance to fund the investment. 

Action: COSLA share letter sent to Minister regarding subsidy review

5. Domestic Abuse (Protection) (Scotland) Bill

The Domestic Abuse (Protection) (Scotland) Bill will give police and courts powers to remove suspected abusers from victims’ homes and ban them from reentering and allow social landlords to end or transfer a tenancy of a perpetrator of domestic abuse to prevent a victim becoming homeless and enabling them to remain in the family home. The Justice Committee are currently considering evidence.

Discussion:

  • Consultation closed last week and report due to publish 15 December
  • SG  evidence taking place today.  
  • ALACHO and CIH will be providing evidence next week
  • Committee hearing on 22 December
  • Practical problems to get unpicked, such as, if have three month protection order need to ensure can have them removed from tenancy in that time period
  • How going to support housing managers and practitioners?
  • Rehousing of the perpetrator is important and how best help/support them to get on appropriate programmes to look at their behaviours
  • Lack of number of landlords adopting domestic abuse policies

6. VOIDS processing

Standing item to consider the challenges and learning at a local and national level and consider any national actions to be taken.

Fife: two issues – prices for certain voids has went up and in terms of each LAs approach to managing voids not all come under housing services – in Fife are currently under the process of moving this so comes under housing.

Dundee:  constructions services aren’t part of my team.  In terms of voids, not seen huge different, still converting voids in temporary accommodation.

7. Action Log

Housing Sector Recovery Workplan – discussed updating this document and sharing with the group.

ALACHO RAG survey – no longer planning on issuing a further survey

Tenant Hardship Loan Fund – went live 7 December

Short term Let Regulations – due to be laid this week.  Analysis submitted 10 December.  COSLA have written to Ms Campbell with their concerns.

Unsuitable Accommodation Order SSI laid last week. Report sent to COSLA and Minister.  Shelter Scotland have written to the Minister.  SG advised working group meet last Friday and exploring a number of options.

Action:  COSLA will circulate the report.

Medication Assisted Treatment Standards for Scotland - Consultation:

sddt-mat-standards_for-consultation_nov2020.pdf (drugdeathstaskforce.scot)

PHS survey:

Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) Standards Public Health Scotland Surveys

9. Update from Resilience Group Chairs meeting 9 Dec 2020

  • Chairs raised their concerns that no engagement with the resilience groups or wider sector prior to the announcement of a temporary ban on the enforcement of eviction orders.
  • Discussed the future and timings of the groups and the Ministers meeting – will reconsider in January
  • Housing Sector Recovery Workplan – discussed updating this document and using over the coming months for the three resilience groups.
  • Thank you letter, recognising all the work the sector has being doing throughout the pandemic, is going to be circulated

9. Date of next meeting

The next meeting will be 19 January 2021.