Publication - Minutes

Local Authority Housing Resilience Group minutes: 22 September 2020

Published: 20 Oct 2020
Date of meeting: 22 Sep 2020

Minutes of the 22 September 2020 meeting of the Local Authority Housing Resilience Group

Published:
20 Oct 2020
Local Authority Housing Resilience Group minutes: 22 September 2020

Attendees and apologies

Participants

  • Laura Caven, COSLA (Chair)
  • Tony Cain, ALACHO
  • David Simpson, Dundee City Council
  • Katrina Reid, Public Health Scotland
  • Clare Mailer, Perth and Kinross Council
  • Ashley Campbell, CIH
  • David Goldie, Highland Council
  • Phil Daws, East Renfrewshire Council
  • Katey Tabner, COSLA
  • Catriona MacKean, SG
  • Mandy Brown, SG (Secretariat)

Apologies

  • Iona Macphail, Argyll & Bute Council
  • John Mills, ALACHO
  • Stephen Clark, Stirling Council
  • Anil Gupta, COSLA
  • Eloise Nutbrown, COSLA
  • Peter Barry, SOLACE
  • AnnMarie Carr, West Lothian Council
  • Janet Stitt, Inverclyde Council
  • Lorraine Smith, HSC Fife
  • Michael Cameron, SHR
  • Douglas Whyte, Argyll and Bute Council
  • Naeem Bhatti, SG
  • Marion Gibbs, SG
  • Angela O’Brien, SG
  • Connie Smith, SG
  • Caroline Dicks, SG

Items and actions

1. Welcome and approval of previous minutes

Laura welcomed everyone to the meeting and advised she would now be chairing these meetings. The note of the previous meeting was agreed.

Notes from the resilience group meetings have been published on SG website.  There was no concerns or objections from the LAHRG group to the LAHRG notes being published on SG website.

2. Updates

Terms of Reference

COSLA have updated the TOR further to the discussion at the last meeting, although membership has not been added.  Will update TOR to include that agree to LAHRG notes being published.  All members agreed to the TOR.

Update from Resilience Group chairs meeting

COSLA advised that have been updating the Minister on the TORs and also had discussion regarding how the groups can feed into Housing to 2040.  The frequency of the resilience groups meetings were discussed and the two other groups were keen to continue to meet fortnightly. Updated on void processing and the 28 day period for anti­social behaviour. Also discussed the Tenant Hardship Fund and the Landlord Loan Fund.

Minister advised it is important to consider the changing remit and roles of the resilience groups and to focus on resilience as well as BAU. LAs should share good practice on VOIDS processing. 

​​​​​​​COSLA Community Wellbeing Board

The Board meet on Friday, 18 September.  The group largely agreed with the Unsuitable Accommodation Orders.  Concerned about the four week consultation period on the regulations for short term lets.  Councillor Whitham has written to the Minister asking to extend until 6 November. Programme for Government was discussed and the appropriateness of a loan fund for tenants.  COSLA advised the board that in discussions with SG regarding the tenants loan fund. Also raised issue regarding how health and social care support links with housing.  Paper went to the Board regarding COSLA and PHS working together on programme of joint work. Concerns were raised with the Ending Homelessness Together Action Plan and the members will provide any comments by Thursday.

The LAHRG discussed and comments were:

  • Might be incentive for people to potentially make themselves homeless
  • Concerned about appropriateness of blanket national target, rather than matter for each LA. 
  • Should be focusing on meeting outcomes for homelessness as and when arises, rather than target driven. 
  • Allocations targets would be better expressed by focusing on the objective of reducing numbers in temporary accommodation and promoting rapid rehousing and shortening the time taken.

Standing item VOIDS processing

No updates for this meeting and no issues raised

Scottish Government updates

FM will be making a statement today regarding lockdown.  Group felt main issues would be if any restrictions to repairs or to letting properties. Risk that the messages resulted in tenants refusing people into their property or the workforce felt uncertain about working in void properties.  Group agreed that important to make sure any changes are properly communicated.  Discussed arranging a LAHRG meeting next week but felt that as long as trades can still go into people’s homes then won’t be adversely affected.

Action:  Please raise any questions/queries following the FMs announcement with SG.

Tenants Hardship Fund

SG have drafted a short initial document introducing the fund and have requested any comments be provided this week.

Group discussed the fund and commented:

  • Concerned about those already in financial difficulties
  • what advice will be given to tenants to explore any other options.  Who will provide advice for tenants – LAs, CAS?  What resources are available from CAS, etc to offer assistance?
  • Lack of detail - How will loan work?  Repayment time?  What if default on loan? How collect debt from them?  What about credit ratings?
  • How work alongside Landlord Loan Fund?  How balance both?
  • might be helpful to share analysis with the LAHRG group
  • Hope to see lengthy repayment period, that could be extended if required, and affordable, minimal payments

SG advised that hope to get loan scheme up and running by start of November.

Action:  SG to provide further update at the next meeting.

3. Action Log

HARSAG - Wellbeing board discussed on 18 September and comments are due by Thursday, 24 September.

ALACHO RAG - No plans for a further survey at the moment.

PHS data - Paper went to the COSLA Community Wellbeing Board regarding COSLA and PHS working together on programme of joint work.

Unsuitable Accommodation Orders – To check and see when final guidance will be published

Recovery of Justice System - Concerns are growing on the numbers in prison and the numbers on remand.  Suggested that might be useful to have someone from the group attend LAHRG meeting to discuss

PRS update - Consultation on the regulations for short-term lets - Might be useful for the LAHRG group to also discuss

4. AOB

The Blueprint for Local Government was circulated with the papers to the group for information.