Local Housing Strategy: guidance 2019

Guidance to support a local authority to prepare a Local Housing Strategy (LHS).

1. The Local Housing Strategy (LHS)

- The Role of the LHS

1.1 A Local Housing Strategy (LHS) is at the heart of the arrangements for housing and planning through its links with Development Plans and its strategic role in directing investment in housing and housing related services locally. It sets out a strategic vision for the delivery of housing and housing related services and the outcomes that it will seek to achieve. The Scottish Government expects a LHS to be prepared and submitted around every five years.

1.2 The development of a LHS provides an opportunity for local authorities to identify strategic housing priorities and it enables the monitoring of progress against delivery of local and national priorities and targets.

1.3 The Scottish Government expects to see equality issues embedded throughout a LHS including housing advice, homelessness, procurement, new build and refurbishment, specialist housing services, housing management services, allocations and private sector housing.

1.4 The LHS should be:

  • Evidence based;
  • Developed in collaboration with stakeholders, including residents and tenants;
  • A corporate document, agreed and supported by all relevant local authority departments;
  • Linked to the previous LHS to show progress achieved against outcomes and to carry forward outstanding actions, as appropriate;
  • Demonstrate how it supports equality and addresses inequality;
  • Developed using extensive and inclusive engagement and consultation;
  • Forward looking;
  • Delivery focussed;
  • Clear, concise and easy to read;
  • A standalone document (with relevant links provided);
  • Reviewed with progress monitored annually through an Outcome Action Plan.

1.5 The Housing (Scotland) Act 2001 (‘the 2001 Act’) places a statutory requirement on local authorities to produce a LHS that sets out its strategy, priorities and plans for the delivery of housing and related services. The 2001 Act states that the LHS must be supported by an assessment of housing provision including the need and demand for housing and related services, that it must be submitted to Scottish Ministers, and that local authorities must keep their LHS under review.

1.6 Section 89 (9) of the 2001 Act provides that two or more local authorities may, with the consent of the Scottish Ministers, exercise their statutory requirements jointly in relation to their combined areas.

1.7 The development of a LHS should be part of the local authority’s approach to inclusive growth, support the development of sustainable communities, and draw on place based approaches to deliver positive placed based outcomes.

1.8 The LHS should be based on the following four pillars of public service reform:

  • A focus on prevention;
  • Integration of local public services through strong partnership working, collaboration and effective delivery in support of the place principle;
  • Investment in people who deliver services through enhanced workforce development and effective leadership;
  • A focus on improving performance, through transparency, innovation and the use of digital technology.

1.9 It is a statutory requirement for a LHS to be kept under review, and many local authorities already undertake a review annually as part of an annual report. The Scottish Government expects all local authorities to review and report on progress annually (providing a copy of this to Scottish Government More Homes Division Area Teams). All documentation relating to the LHS should be published on the local authority’s website together with associated Equality Impact Assessment, any other Impact Assessments, Strategic Housing Investment Plan (‘SHIP’) and documents referenced in the LHS.

1.10 The Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 makes significant changes to community planning legislation including a stronger statutory purpose focused on improving outcomes. It is explicitly about how public bodies work together and with the local community to plan for, resource and provide services, which improve local outcomes in the local authority area, all with a view to reducing inequalities. Housing supply and service considerations will be relevant to supporting community planning priorities and the Scottish Government encourages all local authorities to work in partnership with other community planning partners and their local communities to deliver positive difference in the outcomes for which they are responsible.

1.11 In developing a LHS, local authorities should consider the resources required to deliver priorities and outcomes set out in the Outcomes Action Plan (Template included in Annex B).

- Housing to 2040

1.12 Funding from the Scottish Government will support the delivery of at least 50,000 affordable homes, 35,000 of which will be for social rent, over the five years to March 2021. The Scottish Government remains committed to continuing to promote increased supply of housing across all tenures to meet local needs and to support the right homes in the right place now and in the future.

1.13 As set out in the 2018 Programme for Government, work has begun on developing a vision for how Scotland’s homes and communities should look and feel in 2040, and the options and choices to get there. A first phase of stakeholder engagement took place in 2018 and a stakeholder engagement report was published in May 2019. In terms of next steps, a consultation paper will be published in autumn 2019 and the vision and route map to 2040 will be published in spring 2020.

1.14 The Scottish Government will take a whole systems approach to housing delivery in its planning for the post 2021 landscape, as there may be a need for a broader range of government-led interventions in the housing market in the future.

- The Guidance and Review Process

1.15 Guidance - The aim of this guidance is to support local authorities in the development of a LHS that contains outcomes and actions, that is backed up by robust data, and that is linked to Scottish Government national priorities, plans and targets as well as local priorities and plans. The areas that the Scottish Government would expect to see addressed in a LHS are highlighted throughout this guidance.

1.16 Review Process - The intention of the LHS review process is to support continuous improvement and provide constructive feedback to individual local authorities. The review process is a collaborative approach that has been agreed between the Scottish Government and local authorities. A diagram showing the process is located in Annex C.


Email: lisa.bullen@gov.scot

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