Local Housing Strategy: guidance 2019

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

2. Requirements, Essential Links & Outcomes

- Housing (Scotland) Act 2001 (‘The 2001 Act) Requirements

2.1 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.

2.2 The Act requires local authorities to:

  • Submit a LHS to Scottish Ministers including any modified version;
  • Provide a copy of a LHS to any person who requests it (the Scottish Government would expect a local authority to have its LHS readily and easily accessible on its website along with a copy of its Equalities Impact Assessment (EQIA), any other Impact Assessments, and SHIP.
  • Keep the LHS under review;
  • Provide Scottish Ministers with information about the implementation of the LHS;
  • Consult with any persons that it sees fit and modify its LHS where necessary;
  • Prepare a LHS which encourages equal opportunities (In addition to this, the Equality Act 2010 and the Equality Act 2010 (Specific Duties) (Scotland) Regulations 2012, 2015, and 2016 introduce duties that public bodies are legally required in the exercise of their functions);
  • Provide a Homelessness Strategy to Scottish Ministers;
  • Provide housing support services for people (this should include Specialist Provision i.e. the wide range of accommodation needs and care and repair services for people).

- Other Statutory Requirements

2.3 Local authorities must ensure that a LHS demonstrates how statutory requirements placed on them are being fulfilled and how local policies and actions support a range of Scottish Government Targets including:

  • House Condition (Housing (Scotland) Act 2006, Section 10 - to have in place a Below Tolerable Standard Strategy, Housing Renewal Area Policy & Scheme of Assistance Strategy;
  • Tackling the effects of Climate Change – Section 44 of the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009;
  • Fuel Poverty (Targets, Definition and Strategy) (Scotland) Act 2019 introduced a new statutory target for reducing fuel poverty that:-
    • by 2040, as far as reasonably possible, no household, in any Local Authority area, in Scotland is in fuel poverty;
    • and, in any event, no more than 5% of households, in any Local Authority area, in Scotland are in fuel poverty;
    • no more than 1% of households in Scotland are in extreme fuel poverty;
    • and the median fuel poverty gap of households in fuel poverty in Scotland is no more than £250 in 2015 prices before adding inflation.
  • Social housing to meet Scottish Housing Quality Standard (SHQS);
  • Energy Efficiency Standard for Social Housing (EESSH) - 2032 milestone;
  • Child Poverty (Scotland) Act 2017 sets out targets to reduce the number of children living in poverty by 2030. The four targets are set on an after housing costs basis, meaning they will be influenced by action to reduce or prevent increases in rent or mortgage costs;
  • Public Bodies (Joint Working) (Scotland) Act 2014 (Section 53) requires Integration Authorities, Health Boards and Local Authorities to have regard to Housing Advice Note Guidance when exercising functions under the Act. The guidance explains that the Housing Contribution Statements are an integral part of the Strategic Commissioning Plan;
  • Local authorities duties to homeless people include a statutory responsibility to anyone threatened with, or experiencing, homelessness;
  • The aim of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 is to make Scotland the best place to grow up by putting children and young people at the heart of planning and delivery of services and ensuring their rights are respected across the public sector.

- Essential Links To Consider When Developing A LHS

2.4 The LHS should include a short summary of progress that has been made in achieving the outcomes set in the previous LHS together with any outstanding actions needing to be taken forward reflected in the LHS Outcomes Action Plan.

2.5 LHS policies, outcomes and actions should support and link with wider national and local outcomes and targets in order for it to be considered a robust strategy. A joined up and collaborative approach should help to ensure a more effective and efficient local housing system.

2.6 The Housing Need and Demand Assessment (HNDA) is a primary element of the evidence base for the LHS and Development Plans, and its findings should help determine outcomes and priorities for future housing and related service delivery. Additionally, local authorities are encouraged to identify and consider latest and accurate equalities statistics and research to help determine outcomes and priorities for disabled people.

2.7 When setting out the workings behind the Housing Supply Target, the housing estimate(s) from the HNDA should be referenced. Findings from the HNDA should be set out in the local context section of the LHS, and be used throughout the LHS as appropriate, to evidence the need for a policy, outcome or action.

