Rapid Rehousing Transition Plans Sub-Group minutes: December 2023

Minutes from the meeting of the group on 5 December 2023.

Attendees and apologies

  • John Mills, Association of Local Authority Chief Housing Officers (ALACHO) (Chair)
  • Ewan Aitken, Edinburgh Cyrenians
  • Allan Jones, North and Islands Hub Rep
  • Douglas Whyte, Tayside, Fife & Central Hub Rep
  • Jonathan Belford, Chief Officer, Finance, Aberdeen City Council
  • Lesley Cockburn, Inverclyde HSCP
  • Kevin Thomas, South West Hub Rep
  • Liz Brown, North Ayrshire Council
  • Linzi Brunton, South Lanarkshire Council
  • Yvette Burgess, SHEU
  • Ruth Robin, Health Improvement Scotland
  • Brian Finch, Scottish Government
  • Kerry Shaw, Scottish Government
  • Louise Thompson, Scottish Government
  • John Sharkey, Scottish Government (minute taker)


  • Donna Mcilwraith, South West Hub Rep
  • Eileen McMullan, Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA)
  • Tim Pogson, Scotland’s Housing Network (SHN)

Items and actions

Introductions, minute and actions 

The minutes of the meeting of 8 September were agreed.

Scottish Government update 

Brian gave an update from the Scottish Government homelessness unit, providing latest position on:

Rapid rehousing transition plan (RRTP) monitoring returns

  • 26 of 32 local authority returns received  
  • reminder issued to 6 authorities still to submit 
  • beginning to work through returns to identify outcomes
  • looking to report back findings in the new year

Prevention of homelessness duties 

  • we will bring forward housing legislation in 2023-24 to deliver the new deal for tenants and homelessness prevention duties
  • the exact timing is subject to ongoing discussion as part of wider legislative planning 
  • to support the development of robust and fit for purpose legislation we will continue to engage with stakeholders on our emerging proposals  
  • in October we held a workshop involving local authority representatives to test assumptions in relation to changes to existing homelessness legislation
  • we are currently liaising with COSLA about the best way to engage with local authorities on the duties, including the use of a survey on the issue of resourcing

Local connection

  • the local connection solutions group will next meet in January 2024 with a focus on producing guidance to strengthen the transfer process for managed moves  
  • local connection data collected monthly between June and September has been shared with local authorities to show the net flow of households. However, there are gaps in the data due to nil returns so the figures could change. This is also informal data so it is not suitable for public reporting  
  • the data indicates that there is no disproportionate impact on any local authority to date. It will continue to be monitored and local authorities will receive a quarterly update showing flow of households in and out of their area. This can be provided more frequently upon request

Fund to leave 

  • women experiencing domestic abuse will be able to receive up to £1,000 from a new pilot fund to pay for the essentials they need when leaving a relationship with an abusive partner
  • the £500,000 fund to leave will be delivered by womens aid groups in the five local authority areas with the most womens homelessness applications due to domestic abuse 
  • grants will be available as part of a pilot until 31 March 2024. The pilot areas are Glasgow, South Lanarkshire, Edinburgh, North Lanarkshire and Fife and the pilot will run until 31 March 2024 
  • we will work closely with delivery partners to evaluate the fund with a view to understanding how effective it is at preventing women’s homelessness as a result of domestic abuse.

Temporary accommodation 

We have committed an additional £2m of funding to reduce the use of temporary accommodation.  This has been allocated to the 15 local authorities facing greatest pressure.

Housing options statistics

Scottish Government published the annual housing options (PREVENT1) statistics in Scotland providing information on housing options services provided by local authorities in Scotland from 1 April 2022 to 31 March 2023. 

Homeless deaths statistics

Figures from national records of Scotland show an estimated 244 deaths of people experiencing homelessness registered in Scotland in 2022, similar to the level in 2021.  

Brian invited questions. 

Speaking on the prevention duties, Jonathan emphasised the importance of ensuring sufficient time and funding for implementation. He was keen to be made aware by Scottish Government as soon as possible on budget decisions.

Kerry advised that Scottish Government is working hard to get budgets completed, recognising the urgency for local authorities in having this information. However, it may be that this will not be available until budgets are published as planned on 19 December. 

