Ministerial Oversight Group on Homelessness: terms of reference

Terms of reference for the group.


A home is much more than bricks and mortar and homelessness is not just a housing problem. The Ministerial Oversight Group on Homelessness brings together ministers from a range of portfolios across the Scottish Government to identify the actions required across portfolios to prevent and end homelessness and then to collectively ensure delivery of these actions. This will support the collective contribution to outcomes for disadvantaged groups across the Policy Prospectus.

Problems faced by people who are homeless or threatened with homelessness do not exist in isolation but are often multi-faceted and linked to other social and economic factors, such as poverty, drug and alcohol use, mental ill-health and leaving care or prison. This group provides an opportunity for members to drive action within their own portfolios to prevent and end homelessness in Scotland. The group will provide a space for shared political leadership, enhanced policy linkages and ownership of barriers and solutions to ensuring everyone has access to a settled home, as a vital foundation in meeting our wider social justice ambitions.

The group will complement the existing Homelessness Prevention and Strategy Group (HPSG) which is co-chaired by Minister for Housing and Cllr. Chalmers, the COSLA spokesperson for Community Wellbeing.


The group is chaired by the Minister for Housing, Paul McLennan MSP. Current members are: (TBC)

  • Elena Whitham, MSP, Minister for Drugs & Alcohol Policy
  • Maree Todd, MSP, Minister for Social Care, Mental Wellbeing and Sport
  • Emma Roddick, MSP Minister for Equalities, Migration and Refugees
  • Natalie Don, MSP, Minister for Children, Young People and Keeping the Promise
  • Jenni Minto, MSP, Minister for Public Health and Woman’s Health
  • Joe Fitzpatrick, MSP, Minster for Local Government and Planning
  • Siobhan Brown, MSP, Minister for Victims and Community Safety
  • Patrick Harvie, MSP, Minister for Zero Carbon Buildings, Active Travel and Tenants' Rights
  • Graeme Dey, MSP, Minister for Higher and Further Education; and Minister for Veterans

Members will meet quarterly and should be prepared to discuss action planned and underway within their portfolio which supports the group’s ambition; funding attached to such activity and whether there are opportunities to combine funding streams for greater impact. Members will also be encouraged to share best practice examples where progress is recorded.

People with lived experience of multiple disadvantage across the different policy portfolios should inform the discussions in appropriate ways, with each meeting focussing on a key area (such as justice, drugs policy, health, mental health).

Guests may be invited to meetings to speak to specific agenda items with prior agreement from members.

Arrangements for meetings

  • the group will meet four times a year for 90 minutes. In-person, digital and hybrid options will be considered to maximise attendance.  After the first year, there will be a review to assess group outputs and consider whether the group should be retained or dissolved.
  • chairing responsibilities will sit with Paul McLennan, Minister for Housing.
  • secretariat support including preparation of agendas, supporting papers and minutes will be provided by the Scottish Government’s Homelessness Prevention Team
  • members will be requested to share written updates before meetings to keep meetings focused and efficient and a commitment to attendance at meetings is key
  • papers will be circulated to the group in sufficient time and no later than one week before the meeting takes place
  • a note of each meeting will be taken and circulated to group members for comment in timely fashion. Agreed actions will be assigned owners and timescales
  • once agreed, minutes of meetings will be published on the Scottish Government’s website


The remit of the group is:

  • deliver improved outcomes for groups experiencing multiple disadvantage in terms of experience or risk of homelessness and wider challenges reflected across the Ministerial portfolios of the membership
  • to help Scotland become a world leader in preventing and ending homelessness by taking a joined up approach to policy, planning and resources
  • to understand and promote the societal and economic benefits of a settled home and the prevention of homelessness duties and in particular the need for prevention to be a shared public responsibility
  • to consider creative solutions, deliverable within current funding and resourcing arrangements, which could be taken forward between housing and non-housing portfolios to contribute to achieving the relevant outcomes set out in the Policy Prospectus
  • to recognise policy synergies, break out of policy silos and ensure a coherent focus on preventing and ending homelessness
  • to task officials to work together to deliver actions agreed by this group, to support impact on priorities for improvement across respective portfolios
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