2.8 Local authorities are encouraged to undertake HNDAs at functional housing market level and therefore, some local authorities may wish to work together to develop a HNDA. Local Authorities may prepare a joint local housing strategy. Section 89(9) of the 2001 Act enables this to be done, but it should be noted that any joint strategy must cover whole local authority areas.

- Development Plan

2.9 Scotland’s planning authorities have an integral role in the delivery of new homes. Development Plans set out the long term vision for where development should and should not happen in the places they cover. Planning authorities are responsible for the Development Plan in their area and they have to consult with the Scottish Government and other stakeholders during the plan preparation process. Development plans help the Scottish Government to deliver the strategy and policy set out in the National Planning Framework and Scottish Planning Policy.

2.10 The Planning (Scotland) Act 2019 received Royal Assent in July 2019 and includes new measures that will make important changes to the status of the National Planning Framework, and how Development Plans are prepared. Work on a revision to the National Planning Framework plus associated secondary legislation and guidance for development planning will commence in autumn 2019. These changes, once finalised, will be reflected in future guidance and transitional arrangements are in development.

2.11 This guidance focuses on the existing system, ahead of the changes introduced by the Planning (Scotland) Act 2019 being enacted. A Development Plan can currently consist of up to three parts:-

  • A Strategic Development Plan (SDP) is currently required for the four largest city regions – Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow.
  • A Local Development Plan is required for each council area across Scotland. It allocates sites, either for new development, such as housing, or sites to be protected;
  • Supplementary Guidance can currently be part of the Development Plan when it has met legal requirements, including carrying out a public consultation. It can provide further information or detail on the policies or proposals that are in the Development Plan.

2.12 Following implementation of the changes in the Planning (Scotland) Act 2019, the Development Plan will consist of both the Local Development Plan (LDP) prepared by planning authorities and the National Planning Framework (NPF) to be prepared by the Scottish Government and approved by the Scottish Parliament. The Planning (Scotland) Act 2019 sets a requirement for NPF to contain ‘targets for the use of land in different areas of Scotland for housing’. Further collaborative work to define how this will be achieved is expected to commence in autumn 2019.

2.13 Local authorities, as both the statutory housing and planning authority, are responsible for assessing housing requirements, ensuring a generous supply of housing land and enabling the delivery of the both market and affordable housing. Where a local authority is not the Planning authority (such as in National Park areas) local authorities are encouraged to work closely with the National Park authority to ensure housing related interests are appropriately supported through the Development Plan process.

2.14 Housing and planning authorities should continue to work closely together to take forward the processes that underpin effective housing planning and the delivery of strong local housing outcomes. The principles for this have been set out in Scottish Planning Policy and guidance on HNDAs.

2.15 The development of the LHS is linked to the timescales for Development Plans and the two should be closely aligned, with joint working between housing and planning officers. Local authorities should progress LHS and Development Plans together, however, they may wish to wait until the Main Issues Report is complete and the new Development Plan adopted, before finalising the LHS, to ensure that any modifications to the plans can be reflected in local housing strategies.

2.16 Through Development Plans and Local Housing Strategies, local authorities will determine the appropriate housing required in their area, informed by their HNDA. The HNDA should be prepared in line with the Scottish Government’s HNDA Guidance and undertaken every five years. Through its LHS and the HNDA that supports it, a local authority should consider the current and future need for housing including the number, location, type, size and tenure of housing required to address the need in their communities.

2.17 The HNDA, Development Plan, and LHS processes should be closely aligned and the Scottish Government encourages close working between housing and planning teams. The principles for this have been set out in Scottish Planning Policy. The Scottish Government plans to revise Scottish Planning Policy, which will be integrated with the National Planning Framework 4 (‘NPF4’). NPF4 will set out a national spatial strategy and it will include national land use planning policies and form part of the Development Plan.

2.18 Community Planning - Part 2 of the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 sets out the relevant duties of Community Planning Partnerships (CPPs). These Partnerships, made up of local service providers, are responsible for producing two plans that describe local priorities and improvements:

  • Local Outcomes Improvement Plans (LOIP) – which cover the whole local authority area;
  • Locality Plans which cover smaller areas, usually those that will benefit most from improvement. (A CPP will produce at least one locality plan).