Ewan confirmed that he and Matt Downie (CRISIS) as co-conveners of the prevention task and finish group, are meeting with the Minister for Housing and have requested a full financial analysis prior to prevention duty legislation being brought in.

Roundtable updates

Housing options hubs

Allan Jones spoke to the key issues for discussion paper submitted by the hubs, which included: 

Clarity on RRTP funding after 31 March 2024 to assist local authorities to plan ahead with recruitment and retaining staff, and the impact of resettlement schemes on housing and homelessness, making it difficult to meet legislative requirements, including requirements to comply with the unsuitable accommodation order. Allan felt, however, that these two issues can be discussed in more detail at the forthcoming RRTP event.

Allan also raised concern over the approach of some local authorities to the removal of local connection, with anecdotal evidence of poor practice in some areas. 

Louise advised that she had shared with local authorities some findings from data she had collected around local connection. This provided a snapshot of the period June to September 2023 and mainly focused on those eligible for referral under previous legislation, referrals from England and Wales, Ukrainian households and those given positive asylum decisions. She emphasised that this is not to be considered as official data.

Louise confirmed that legislation appears to be working as intended, allowing households the freedom to move to a different area. From her discussions with local authorities she understands that the number of applicants from other authorities isn’t a concern but rather the support requirements of some applicants. The local connection solutions group is meeting next in January and a focus will be on strengthening the process for households moving to another authority in a more structured way, taking a person-centred approach.

Louise will forward some local connection data to John Mills for a COSLA special interest group that ALACHO will be presenting at next week. It was noted that the data was to be viewed with the caveat that there are some gaps.


Ewan spoke of his concern over the new set of proposals for the National Care Service and the lack of clarity over where homelessness sits within this. With regards the prevention duties Ewan advised that the third sector are considering how they can help local authorities and other public bodies in the implementation, including training. He intends to raise this in a meeting next week with the Minister for Housing.   

Housing Support Enabling Unit (HSEU)

Yvette confirmed the Minister for Housing had agreed on the recommendation from their cost benefit analysis research report from last year that financing for housing support should be more visible. There will now be discussions with Scottish Government officials and others and Yvette will keep the subgroup updated on the progression of this work.
Yvette advised that they are keeping an eye on work being carried out by Department for Work and Pensions around possible changes to housing benefit for supported housing. 

Yvette also mentioned a recent webinar on the funding of housing support/supported housing that can be viewed on the HSEU website.

Following further discussion John proposed we have a deeper dive into housing support provision at a future meeting of the group. 

Healthcare improvement Scotland

Ruth confirmed they are meeting with the Minister for Housing in January at which the HL1 data linkage project will be presented. 

Ruth highlighted guidance being produced for alcohol and drug partnerships around attaining medication assisted treatment (MAT) standard 8 - housing advice and advocacy. Ruth encourages those involved in RRTPs to be connected to their health allies to help ensure earlier identification of people within alcohol and drugs system with insecure housing.

It was agreed that a deeper dive around this would be helpful at a future meeting.     

Housing first (HF)

Rural housing first

Allan spoke about the use of technology in housing first and that clients are facing a risk from cuckooing, where an individual’s house is effectively taken over for the purpose of criminality. Technology can assist in detecting unusual activity around the property to help identify any issues.

More generally, Allan highlighted that the rural housing first meeting is also attended by non-rural authorities, leading to the question of whether the group should be widened to include urban authorities too. John suggested doing a round robin on that.  

Housing first (HF) monitoring

Brian highlighted the main points from the most recent housing first monitoring return for the 6-month period April – September. The report is still at the draft stage and awaiting sign off.

  • 1,646 HF tenancies have started across Scotland at 30 September 2023 
  • housing first has achieved a sustainment figure of 90% for those accommodated in a HF tenancy 12 months after entry 

Rapid rehousing transition plan event 

John Sharkey confirmed that the event is scheduled for Tuesday 23 January (10:00 - 15:00) at the Carnegie conference centre in Halbeith, Dunfermline. He encouraged everyone to respond to the recent invite so that delegate numbers can be confirmed, and arrangements finalised.

The group then discussed items they would like to see included in the programme for the event, which Scottish Government officials took away for consideration.  

Any other business

With no other business John closed the meeting.

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