2.19 The LHS should show how its outcomes and priorities fit with those set out in both the LOIP and the Locality Plan(s) and how the development of priorities and outcomes have been influenced by the community engagement undertaken to inform these plans. Where local authorities have identified other areas, not covered by Locality Plans, and these have been identified as priority areas for housing activity these should be also be set out in the LHS.

2.20 Priorities and outcomes identified in the LHS help inform local authority Strategic Housing Investment Plans which set out the key strategic housing investment priorities over a five year period.

2.21 The LHS should demonstrate how the development of priorities and outcomes have been developed collaboratively with Integration Authorities. This is covered more fully in the Section 13 ‘Housing and Health and Social Care Integration’.

- Place Principle

2.22 Housing has a vital role to play in creating and improving communities and neighbourhoods. The Scottish Government and COSLA have agreed to adopt the Place Principle to help overcome organisational and sectoral boundaries, to encourage better collaboration and community involvement, and improve the impact of combined energy, resources and investment in Scotland’s regions, cities, towns, neighbourhoods, villages and islands.

2.23 The Place Principle aims to promote a shared understanding of place, and the need to take a more joined-up, collaborative approach to services and assets within a place to achieve better outcomes for people and communities in which they live. The Place Principle is not prescriptive – rather, it encourages and enables local flexibility in responding to issues and circumstances in different places.

2.24 The Place Principle recognises that:

  • Place is where people, location and resources combine to create a sense of identity and purpose, and is at the heart of addressing the needs and realising the full potential of communities. Places are shaped by the way resources, services and assets are directed and used by the people who live in and invest in them.
  • A more joined up, collaborative and participative approach to services, land and buildings, across all sectors within a place, enables better outcomes for everyone and increased opportunities for people and communities to shape their own lives.
  • The Principle requests that: All those responsible for providing and looking after assets in a place need to work and plan together, and with local communities, to improve the lives of people, support inclusive growth and create more successful places.
  • We commit to taking: A collaborative, place based approach with a shared purpose to support a clear way forward for all services, assets and investments which will maximise the impact of their combined resources.

2.25 The LHS should show how the Place Principle is being used by the local authority to deliver change within communities and achieve desired outcomes.

- National Priorities, Plans & Targets

2.26 The LHS should demonstrate how delivery of good quality housing, housing services and other place based interventions in the local authority area supports and helps deliver National Priorities, Plans and Targets (including those set out in the Housing and Regeneration Outcomes Framework) which are summarised in Annex A.

2.27 Local plans and strategies that have an impact on housing should be reflected in the LHS, with the relevant links provided. These will vary across local authority areas but may include a local authority’s corporate strategy and vision statements.

- Developing and Recording of Outcomes

2.28 The LHS should be based on delivery of outcomes, which have been determined and informed by national and local priorities, targets and aspirations, through collaboration with stakeholders, such as NHS Scotland, Integration Authorities and through wider public engagement.

2.29 Agreed outcomes should be recorded in the LHS Outcomes Action Plan, linked to the Local Outcome Improvement Action Plan/Locality Plans and other relevant local authority plans.

2.30 Actions within the LHS Outcomes Action Plan should be recorded in a way that best supports effective annual monitoring and an example template is located at Annex B.

2.31 Each action should have a:

  • Baseline (starting point);
  • Target (end point);
  • Milestones (points of progress);
  • Range of indictors and measures (to measure progress);
  • Timeframe.

Areas the Scottish Government would expect to see addressed in each LHS:

a) A summary of progress achieved against delivery of outcomes in the previous LHS together with information on any outstanding actions being taken forward in the new LHS.

b) Evidence of progress achieved to date of delivery of statutory requirements together with future progress to be made against delivery of statutory requirements.

c) How the Place Principle is being used to deliver change within communities and achieve desired outcomes.

d) All essential links have been made to wider national Scottish Government priorities and plans together with links to local plans and strategies.

e) Evidence how the development of outcomes have been influenced by community engagement and consultation to deliver national priorities, plans and targets.

f) A LHS Outcome Action Plan (template provided in Annex B)


Email: lisa.bullen@gov.scot

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